How much does it really cost to raise a baby?

posted 2 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
648 posts
Busy bee

DoubleD :  The actual hospital bills for childbirth and unpaid maternity leave were our biggest prebirth expenses.  We had funds set aside for these before TTC.

Reoccurring expenses for childcare, increased insurance costs monthly, and college fund savings are what we feel an impact from in our budget.  We had a enough wiggle room that clothes, diapers etc don’t impact our monthly budget. I’m waiting to upgrade my car and we’re scaling back vacations until our oldest kiddo starts kindergarten so that our new baby doesn’t impact our savings rate or daily lives.

Childcare is close to $2k monthly for just one of our two children so that’s been the biggest expense.  I would recommend saving what you anticipate in total increased expenses for 6 months to access your financial readiness unless you can easily afford anticipated expenses.   

Post # 3
6664 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

DoubleD :  Just got our hospital bill, which included a total of 9 days, antibiotics and blue lights for jaundice.  It topped out in the 60,000 range, though of course my insurance covered most of it.  I believe between the hospital and the midwives I’ve put in about 6000 of my own, though.  I have a high deductible.  Our biggest cost since then has been diapers – over 30 bucks a box and this little guy blows through them!  I think we do just under a case a week (150 diapers).  Other than that, it’s the basic setup – bassinet, change table, high chair, carseat and stroller, baby carrier.  Even those didn’t put me past 500 though.  Everything else seems to have been gifted to us – and we didn’t get gifted a lot, but it doesn’t take much!  We have bought hardly any baby clothes ourselves.  The pump is free via insurance if you aren’t lazy like me.  Husband has purchased bottles and I got some swaddles.  That’s about it, I think. 

So all told, I’d say we spent under 7,000 on ours so far.  He’s about a month and a half.  Haven’t gotten into baby food and the like yet, so we’ll see!

Post # 5
648 posts
Busy bee

DoubleD :  Yes, I had insurance, but we had a deductible to pay for me and the baby.  If you live in the US it’s very rare to not have a deductible. 

I had a somewhat complicated pregnancy and wasn’t physically capable of working OT so I wouldn’t count on that being a guarantee. I would recommend having a financial cushion just in case. 

Post # 8
693 posts
Busy bee

Hands down, childcare has been the most expensive part of having a child for us. I was VERY fortunate to be able to stay home with our son for three years, but I realize most people don’t have that luxury. Five day per week childcare for an infant will run about $1600 per month where I’m from. When I did go back to work, we had to get creative to find ways to get my funny hours covered. It ended up being more expensive to the point that I had to quit that job as I couldn’t work my hours to fit in to a regular day care facility’s hours. I was paying a nanny almost as much per shift than I was bringing home because I had to start paying her while I was driving to work. 

Also, childcare doesn’t end when they start school! They end up joining sports, going to camps, needing musical instruments, new gear like bikes and skis, field trip fees… It just goes on and on! 

Kids are expensive, but man oh man our son brings so much joy to our lives that we wouldn’t have it any other way. 


Post # 10
6291 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

I had excellent insurance so all of my birth expenses were covered that would be a little different for a future birth.

Our main monthly expenses are child care and insurance. I was a stay at home mother for a couple years so we saved on payments but it was expensive to be out of the workforce for that time. Once I returned to work and we were paying for child care the expense was significant.

Most clothes and baby specific goods are easily acquired gently used (it can actually be hard for people to get rid of baby items because a lot of new moms really want new things- I’ve found that people are often excited to be able to pass on baby things). 

Post # 11
2797 posts
Sugar bee

With twins – childcare is a killer. Diapers/wipes/formula seem like a drop in the bucket compared with $2,400 a months in childcare fee alone.

Post # 12
1157 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

DoubleD :  All my prenatal stuff (other than blood draws, ~$5 each, and ultrasounds, ~$80 each x3) was covered in a “normal birth” package which I believe was ~$3K with insurance. It would have cost a few hundred more if I had a c-section.

Most expensive has been daycare. Hands down. $1000/month. Insurance went up $200/month when he was added too. Other than that, we probably spend less than $100/month on diapers, clothes, food, etc. But I buy mostly used clothes and we get diapers and other consumables from the amazon subscription service that saves us a lot of money every month.

We also spent probably about $500 on nursery stuff before he was born. Crib, change table, rocking chair. Other things like the pack-n-play, swing, bouncer, and other toys were all gifted to us from the baby registry. But I’m sure that stuff would have added up if we bought them ourselves. I didn’t really start buying clothes for him until he was about 6 months old because we had so many gifts and hand-me-downs. I have a friend with a son who is a year older than mine, so we get a lot of stuff from her. So that’s awesome.

Post # 13
14 posts
  • Wedding: September 2011

I am in Canada so no cost for pre natal care or giving birth or anything. I would have to say that daycare is definitely the biggest cost with having a baby. We get a year off so our child didn’t start daycare until 13 months. So, before that the costs associated with having a child were very low just the regular diapers, clothes etc.

Post # 14
9096 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Medical expenses: This varies, especially by insurance. Insurance is very picky and, as I’m sure you know, things have to be coded properly to be covered and sometimes you can have a technically covered procedure be not covered because it was done a different way (for example, if your doctor just ran a lab without getting permission from the insurance, or if your insurance wanted you to see a specialist instead) so this can be a big one, or it can be minimal.


Diapers/wipes/formula/whatever: Diapers/wipes can be a minimal cost if you shop smart. Big box stores often have deals that if you buy X, you get money back, a gift card, or free items, so it’s best to look for those early on, or before you have a baby. Warehouse stores offer great deals, too. You buy in bulk, you get a nice price cut. Cloth is also an option.

Furniture for baby: Stupidly expensive. Just.. it is. You can minimize this by using things you already have or second hand (re: cribs — definitely don’t get a crib older than 10 or so years. Many of them have been recalled.)

Daycare: Another variable but based on your situation, this will probably be the most expensive outside of medical bills. Daycare is just.. stupendously expensive.

My situation was that I’m on Tricare, and my prenatal and postnatal care was covered 100%. Our initial costs were to purchase necessities for the baby, such as the furniture for her room (which was around 2-3000 give or take to furnish an entire room) of which we _did_ have help from our parents, so it was less of a strike directly on us. Formula was a non-issue for 8 months as I breastfed as long as I could, and my mother gifted us cloth diapers, so diapers were a non-issue outside of getting past the “oh god this is so gross is my baby leaking demon blood” for the newborn phase. Lords help me.

Then you just end up with small things you don’t really think of that add up quickly: Nipple shields (expensive, like 10/ea), lanolin, baby lotion, changing pads, receiving blankets, disenfectant, baby soap, baby tub, tub toys, etc etc etc.

Raising a kid isn’t cheap.

Post # 15
702 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I have pretty good insurance, so after my baby’s born I’ll have to pay my deductible…but my company contributes to my flex health savings account, and I’ve been contributing tax free throughout the year, so I shouldn’t owe more than $1000 out of pocket, possibly less. Our family was pretty excited about our first baby, so we were pretty generously “showered” with baby gifts, so we received most of the supplies we need for baby’s first year (including about 800 diapers up to size 3), once we run out we’ll cloth diaper which is pretty economical (and we have a decent cloth stash). I hope to breastfeed for the first year, and make my own baby food after 6 months so I’m hoping to spend very little on food.

Our biggest costs are definitely going to be childcare…we have no family in the area and therefore no free childcare even for an evening. I found very reasonable infant care, but it’s still $200/week. I also have lost wages since I’m taking my full FMLA time off, and my husband is also taking intermittent FMLA. Mine is partially paid, but I’m estimating we’ll have about $5000-$7000 in lost wages. My health insurance premiums will also increase–I don’t remember the actual amount though. 

We saved up a lot for the purpose of allowing me to take unpaid leave. If we weren’t able to do that, I would be returning to work at 6 weeks which would be much less expensive.

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