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25 Unexpected Costs of Having a Baby

Man with baby reviewing bills looking worried

If you’re expecting a baby, you already know what your friends with kids keep telling you: Having babies is expensive. In fact, it costs around $250,000 to raise a child to maturity by some estimates. There’s prenatal care and the cost of delivery, neither of which are anything to sneeze at. Then there’s all the things you need to prepare your home for the baby, like a crib, a car seat and a baby gym. What else is there? Read on to find out 25 things you never knew would cost so much when having a baby. We’ve split the costs into four categories – birth costs, baby stuff costs, health costs and lifestyle costs.

The Birth Costs

Childbirth Classes You might think you can pass on these, but that might not be a good idea. This will soon become the most important moment of your life. Do you want to go into it cold?

Delivery Complications Not every delivery goes smoothly, strictly speaking. Hospital stays can be expensive, so even if you’re just in the hospital for a couple of days of observation that could cost you thousands depending on your insurance situation. C-sections can run into the tens of thousands before insurance.

Maternity Clothes Replacements Baby won’t be wearing these, obviously, but mom may need a whole new wardrobe for both pregnancy and after the child arrives.

Life Insurance and Wills A recent survey from found that only 37% of families with children under 18 have life insurance, but it may be something you want to consider to give your new baby additional protection. Another safeguard you might want to put in place is a will. A survey from found just 56% of American parents have a will or living trust.

Costs of Baby Stuff

Diapers and Baby Wipes Sure, you know you need diapers and baby wipes. But do you have any idea how many? Some estimates have it at 2,700 in a year. However, when you start to consider different sizes as your baby grows, and throw in the wipe count, it becomes even costlier than you may expect.

Bottle Sanitizers, diaper genies, washrags Some babies have been known to be a little messy. And all those diapers and wipes have to go somewhere. That can mean extra supplies when it comes cleaning up after them and making sure they’re clean too.

Clothes Remember when you mom used to groan about how quickly you outgrew your clothes? No? You may soon realize that you just don’t remember her groaning when you were outgrowing baby clothes…every couple of weeks. Sometimes outgrowing seasonal clothes before the season even arrive or passes.

Baby Strollers and Accessories Most people think that once they get the basic carriage, their investment is done. Think again. You might also want to shell out for a rain cover and some toys to keep the baby entertained at an absolute minimum. Plus, some people find that they need more than one stroller, for different uses as well as different stages of the child’s life or seasons—a running stroller for, well, running or for walking on snowy or more rougher terrain, a click-and-go stroller that lets you click in the baby’s car seat and even a light, foldable umbrella stroller that may be easier to carry when you’re on the go.

Organic Bedding Only the best for baby. Their skin might be sensitive and that’s going to mean a lot of sleepless nights for you. An organic crib mattress could cost as much as $300 on

Baby Bathtub, Toiletries and Other Bath Accessories Sticking your baby in the tub can be dangerous. Baby baths are designed to be safer for the baby, and they’re not cheap – think between $15 and $30*. Add to this special baby shampoos, soaps, nail clipper, bath toys and towels, made just for baby.

Nursery Decor You may focus on buying a crib and a rocking chair for the nursery, but there is more to a nursery than that. You’ll probably want to invest in some Peter Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh or Sesame Street goods for the walls around your baby, family photos, a mobile, a nightlight and more.

Baby Proofing Before he or she starts moving, you’ll need to sweep your home to make it safe for baby. Even if all you end up investing in are outlet covers to prevent babies from sticking their fingers in the outlets, that’s going to cost you.

Baby Luggage Your baby probably won’t need luggage, but you might to carry all the stuff that you need for baby when traveling. mom with baby looking at costs

Healthcare Costs

Doctor Visits Paying for delivery of the baby is just the beginning. You should factor in all the doctor visits for your baby’s vaccinations, checkups and other minor (though probably terrifying for a new parent) ailments.

Health Insurance and Out of Pocket Medical Costs Health insurance premiums and deductibles can be expensive in their own right, but along with a baby comes additional minor medical expenses – thermometers, Band-Aids, over-the-counter medicine, baby powder, etc.

Breast Pumps This essential device alone can cost as much as $2,000*.

Breast Feeding Furniture Breast-feeding furniture isn’t specifically speaking necessary. It could, however, make your life a lot easier if you’re doing the feeding. This would include special pillows as well as a rocking chair. Lactation Consultants It surprises some people that breast-feeding may not be as simple as picking up a baby and letting nature take its course. Many people hire a lactation consultant when they run into difficulties. The price varies depending on the consultant, but the cost be more than $100 per visit.

Lifestyle Costs

Babysitters According to, the average cost of a babysitter is right around $15/hour. Sometimes family or friends can help you out for free, but it’s not something you can always count on.

A New Car Here’s one for more experienced parents. Moving onto that third or fourth child? Unless you already have an SUV, minivan or wagon, you might need to shell out for a brand new car… or at least a gently used one. And if you’re still driving your two-door sports car, it’s probably time to visit a dealership for something more…accommodating.

Car Seat Base You’ve got a car seat budgeted for. Most modern car seats, however, require a special base to make them safe for driving baby around. This could easily range between $30 and $90*.

Gas It’s not just about going to and from work anymore. You’re going to be doing a lot more driving once baby arrives (to and from appointments, daycare, grandma’s house, maybe even riding around the neighborhood to get the baby to sleep), and that’s going to drive your fuel costs up.

Laundry Babies go through a lot of clothes in a given day. You might have heard that they’re little mess factories. This means more money spent on detergent, water and power.

Space If you and your partner have been getting by with a one bedroom, that’s probably not going to cut it once baby comes. Even if only for your own sanity, upgrading to a second bedroom at the very least is something to consider.

Eating Out Think you’re going to have the time and energy to make home cooked meals every day when you’re a new parent? Not everyone can keep it up. Sock away some cash for pizza delivery and Chinese takeout.

Paying for Baby

How much does it all add up, even just for the first year? A survey found the cost of raising a baby to be $10,000 in the first year, with 40% of parents saying it cost a lot more than they expected. Other reports estimate first year baby costs as being even higher – around $12,000. However you slice it, baby costs can be varied and hard to predict.

Some parents may feel the need to borrow money as they get started, which, depending on friends or family, isn’t always feasible. That’s why many people use personal loans for life’s big events. There aren’t many bigger than a new baby – particular your first – so you want to do everything possible financially to prepare.


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