How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby?

If “How much does it cost to have a baby?” is the question on your mind, we have a few answers. Pregnancy tests cost about $10 each, one month’s supply of prenatal vitamins are anywhere from $10 to $25, maternity clothes can add up to hundreds of dollars along with the things for the nursery, the items you’d need once the baby actually arrives – this is just a preview of the expenses related to having a baby.

If it’s your first time to welcome a child into the world, you even have the tendency to overbuy because of your excitement in filling up the nursery with cute, but frequently unnecessary items.

So how can you gain control of your finances when having a baby? You might have an idea about how much a pack of diaper costs, but there will definitely be a lot more things that you need to spend on while raising the baby. A good solution is to know what to expect.

Here, we will go in-depth into the costs involved in having a baby – starting from the time that the pregnancy is suspected, up to the time that your new son or daughter is welcomed into the world.  

Saving Up for a Baby

About half of pregnancies are surprises while the other half is planned. The very first expense that you’d spend for when having a baby is buying the pregnancy test. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, the second expense goes towards visiting your gynecologist so that you can be given prenatal vitamins and check on the health of the mom, the baby, and maybe get a date of when the baby is due to arrive.

Now, whether the pregnancy is a surprise or not, it is a must to have sufficient funds which you will use for raising the baby. Once you are old enough to start your very own family, you should prepare for the possibility of having a baby. How you save up for it is entirely up to you, but knowing exactly what you are saving up for will help a lot. To get you started, here are a few statistics regarding saving up for a baby:

  • According to RedbookMag.com’s survey of 1,000 new and expectant parents, 76% said that they felt financially prepared for having a baby – while 41% admitted that, looking back, they were not as financially prepared as they thought.
  • 46% of expectant parents counted on friends and family to buy the baby’s first year of clothes; 40% of toys; and 39% of baby care items as gifts.
  • 48% of expectant parents underestimated the overall financial impact of having a baby, as well as the costs of daily expenses; while new parents spend half of that.
  • 36% of expectant parents expect that tension in their marital relationship will increase after the baby’s birth. Nearly 50% of new parents found that to be exactly the case. This is partly due to the financial difficulties and everyday pressures of having a kid.

Costs to Prepare for During Pregnancy

Next, what are the costs that you need to prepare for during the mom’s pregnancy? One of the biggest mistakes made by first-time parents is getting overly excited about the arrival of the baby, so much so that they forget a more important aspect: caring for the health of the mom and the baby inside her womb. Early and continuous prenatal care is a must to ensure a healthy delivery for the mom, and a healthy baby to come out.

Here are a few costs related to caring for the health of the mom and the baby during pregnancy:

  • Those who have health insurance should prepare for miscellaneous costs for prenatal visits, diagnostic tests such as ultrasound, and other preventive care procedures.
  • For those who do not have health insurance, the average cost of prenatal care is around $2,000.
  • Over-the-counter folic acid supplements cost $10 to $20 for a month’s supply. This is one of the most important things that you need to spend on during pregnancy because folic acid helps prevent possible birth defects.

After focusing on what the mom and the baby must have, that’s when you can budget how much you have left over to spend on accessories and other stuff for the baby.

Hospital Expenses

The baby’s due date is almost here and you’re preparing your wallet for the hospital expenses. What are the typical costs that you need to prepare for? According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, hospital deliveries in the US cost $3,500 per stay. This does not yet include prenatal care, the expenses for the delivery itself and post-partum healthcare. All in all, you’re looking at a bill of more than $8,000.

However, the exact cost still depends on the type of birth that you are expecting. Here are a few pointers for the expenses of each type of delivery:

  • For vaginal births, the average cost is $2,600 if the delivery is without complications.
  • For C-sections, the average cost is $4,500.

The figures are from the same agency. Out of 10 childbirths, 7 are vaginal deliveries while 3 are C-sections.

The additional expenses for C-sections are for the anesthesiologist. The longer a mom stays at the hospital, the higher the bills would be. The most expensive type of delivery is vaginal childbirth with complications, because it usually requires the use of an operating room – which has the highest price tag among all types of childbirths. The average cost for this type of delivery is almost $7,000.

What about the Costs of Raising the Baby?

Next comes the fun part – preparing for the days that the baby has been welcomed into the family. Although there are lots of expenses associated with this, nothing beats the feeling of seeing the baby in the beautifully decorated nursery for the first time. For you to know what to expect in terms of the costs of raising a baby, take a look at the following list:

Setting up the nursery

As the baby’s due date nears, you need to finish setting up the nursery. Some of the must-have items include the following, the opposite of which indicates the average cost:

  • Crib with a mattress: $160 to $750, depending on the brand and type
  • Bedding set: $35 to $250
  • Mattress cover: $10 to $20
  • Changing table: $79 to $500
  • Dresser: $90 to $600

If you want to save money on baby furniture, go comparison shopping or ask relatives or friends who had babies if they can lend you or sell you their baby furniture for a fraction of the price. 

Related: How to Decorate the Nursery on a Budget

Nursing the baby

If you’re breastfeeding, you can save a lot of money because you don’t need to buy formula. But if you cannot breastfeed for whatever reason, you would have to shell out anywhere from $30 to $35 per week for milk. During the first six months, your baby will only drink milk so the costs would amount to more than $900 for the duration. After introducing solid food, you’d need less than $5 per day for a jar of baby food – or you can simply whip up natural food for the baby from your own kitchen.

Buying the car seat, stroller and similar accessories for the baby

A car seat can set you back anywhere from $40 to $280. A good stroller has a price range of $50 to $800 for the high-end ones. If you plan to do a lot of walking with the baby, you definitely need a durable, good-quality stroller. There’s also a playpen or a baby crib which can cost anywhere between $60 and $180; and a baby sling or a baby carrier which costs around $40 to $180. Also consider buying a high chair, a diaper bag, a baby monitor and a gate if your house has stairs.

Buying diapers and baby supplies

Newborn babies can use up to 75 diapers per week. If one piece costs 25 cents, that’s about $80 per month. This is in addition to at least two boxes of baby wipes, soap, lotion, powder, oil, ointments for diaper rash – all of which can amount to more than $250 per year on top of the costs of buying diapers. You might save a bit when buying cloth diapers, but the cost of laundering makes them pretty much even with disposable diapers.

Buying baby clothes

Remember that babies grow up so fast so you don’t want to overstock on baby clothes that they will easily outgrow. Some of the staple clothes that you will need for the baby include: sleepers, hats, booties, socks, gowns, overalls, coats, shirts, pants, and clothes for cold temperature. You will need several sets in every size – so again, don’t overbuy because the garments can easily be outgrown. The average cost for all of these, at one piece for each item is around $1,000.

Related: How to Save Money on Kids’ Clothes

Child care

Finally, you would have to spend on child care especially if the mom plans to go back to work as soon as she’s able. During the first few months, you would need to spend an average of $6,750 per year on childcare costs. This amount decreases as the baby gets older.

Related: How to Save Money on Child Care Costs

As you can see, there are serious costs involved in having a baby – starting from the time that the pregnancy is confirmed up to the time that your little angel is welcomed into the world. By preparing yourself for the costs involved in having a baby, you can treasure the experience for all its worth while still ably meeting the financial challenges along the way.

Oana Schneider: Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

View Comments

  • I knew a baby would cost a lot, but I didn’t know how much for sure. It really helps me to see all of the expenditures and where I could save. Well except I live in the US, and my health care coverage is going to cost a lot more. I am not planning on having a baby yet, but when I do I will be using this list along with a few others. Thanks!

  • Honestly, the cost is part of the reason I don’t desire to have children. It’s expensive even if you have health insurance, what with the costs of continuing to raise a child. It’s nice to know there are ways to save on some of these expenditures, but it’s still quite the intimidating venture money-wise, among other things.

    • I agree with you because it makes sense that it's expensive if you have health insurance but I guess there are ways to get around it.

  • This pretty much lays it out in every elaborate detail how much approximate money it costs to have a baby, which deters a guy like me from potentially having one until the time is certainly right. I think for the reasons of it being so high, it's always best to plan for it, even though that doesn't always end up happening. Having a steady, strong income job and maybe some preserved income could certainly alleviate the costs though.

  • Hello from Thrifty Thursday! This is a great list. I'm someone who will start thinking about having a baby in the next 5 years or so, and it's great to see what we'll be getting ourselves into financially. Thanks for sharing!

  • This is a great list for new parents! After having two children myself I can attest that it is extremely expensive. Being able to use this list and plan ahead will help a lot of people. Knowing how to cut costs and what you absolutely have to budget for is a must!

  • Hello I am a young mom and I have a 8 months old son. I delivered him in a preterm basis. I had a UTI that cause to deliver him before his due date. Fortunately he is healthy and active right now. In terms of having a baby you should earn a lot of money because it's expensive but it's worth it because as you saw your child growing very well the expense will be paid off.

  • I thought this was a blog about saving money? As a Mom, this article has really rubbed me the wrong way. There are many points in this article that aren't necessarily true. I wanted to address everything from the top going down, but I really have to address your diaper piece first. Clearly, you have never used cloth diapers before. We have been using cloth diapers all 13 months of my child's life. We purchased ours brand new, which did have a higher initial cost. This could've been lowered by buying used. There are some great deals out there, but we plan on having more children so new seemed best for our situation. Our home water and electric bills have only gone up about $5/month. That is washing and drying three times per week, two loads per wash. I am a member of a huge cloth diapering community, and this question comes up commonly. Most people say the same. Their bills go up very little or not at all. So with the cost of brand new cloth diapers and cloth wipes plus a few needed accessories, our monthly bills and laundry supplies, we have already saved over $1000. That is considering the comparison with cloth diapers and a cheaper diaper brand.

    Prenatal vitamins are very important to a pregnancy. You are right about that, but they don't necessarily have to cost that much per month. There are stores that sell them in 100 count for about $11/piece. Barring a special situation, you only need to take one per day. Those pills would last you over three months. They also do buy one get one from sales on them multiple times per year, plus you can use coupons. So you could potentially get a nearly seven month supply for under $20. There are also charities that will provide free vitamins to lower income families. You can find information on them at your local WIC office.

    The labor and delivery costs can be sky high. Hopefully you have insurance that will at least pay for a fraction of your costs. If you have great insurance, they may for all or almost all of your costs. Even you if you don't have insurance there are many options out there. Many hospitals have a set rate you can pay for a few prenatal visits and a standard labor and delivery procedure. There are also many hospitals out there that will allow you to make payments over time, to help offset a large lump sum.

    It's very easy to go overboard with the gadgets and nursery. We opted for no nursery, choosing to have our little on sleep close to us in our bedroom. There are many things you might receive if you choose to have a baby shower. We decided not to have one, going it our own. I did purchase a couple great baby carriers so that I could wear my babe while doing housework and such. We never bought any of the swings, bouncy seats or walkers because they are really not needed. My little one had to go to a little physical therapy for a neck condition after birth. The therapist told us that a lot of the gadgets out there like walkers actually hinder babies development rather than help it. The one thing we did make a big investment on was a great car seat. However, we still managed to save some money on this by skipping an infant car seat, and purchasing a convertible car seat instead. This allows our babe to use it from birth up until 65 pounds.

    Clothes don't have to cost thousands of dollars. What you don't get in gifts and hand-me-downs, you can easily purchase on Ebay. Pre loved baby clothes are a hot commodity. There are literally thousands of items out there to choose from. Many stores also run great deals on clearance items, and offer coupons via e-mail. We buy our babe toys on sale and books from second hand shops.

    Regardless of what you do, having a baby will cost you something. It just doesn't have to cost you a lot. The most important thing you can offer a baby is your love and time. We like to offer our babe experiences, so instead of having things, we do things. Our lives are all the more richer for it.