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Budgeting for Your First Baby

Let’s look at the costs of bringing up baby.

Babies are miracles, but budgeting for one doesn’t have to be. The estimates below are based on retail pricing, so checking for freebies, coupons, discounts, resale items, and hand-me-downs will help manage your first-year expenses even more. These six areas are where your largest first-year expenses will be found.
 

Medical

 
Prenatal visits and tests can cost around $3,000 and deliveries can cost from $6,245 to $25,000 or more.
The time of admittance, the type of delivery, where you live, and where you choose to deliver all factor into your final cost. It’s wise to expect that you will meet your insurance deductible and pay the maximum out-of-pocket expense when you have a baby.
 
According to parents.com, the average cost of a vaginal delivery is between $5,000 and $11,000 in most states. C-sections will run you even more – anywhere from $7,500 to $14,500. As a general rule, you can expect prenatal and delivery out-of-pocket charges for both you and baby to total $5,000.
 

Child care

 
According to the 2019 Child Care Market Rate Survey by the PA Department of Health Services, the overall median cost for full-time infant daycare in Pennsylvania is $290 per week. Multiplying that figure by 50 weeks equals a total median cost of $14,500 annually.
 
Here’s the good news: Rates drop as children grow. That big step up into the toddler room will result in a step down in your expenses. You can also earn tax breaks for daycare expenses and may even be able to divert pre-tax dollars through a work FHA program to receive reimbursement for childcare costs.
 
Of course, if you’re fortunate enough to have family nearby who are willing to watch your little one for free — even a couple days a week — this would provide enormous savings and a cherished bonding experience, too. For some families’ needs, hiring a nanny works well, especially if you don’t need full-time care. The average cost of nanny services in Pennsylvania per nannylane.com is $13.19 per hour.
 

Nursery

 
Setting up the nursery is costly, mainly due to the crib ($135 to $350), mattress ($50 to $250), and two sets of fitted sheets ($20 to $35). You’ll also need a changing pad ($12 to $30) and cover ($13 to $20). Some expecting parents purchase a changing table ($60 to $150) or invest in a changing dresser ($180 to $300) that can be used as a dresser as your baby grows up.
 

Feeding

 
According to the U.S. Health & Human Services, families spend approximately $1,200 to $1,500 on infant formula for their baby’s first year. You’ll also need feeding bottles ($40 to $50) and may want a positioning pillow and spare cover ($65).
 
If you’re able and choose to breastfeed, that can save the cost of formula, but expect to spend approximately $200 to $525 on nursing supplies, including: a breast pump system with feeding bottles ($0 to $325), milk storage bags ($20), creams ($20), nursing pads ($20), three nursing bras ($75), and a nursing pillow and spare cover ($65). Some health insurance plans will cover the cost of a breast pump. Be sure to ask!
 
Babies typically start eating solid foods sometime during months 6 and 12. What you pay for food ($225 to $450 for six months) will depend on how early your baby starts eating. Some parents even make their own baby food. You’ll also need a high chair ($60 to $190) or a booster seat ($20 to $30) that straps to your dining room chair.
 

Diapers

 
Your baby will use approximately 2,520 diapers and will most likely progress through four different sizes of diapers by their first birthday. Newborns require 8 to 10 changes per day, but your baby will require only 5 to 7 changes by the time they reach one year old.
 
If you’re using standard brands, expect to spend $1,100 or so on diapers and wipes during baby’s first year. If you use economy brands, you can probably reduce this cost to $430. These diapers work great for some babies, but for others, their fit may not adequately stop leaks. A diaper pail and waste bags ($95 to $130) will be needed, too.
 
Cloth diapers, covers, fasteners, a laundry bag, and supplies will cost approximately $440 to $560 for the first year. You’ll realize even greater savings with cloth diapers after your baby’s first year, when all you’ll pay is laundry costs.
 

Traveling

 
You’ll need some items to be on the move with your baby: a stroller ($125 to $300) and a car seat ($90 to $220). Some people opt for a convenient stroller/car seat combination in which the stroller seat detaches and snaps into a car seat base ($160 to $270). Once you reach your destination, it will be handy to have a travel crib, or the ol’ pack-and-play ($50 to $180). If you’re traveling with your baby, you may want a baby-carrying sling ($24 to $60) or a baby backpack ($35 to $150). And once baby’s on the move, you’ll need a baby gate for your home ($20 to $70) and a bouncer activity center ($70 to $140).
 

What about all the other “stuff”?

 
Even if you don’t have a baby shower, friends, relatives, and colleagues will share your excitement and be delighted to shop for gifts for your little one. Creating a baby registry helps them purchase what you need!
 
You’re likely to receive cute outfits, a bib set ($12 to $20), a swaddling blanket set ($16 to $25), hooded towels ($14 to $20), a baby monitor ($40 to $150), a mobile ($25 to $50) and a nightlight ($11 to $20), teething rings ($5 to $15) and pacifiers ($5 to $15), diaper rash cream ($30), a bathtub ($20 to $25), baby-proofing latches ($10 to $15) and outlet plugs ($10), toys, books, and yes, even some diapers, too!
 

Determine your budget

 
Babycenter.com offers a first-year cost calculator to help establish your family’s costs. Be sure to see our tips to help you reach budget goals for your baby, too!
 
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