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A Practical Look At The Cost Of Raising An Infant

By Elizabeth Lynette Perkins

How much money will it cost to have and raise a baby? This is an important question on the minds of most would-be parents at one time or another. And it’s a question that often guides their decision to have one.

Sometimes, the expenses are obvious. For example, you’ll need to buy diapers and food for your little one. Other times, however, the costs are less clear. You may lose your household’s second income (if you decide to stay home); you might need to pay for child care (if you decide to continue working); and you’ll need to purchase an assortment of baby gear, including a stroller, crib, and car seat.

This article will provide a closer look at the real cost of raising a baby. Most moms and dads discover it is far higher than they imagined, especially during their infants’ first twelve months. Use the following information as a guide to expenses you may have overlooked.

A Decline In Household Income

When you have a baby, you’ll either stay home or continue working. Chances are, you will have already made the decision. Many new parents decide that one partner will stay home, but underestimate the effect on their household budget. The situation can become particularly serious if the new mom and dad are trying to pay off school loans, car loans, and a mortgage. A lot of moms and dads, after choosing to stay at home, decide to get part-time jobs to supplement their single-income budget.


Also, keep in mind maternity leave is rarely paid. If you decide to stay home with your little one, make sure your savings, insurance, and other means will fill the income gap. A lot of new parents return to work earlier than planned due to the financial strain.

Trips To The Doctor And ER

You may believe your health insurance will cover the entire cost of delivery. But are you certain? Many people are surprised to learn following their babies’ births that their insurance only covers a percentage of the services provided. For example, if you need or want an epidural, is the entire expense covered? If you require a C-section, will your coverage suffice? A typical delivery may cost up to $30,000 (or more) depending on your needs, generating multiple invoices from the hospital and doctors. Health insurance often covers less than the full amount.

You’ll also need to pay a co-payment each time your baby needs to visit her doctor. Add to this expenses related to prescriptions and immunizations, and the $20 or $30 per visit can quickly erode your budget.

Increase In Food-Related Costs

At first, when it comes to food, it’s tempting to only consider the price of formula (if you choose not to breastfeed). But there are other food expenses related to the arrival of your baby. For example, a lot of moms and dads begin to eat out rather than prepare meals at home. The reason? Taking care of a little one can be exhausting, and leave little energy for cooking. Unfortunately, eating out can also be expensive.

If you decide to breastfeed, you might be tempted to think your little one’s food bill is essentially zero. Consider, however, that you may need to purchase a breast pump. You might also need to buy nursing bras, and other clothes that can accommodate your baby’s nursing schedule.

Splurging On Special Occasions

Because your baby’s first birthday is special, you may want to organize a party to celebrate the occasion. Bear in mind that doing so can be expensive. Decorations, food, and gifts can cost two or three hundred dollars, and even more if you invite a large number of guests. Special occasions can also include traveling to see family, trips to amusement parks, and family vacations. Having a baby in tow increases the cost of each of these activities.

You already know that having and raising an infant poses a high cost. But a lot of new moms and dads neglect to plan for the items mentioned above. If forgotten, they can quickly cause unexpected financial stress.

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