Babies Are Expensive! Total Cost of Having A Baby

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This is a post by Connie Brooks, a new mommy in Louisville, KY.

Having a baby is one of the most incredible experiences in the world.

There are no words to describe the moment you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. When their little eyes look up to you and you realize you made the little tyke. There are no words to describes the feeling of pride the first time you see them turn over, or when they crawl and then eventually walk.

While these memories are priceless, having a child is a very costly endeavor. Most parents expect to pay for the obvious things once the baby arrives like food, diapers, and clothes but they often don’t anticipate “the other stuff.” When we had our daughter, we expected to pay for more food and diapers, but we never planned for “the other stuff.” From the moment I found out I was pregnant though, a seemingly limitless chain of bills started showing up. We were literally supporting our baby from the moment we knew about her. It doesn’t have to be that way.

If you are thinking about having a baby any time soon, here are some of the expenses (“the other stuff”) you’ll want to plan for, even before your baby arrives:

1. Prenatal Care

As scary as it is to think about, most miscarriages happen within the first three months. Chances are your Ob-gyn will not even want to see you until you hit the three month mark because of this. After that, you can expect to go once or twice a month for the next six months, and even more frequently for the final three months.

Every time I went to my Ob/Gyn, it cost me an insurance co-pay of $30. We had hyperactive prenatal doctors so we ended up going even more often than average. Our cost for pre-natal doctors visits over nine months was around $500. Your cost will vary depending on your insurance plan.

2. Prenatal Diet

Your baby is literally depending on you for its nutrients. If you don’t have a healthy diet, then your baby will not get what they need, and that could have long term consequences.

The truth is, we weren’t eating very well when I got pregnant. We ate out once, sometimes twice a week, and ate a lot of beans, rice and eggs otherwise. Doing that kept our before baby food budget to around $300 a month.

After I found out I was pregnant, our food budget literally doubled. We stopped eating out, and I bought fresh organic fruits, vegetables and yogurt. The only food I craved when I was pregnant was steak (which was odd since I am a semi-vegetarian!). The steak was expensive too because I chose to buy only top quality grain-fed beef.

I did not care how much our food ended up costing us, I wanted my baby to have every building block she needed to grow. Over a twelve month period (I breast fed for three months afterward, so we kept our diet the same.) Our food ended up costing us $7,200. Prenatal vitamins added in another $270 over nine months.

3. Maternity Clothes

– I gained around 20 pounds while I was pregnant, so my clothes fit me for most of my pregnancy. However, by the eighth month, there was no containing my belly. I had to face facts and invest in a few good quality maternity clothes. I bought a week’s worth of clothes as cheaply as possible. I also used my husband’s shirts and bought things like hip-hugger pants that I could wear after my baby. The total cost of my maternity clothes was around $400. If you’re careful you might be able to get by cheaper, but it could easily cost more depending on your needs. Try to maximize sales whenever you can!

4. Baby Clothes & Supplies

We were very blessed because our friends and family gave us nearly everything our daughter would need for her first few months. If you don’t have a strong supportive network, then this will be a real expense.

Wal-Mart and Target have the most reasonably priced baby clothes. If I had to put a price on what we were given I would say that it amounted to easily $800 to $1000 worth of diapers, clothes, shampoo, and supplies. Again, we had an extremely generous family, who put all they had into helping us prepare for our baby. In retrospect, If I were the one paying for the items, I would have spent around $400 total on clothes and supplies for my daughter’s first few months – and that would have been plenty.

5. Nursery & Travel Items

The crib for our daughter was $500. Her mattress was $100. We bought a crib that would turn into a toddler bed, and eventually a full sized bed as she grew. Her car seat and stroller ran us about $400 – again because we bought for the long term and wanted something that would last through several children if necessary. You can definitely do this cheaper than we did! The total cost for her nursery was around $1,500 after decorations.

6. The Big Day(s): Hospital and Delivery Costs

How much this ends up costing you will depend on your insurance, how difficult your labor is, and how well everything goes.

In my case, nothing was simple. I spent two days in the hospital being induced and ended up with a c-section. My daughter had a fever when she was born, so she spent a week in the hospital on antibiotics undergoing a lot of tests. (She was fine, thank God!) They kept me for four days after my surgery. I can honestly say that for a month after we came home I dreaded going to the mailbox and pulling those medical bills out!

The total cost for her delivery was nearly $4000.

7. The Paperwork

After my daughter was born, we did have to take care of some paperwork. Particularly ordering several copies of her birth certificates. This was another unexpected cost. I’m not sure why I thought that the hospital would provide us with one – they didn’t. They sent her birth records off and we had to order an official copy. Those were $10 each, and we ordered 3, so we $30 spent on her paperwork.

8. The Aftermath

In the first few months following her delivery she and I both went back to the doctor a couple of times for routine checkups. This was not a huge expense, but it was one I did not expect. The follow-up visits probably ran us around $150.

From conception to birth, our daughter cost us about $14,000. Fourteen thousand dollars. Oh, and that does not even take into account the diapers or the eventual formula costs once I went back to work. It also does not include childcare, which thankfully, we did not have to get.

If you are considering having a baby, please make sure that you get a hefty savings account going before you take the plunge. Many of these costs we had not planned for, and that made it more difficult than it had to be. When we planned out our finances before getting pregnant, we always planned out what we thought the costs would be after we had her, and we did not take into account what it would cost just to get her to delivery!

I am very sure that if I had it to do over again, I could do it for less money. I think that I went into it from the mindset of doing what I thought was right for my baby, and the finances took a backseat. That being said though, my daughter’s birth story is an excellent example of how having a baby can easily cost you a fortune – so it’s something to think about.

How about you? Do you have children? What would you say it cost you and your spouse to have your baby? Leave us a comment below!

{ 65 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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65 Responses to “Babies Are Expensive! Total Cost of Having A Baby”

  1. Vernica says:

    This is actually a GREAT article. I would have never thought of these expenses until the expenses comes and I have sickell cells. That mean hospital bills! It is top priority to my boyfriend and I in having a baby because he didnt have a father so he wants to be fully prepared from conception. We are saving and I will start my diet from now. I cant wait to read the article about babies expenses from age 1 to 18.

  2. Oscar says:

    Two questions:

    did you had any nuchal translucency test? The physician request it but my insurance in no going to pay for it. I call different places and no word about price, jut …come and get it because you need it, do not worry about the price. Any advice how to get the price?

    Any advice how to deal with the cost and the insurance. We were trapped in the middle between the health provider and insurance and we could find a way to move it even that both understood that something was wrong. Each other say the culprit was the other.



  3. Eric says:

    Currently paying over $600/mo just to add my wife to my works insurance. They said $1300 with child! Once the baby is born I’m getting them on their own plan about $350/mo. So actually cheaper after the baby. The only reason for paying the excessive amount right now is it covers almost everything for birth minus $1000 deductible.

  4. Steve says:

    Wow, what kind of vitamins did you get that cost $30 a month? The ones my wife got prescribed are only $8 or so.

    Our health plan has a $2000 per person “out of pocket maximum”, and furthermore I am putting the money into our health care flex account so it should only cost use $1500 or so of take-home pay.

    My wife is getting almost all her clothes at thrift stores. She is being flexible, if they don’t quite match her style but are decent enough, well, she’s not going to wear them that long is she!

    Other than that we’re trying not to change our life too much. There will be plenty of changes once the baby is here 🙂

    • Steve says:

      On the other hand, we’re buying a new car to fit our growing family – it’s going to cost a lot more than 9 months worth of organic food!

  5. ziglet19 says:

    I am in my first pregnancy, and my doctor sent me to Target to get my prenatal vitamins – 200 vitamins for $8! He seemed to think these were as good as any other vitamins.

  6. David says:

    A kid costs over half a million dollars. I mean instead of feeding your kid 3 times a day for 365 days a year times 20 years, you could have used that same money and compounded it at 12 percent with good stocks.

    Many people don’t understand math or the power of compounding that’s why they have a kid.

    So the question becomes would you use a condom to get over $500,000 aka half a mil?

    • annonymous says:

      That’s crazy yes. but a child is more importand than a material product that can’t even be backed up.

  7. MADALINA says:

    Dear Connie,

    Thank you so very much for the article. I believe it is a very interesting one for sure! I am 9 weeks pregnant and have changed my eating habits about 2 months ago. Our budget for food increased from $450/month to $800/month. I had one whole month in which I could not eat anything else, but fruit. And I got tired of oranges and strawberries/blackberries after a week and I started getting cravings for cherries…a tiny basket of cherries…and it’s $20, because they’re not in season. That is so outrageous! We spend $60 just on cherries one week. And we also switched to an all organic diet. I believe it’s worth the extra money to have a healthy child.
    As for insurance, I have insurance through my husband and my co-pay is $20/visit. I calculated the costs of having a baby last year when we started trying (I included the nursery and formula, etc) and it was between $12,000 and $14,000 like you were mentioning. I believe for the first child we will have everything new, although we have some friends who offered to give us some clothes from their kids. I will also be breastfeeding for the first 3 months and then when I go back to work we will probably do a mix of formula and breastfeeding. Now I’m only hoping that my delivery will go without problems and that the baby will be healthy:) Again than you so very much for the wonderful article.

    Btw, did you take any prenatal classes? My husband and I will take an infant/child CPR class and also a “preparing for baby” class together. I calculated the cost of these classes -as well as the cost of my prenatal yoga classes- when I did my average cost for the first year.

  8. Judy says:

    Thank you!

  9. Heidi Burns says:

    Make sure your married before you make decisions on family.
    Don’t be a single Mom or Dad if you can help it make sure the woman or Man is the right women or man for you.
    It not the best time to be single Mom or Dad when the child is an infant because then you struggle of Paying your babies expenses.
    Also I think when divorce couples should help pay child support even if they make a whole lot of money still.
    Even if they aren’t allow to see their child.
    If you become a parent make sure your job pays well for family.
    And try not to get a job that pays once a month as in payroll check because then your messed up.
    Budget well for your family.
    Be a reponsible parent.

    • Sharon says:

      I couldn’t agree more! My husband and I decided that when we got married it was for life and beyond! No turning back. My husband has created our budget that forcasts for an entire year so that I know we’ll be okay for at least one more year. We are both currently working to save up for school and our first baby. I so agree with avoiding the once a month pay, you can get in all sorts of trouble when you’re living month to month with only one pay check. Things have deadlines, keep your options open.If you have a family go all the way, be married, and be responsible.

      Heidi, I love your perspective on this. It is so true. Single parenting is not fun, my aunt is struggling even now and her daughter is 13 years old, she’s still single and works every day.

  10. My wife and I spent about 800,000 won in South Korea. Currently the exchange rate is about 1200 won to the dollar, so that would be about 650 or 700 dollars per child. We have five children now. That price included all hospital visits before and after the baby, plus three days of rest in the hospital upon the birth of the baby.

    • Iroda says:

      Dear Natahaniel.
      Could please give me information about your birth in South Korea. Which hospital it was? I heard it costs 6 000 000 won in Korea, that’s why was worrying to give a birth here

  11. cdiver says:

    Lets not forget the food, clothing, and shelter for at least 18 years.

  12. cdiver says:

    Larger cars, health care, college.

  13. Confused says:

    Wait, what is the definition of a “semi-vegetarian”? Sorry i had to ask because my spouse was a vegitarain prior to meeting me

    • Sharon says:

      haha…I gues you could say I’m a “semi-vegetarian.” I have problems digesting meat and a lot of the time I can’t stand the look of it or the texture. I will eat meat, but I prefur not to.

  14. Cassandra says:

    I live in Canada, free health care and still our baby costs a lot of money. I’ve read some of your posts, and I am horrified at how much money the greedy government gets away with charging… i was especially disgusted hearing you have to pay to have your baby in the nicu. What would happen to the baby if you didn’t have the money?

    I will never live in the states… its too scary.

    • David says:

      use protection and you wont have to pay for it

    • Sharon says:

      Sometimes I wish I could get out of the states. It’s true that about 23% of everything we earn is sucked up by taxes. Not to mention the poor businesses that have to pay 1500.00 per employee and are taxed three times!
      Having a baby might just leave us with nothing left but current income. It’s too expensive and sadly there are reasons behind it all. People buy what they can’t afford. Debt and taxes are the cause of it all.

  15. jose says:

    I’m having a baby now and its the worst thing that ever happened to me, yea its so called gods gift but I’m to young for this and my job doesn’t even pay me good enough. I already know my life is over, I messed up big time, I guess now ima just work for ever and not even for me, its for a baby I never even wanted, I advice all men out there to please use protection, trust me having a prego girlfriend when u don’t want to have a baby is the worst feeling in this world.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Try to be positive. I know its hard – but what other choice do you have at this point. Rather then feel like shit – you are better off trying to make yourself happy and enjoy it.

    • Shannon says:

      Go to the nearest crisis pregnancy center in your area or contact a local Catholic Church and ask for the person in the diocese that handles the “Gabriel Project” or Catholic Charities. There are MANY resources out there through crisis pregnancy centers and churches. This does not have to be the end of the world for you three. I promise!

      In the future, look at NFP to help plan your family. is a good place to start.

    • Eileen says:

      I’m sorry that happened to you JOse. Me and my husband don’t want or have kids. I love our life; just the two of us

    • Eileen says:

      I feel bad for you Jose

    • shadow says:

      I’m in the same boat as you. $20,000 to have a baby and I’m uninsured. This sucks!

  16. Allison says:

    I don’t understand why people are spending $800 a month on groceries. I have an organic garden that requires little care, and anything I don’t grow I get from the farmers market. Eight hundred dollars is just throwing money down the drain. Put that money into a prepaid college fund for your child.

    • Shannon says:

      I agree! There are cheaper ways to get organic foods. Plus, it helps to do some research on what foods are worth buying organic and which ones aren’t. Many of the foods with a thick skin, such as avocados, do not matter either way because the pesticides do not go through- and you do not eat the skin to begin with!

  17. MariaG.H. says:

    I had a baby boy through C-sec, I stayed in the hospital for 4 nights and 3 days, it cost us almost $40,000… 🙁 though our insurance paid more than half still whats left is a lot.

  18. Chelsea says:

    I am so glad I live in Canada – where there is no hospital bill after having birth, or charge if you need a stay in the NICU. We also get a 1 YEAR paid maternity leave.

  19. Renee' says:

    Some of these costs are a little extreme. The vitamins, organic food, and beef….those costs are not necessary. Maternity clothes don’t have to be new and lots of needed items come from family and friends.

  20. Katie says:

    Wow, $4000 just for the delivery costs in hospital? I live in the UK and having read that can’t believe people here complain about the NHS, I honestly think that if we had to pay that much just for medical bills the population of the UK would be a lot smaller than it is!! No way on earth I could afford bills like that!

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