No one wants to spoil the excitement of welcoming their new bundle of joy by thinking about money. But the reality is, babies and budgets go hand in hand.
Just how much does it cost to have a baby? Hospital fees alone for vaginal delivery average $11,200 and $15,000 for a C-section, and that’s with insurance.
HEALTH INSURANCE IS KEY
The only thing you can be sure of when it comes to baby costs is that if you’re considering pregnancy, it’s extremely important that you have health insurance, which can cover anywhere from 25 to over 90 percent of the costs. Not only is it wise to have insurance before you get pregnant, but you should also do a deep dive into what is covered for maternity care and what isn’t. You’ll be thankful when those bills start rolling in.
Know what your deductible is, what length of hospital stay is covered and make sure to use an in-network doctor and hospital to avoid extra out-of-pocket charges. Make your birth plan and budget after you’re clear on insurance coverage.
In addition, know what tests are and are not covered. Insurance will often cover genetic testing for moms who are at-risk or 35 and older, but may not for younger moms. If those tests are important to you, make sure to budget for them.
One tip you probably wouldn’t consider: Bring your own over-the-counter medications. Did you know that hospitals could charge $15 for just one Tylenol pill? Just be sure to let your doctor know so he or she can make sure they play well with anything you’re prescribed.
Below is a cost cheat sheet to help you prepare.
COST CHEAT SHEET
Prenatal Care: Prenatal care, which typically involves monthly appointments with your OBGYN, runs $100 to $200 per appointment. Insurance will usually cover most of these costs.
Prenatal Vitamins: $12 to $150 per bottle.
Maternity Clothes: $0 to $300
Hit up your mom friends for hand-me-downs, as well as garage sales to keep costs low here. Budget to buy yourself a few new feel-good pieces, but don’t spend too much on clothes you’ll never wear again. You could also sign up to rent maternity clothes while you’re pregnant.
Hospital Stay: $0 to $9,000-plus
Car Seat: $125 to $500
Hospitals will require you to have one in order to leave. You don’t necessarily need the Bentley of car seats, but don’t be tempted to buy a second-hand model. There’s no way to know whether a used seat has been involved in a car accident, which would render it unsafe for use.
Crib: $80 to $1,200
Baby Bedding: $10 to $75
Baby Monitor: $35 to $340
Stroller: $150 to $1,000
High Chair: $23 to $300
Full-time Infant Care: According to the Care.com 2019 Cost of Care survey, the average weekly cost for child care for an infant is $211 for a day care or child care center and $596 for a nanny.
Newborn Clothes: $0 to $60-plus per month
Hopefully you’ll get enough as gifts and hand-me-downs that you won’t have to buy too much. Don’t load up on too many newborn-sized clothes; there are no fashion shows for the first few months, and babies often leave the hospital already too big for the smallest sizes. Instead, focus on seasonally appropriate sizes for future months. Make your best guess at how big your baby will be, but don’t go for the pricey stuff when you’re buying basics: Babies love nothing more than to prove their parents wrong.
Diapers: $70 to $80 per month
Look for deals and buy in bulk, and be strategic, since little ones grow quickly. Buy just as many as you need for about a month at a time, and then reassess for sizing, comfort, etc. Some babies suffer skin reactions to certain brands, so avoid being left with an opened case. If you’re willing to put in some extra work, using cloth diapers that you wash yourself can cut the cost down to $20 to $30 per pack.
Baby Wipes: $12 for 450 sheets
Breastfeeding Accessories: $300
This includes nursing bras, nursing pillow and a breast pump kit. Many insurance plans will pay for a pump, so be sure to check if yours is covered, and order it before you give birth.
Formula: $20 to $145
Bottles and Nipples: $6 to $30
Even if you’re planning on breastfeeding, some babies need supplemental nutrition or have trouble latching, so many moms prep by having some formula on standby. If you’re stumped on which brand to buy, find out what your hospital keeps in stock — and make sure to ask for extra samples before you leave.
Even if your baby is exclusively breast-fed, you may want bottles and nipples in the house so you can pump to keep a store of milk in the fridge. The benefit is two-fold: Your partner can participate in feedings and you can (gasp!) actually leave the house once in a while.