1. Getting pregnant
  2. Planning for pregnancy
  3. Preconception planning

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How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby? The Ultimate Guide to Baby Budgeting

Are you currently expecting your first child? Then you’re probably wondering how much money you’ll need to save up for the coming year. Follow our step-by-step guide for creating a realistic baby budget to keep your growing family on track.

Prenatal care is critical to ensuring a healthy pregnancy, and monitoring your baby’s growth and development. It’s typically covered by insurance plans, but you may be responsible for office visit co-pays or lab fees. Without medical insurance, the average cost of prenatal care, excluding delivery, is around $2,000.

Another expense associated with prenatal care is vitamins. Folic acid, for example, is critical for preventing certain types of birth defects. Your doctor can recommend a prenatal vitamin that’s right for you. It’s recommended to start taking a prenatal vitamin before you’re pregnant.

For vaginal births, people can pay anywhere from $0 to $10,000, depending on if they have insurance. Possible complications requiring surgery, however, will add a few thousand dollars to your hospital bill. For people without insurance, delivering a baby by C-section can come with a bill of around $16,000. 

Expect to stay in the hospital for anywhere from 36 hours to 5 days, depending on whether you gave birth vaginally or via C-section. 

Specialty care, particularly if your baby is sent to the newborn intensive care unit (NICU), will be a separate expense. 

Your insurance company might ask you to cover both co-pays on medical services and out-of-pocket co-insurance obligations. If you’re planning to get pregnant, review your policy to determine what your financial responsibilities will be.

Being born is considered a “qualifying life event,” which means you have 60 days to enroll your baby in a plan. These plans include baby wellness checkups, where you’ll pay only the office visit co-pay. 

Your coverage may also provide lactation supplies such as a breast pump, along with expert consultations. If you’re suffering from postpartum depression, it might offer access to medications and therapy.

Do your research and complete the necessary paperwork now so you won’t have to worry about it after your little one arrives. Visit sites like healthcare.gov for more information.

It’s possible that you’ll receive the bulk of your baby essentials at your shower. Over the course of the next nine months, though, don’t be afraid to do some serious bargain hunting to fill in the gaps. 

Depending on your budget, you can choose a stroller that fits with your car seat, a jogging stroller for active moms, or a collapsible model. Be sure to read the safety requirements and age/weight recommendations to keep your baby safe. 

Your baby’s car seat must be purchased brand new. If a used car seat has been involved in an accident, its safety features may be compromised. If you’re uncertain how to properly install a car seat, the local police or fire station can help.

As a new parent, you’ll probably underestimate how often your baby needs to change clothes. When it comes to newborns, you can expect diaper blowouts, drooling, and spitting up to happen on a regular basis. It’s important to keep their clothes clean and dry to prevent rashes from developing on their delicate skin.

Anticipate needing five outfits per day, including onesies and pajamas, to be on the safe side. Your little one will grow quickly, so ask friends and family for hand-me-downs that’ll let you splurge on nicer outfits for photos and special occasions. Note that certain articles of clothing, like underwear or pajamas, should be purchased brand new. 

As far as baby toys go, opt for products designed to develop fine and gross motor skills. Playpens with bright colors, mirrors, and dangling objects promote hand-eye coordination. Rattles and teethers (which usually wind up in your baby’s mouth) should never be bought secondhand, for sanitary reasons.

Select a crib in compliance with current safety standards. They typically cost between $200 and $800. Higher-priced models are more up-front but can usually be converted into a toddler bed, offering you more bang for your buck.

If you’re looking to design a full nursery, invest in a changing table with storage space for clothes and diapering supplies and a gliding rocking chair for late-night feedings and lulling your baby to sleep. Used baby furniture is widely available for purchase online.

Unlike breast milk, baby formula can take a pretty hefty bite out of your baby budget. Large canisters cost around $20 each and only last for 2 to 7 days. 

Remember to always buy bottles brand new, and make sure you have enough for several feedings. Register online with formula manufacturers to receive money-saving coupons.

If you’re planning to breastfeed, you’ll need pumping supplies. Breast pumps range in price from $40 to over $200, and insurance plans are required to cover the cost of a pump, although they can choose which pumps they cover.

For safety reasons, use a small, shallow bathtub for bathing. Newborn models feature straps to keep your little one upright. And remember to buy extra gentle soap formulated for sensitive skin. You can safely estimate $30 to $35 for bathing products.

Clearly, diapers will be one of your biggest ongoing expenses. Buy in bulk as often as possible (a 65-count box is around $25). If you opt for cloth diapers, which are washable and reusable, you can buy disposable linings (also available in bulk). 

Expect to change your newborn 8 to 12 times a day. This number will drop to 5 or 6 times as your baby grows. Check local ads for diaper sales and coupons, or sign up for mommy mailing lists.

Throughout their first year, your baby needs monthly wellness checkups. The cost of office co-pays, teething medications, and other OTC drugs should be taken into account.

Hire a babysitter who is CPR-certified and trained to meet an infant’s special needs. Depending on your area, babysitting rates are usually somewhere between $10 and $15 an hour. So you can relax while you’re away from your child, run background checks, conduct face-to-face interviews, and invite potential babysitters to spend some time with your baby before you hire them.

Expenses you may have forgotten to budget for include a baby monitor, replacement clothing, pacifiers, and bottles. Safety items that need to be installed once they start crawling and walking also add up. However, these expenses are considered minor in comparison to the following:

If this baby is the first of many, you may eventually need a larger, family-friendly home. Calculate a mortgage payment, homeowners insurance, and possibly HOA fees — not to mention maintenance and repair costs — into your baby budget.

Despite their size, babies require a whole lot of space. It might be necessary to purchase a car suitable for transporting your little one and all their gear. Four-door sedans and minivans can easily accommodate a car seat and a growing family.

Unfortunately, children are sometimes born with serious health complications and need special care. If your baby is chronically ill, you may need to take time off work or perhaps quit your job. The loss of income, coupled with medical expenses, can take a significant financial toll. 

Traveling and vacation change when a baby joins your family. Allow extra time on road trips for feeding and changing stops and extra time to get through security when you’re flying with your little one. Create a packing checklist so you don’t leave any of the essentials behind. 

Before you make the life-changing decision to have a baby, make sure you’re financially prepared to avoid adding to the stress of being a new parent.





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