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How Much Does a Baby Cost? 6 Baby Expenses to Prepare For

The moment the pregnancy test comes up positive, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed. It sounds exciting to shop for baby clothes, collect fancy baby accessories, and decorate your nursery so that it looks like a real-life Pinterest peg. 

But the truth is that having a baby is costly. It is tempting to get every cute trinket out there, but when you are preparing for the arrival of a new baby, you need to be practical. Save those little purchases for later and make room for the major expenses. 

The expenses start building up even before your baby is born. News flash: Pregnancy costs money. You will have to buy prenatal medicines, go to regular checkups with your OB-GYN, and undergo various medical tests and ultrasound scans. 

You may also have to make some changes to your diet, which translates to changes in your grocery budget. Other pregnancy expenses include maternity clothes (optional), maternity milk (also optional), and other maternity “must-haves.”

And those are just the basics for a pregnancy with no complications. 

So how much does a baby cost? Let’s go over the major baby expenses and get you started with a doable baby budget.

6 Baby Expenses that You Should Prepare For

1. Delivery

One of the major expenses you may encounter is the cost of your baby’s delivery. A vaginal birth will cost less than a Cesarean procedure. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the average cost of vaginal births is $2600, while the average cost of C-sections is $4500. 

These figures account for cases with no complications. Anything can happen during labor and delivery, and it is prudent to also account for possible complications or difficulties. Once complications arise, the cost of delivery also rises.

2. Nursery Gear

With the arrival of your new baby, you also need to prepare the essential nursery gear. These include the baby’s crib, stroller, changing table, carrier, and car seat. These are one-time purchases, usually, but the cost of buying these gear is not cheap and need to be accounted for.

You can borrow — or buy second hand — some of the nursery gear to save money, but you need to make sure that they adhere to the current safety guidelines for baby products. For things like car seats and strollers, it is still best to buy brand new from a reputable brand. 

The best way to save on nursery gear is still to buy high-quality items. This way, you won’t need to replace the product after a few months of usage. Of course, you can also skip some gear that are not truly essential. Read this article to know which items you can safely skip. 

If you buy only the important baby and nursery gear, you may spend around $1500. 

3. Medicines

Medicines cost a lot, but what you may not know is that medicines specially formulated for babies — especially newborns — typically cost higher. Basic medication may cost around $25 a month. If you choose to vaccinate your child and avail every type of vaccine available, you may spend around as $250 if you have insurance coverage. 

4. Baby Essentials

Bigger baby gear like furniture and appliances may cost higher, but the total cost of buying baby essentials is also significant. These baby essentials include baby clothes, baby blankets, bedding sets, toys, and books. For basic baby essentials, you will probably need to shell out for a total of $750 to $1000 accumulated costs.

5. Childcare

Another thing that you need to prepare for, especially if both parents are working, is the cost of childcare. The fee you need to pay for a decent daycare center can range from $350 to $1500. Even if you don’t have to work outside the house and can stay home with the baby, you still need to be ready to pay for the occasional babysitter at around $15 to $17 per hour. 

6. Recurring Expenses

Finally, while it may be easy to prepare for the big one-time purchases, it’s actually the recurring expenses that can make or break the baby budget. These recurring purchases include baby diapers, toiletries (like shampoo, soap, and wet wipes), formula milk if you bottle-feed, and solid food if you have already begun on solids. 

Because these are recurring expenses, even if the individual prices of the essentials are low, the costs add up. If you opt out of daycare, use baby formula, and use disposable diapers, you will probably spend around $3000 during the first year alone.


How much does a baby cost in total? It depends, but the basics alone can cost as high as $9250 for baby’s first year. In other words, having a baby is no joke and needs a lot of preparation. While there are many ways to save on baby gear and baby essentials, you still need to be practical so that when unexpected challenges arise, you will be ready. 

Featured image by Alexander Mils from Pexels
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