5 Main Baby Costs In The First Year To Budget For

Baby costs in the first year

A few months ago, my closest friends shared the most exciting news anyone could ask for - they're having a baby! It's been exciting to watch them go through various stages of the journey. From surprising family, friends, and co-workers with the news to buying first-time parenting books. Yup, they are figuring out how on earth they're meant to raise a whole human! But the big question they had to figure out was what the baby costs in the first year (and onward) would be!

They really want to give their baby the best of everything, but without breaking the bank. Perhaps you also trying to figure out all the expenses to expect with a baby plus wondering "how much does a baby cost per month on average?" Well, you're in the right place because this article discusses everything you need to know about having a baby!

How much does a baby cost in the first year?

If you are just starting your family or having a second baby, outside of celebrating this amazing news, the next thing on your mind is probably what it will cost. There are many baby costs in the first year, but there are also reoccurring monthly costs for your new little one.

New York Life states that baby costs in the first year can be anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000! That said, here are some key expenses to answer the question, "How much does a baby cost in the first year?". Keep this in mind as you map out your baby budget.

1. Prenatal care and delivery costs

So how much does having a baby cost when it comes to the actual delivery? In most cases, a new mom will give birth in a hospital. These costs include prenatal doctor visits, ultrasounds, the actual delivery, and the hospital stay.

The hospital costs depend on the type of delivery you have. For instance, routine vaginal deliveries can average between $5,000-$11,000. While the average c-section prices run anywhere from $7,500-$14,000. If complications occur, these costs can be even higher.

Where you live and what type of insurance you have will also impact your out-of-pocket expenses. Plus, you may incur additional costs for tests, prescribed medicines, and anesthesia associated with epidurals.

2. Upgrading your living situation

Many couples need more space once they have their first or second baby. If this is you, you may even be considering buying your first home. This would mean factoring in saving for a down payment, moving costs, and more.

To avoid becoming house-poor or stretching yourself too thin, it's essential to factor in any moving and home purchase cuts into your budget as you plan your finances for your new baby.

3. Items for the baby

Babies need a lot of things. However, it can be a very slippery slope and super easy to go overboard in this category. Here are some key baby items and general costs associated. This way, you can plan out your expenses as you plan your "mom budget."

Car seats and strollers

The price range for car seats and strollers can be all over the place, depending on how fancy you want to go. However, You can get a really good car seat and stroller combo brand new for between $150 and $300.

While it makes sense to save money as a general rule, you may want to buy a car seat brand new to ensure that you're getting the safest kind available on the market for your baby.


Diapers are another one of those monthly costs you need to incorporate into your budget. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, the average baby goes through six to ten diapers in a day which can come to $80 a month or close to $900 in diaper costs a year.

To really save on this expense, consider buying diapers in bulk (hey Costco and BJs), using coupons, or accepting diapers as part of your registry. You'll also need to remember wipes!

Baby food

So how much does a baby cost per month on average when it comes to baby formula? Depending on what formula your baby needs, the costs of baby formula can be $1,200 to $3,000 a year or $100 to $250 per month. This is based on the average can of formula costing $25 to $30 and lasting around one week.

Baby bottles and breast pump

Another expense that adds up fast is baby bottles. They can cost $5 to $20 each. You will also need to invest in a breath pump. The price range for a breath pump depends on the brand and can range between $200-$400.

Baby clothes

When it comes to baby outfits, a good question to ask is how much is too much? On one hand, you want your baby to look super adorable in that new trendy outfit, but on the other hand, he or she will outgrow the outfit in no time.

If you're sticking to essentials, you'll be pleased to know that you can comfortably budget $60 to $80 a month for the first year, and then as the baby's growth rate gradually slows, clothes will naturally start to last a little bit longer.

Toys, nursery, and furniture

Babies lead busy lives playing, sleeping, and bouncing around, but they need baby gear to make it all happen. And if there's one place that every mom holds dear, it's the nursery.

These costs can be pretty significant depending on what you decide to do. When it comes to toys, this can get as expensive as you want them to be.

Start by focusing on the essentials such as the crib, bassinet, high chair, swing or walker, and a few toys and books to keep your baby entertained. As you plan through this, ask yourself, "will this make a positive impact on my baby?" You'll quickly realize that the crystal chandelier you're eyeing for the nursey will do nothing for the baby's wellbeing!

4. Childcare and babysitting

If you're working parents, you will no doubt need additional support with taking care of your baby. But how much does a baby cost per month on average for daycare anyway?

Well, if you are fortunate enough to have family or friends close by that can lend a helping hand, this can eliminate the immediate need to pay for costly daycare.

However, not all parents have this luxury. Many daycare options exist; however, your budget will largely determine which will be best for you and your family.

Where you live will be a huge driver of your overall childcare costs. Annual childcare costs range from $13,802 in Illinois to $22,913 in Massachusetts. But it's not all bad for your pocket. The IRS chips in to help keep costs at a manageable level by offering various tax credits to eligible recipients.

Once the baby is home, it will be necessary to periodically go for doctor visits to ensure that your baby is in good health. Additional items will need to be factored into your budget. These could include out-of-pocket expenses for things like immunizations and wellness checks every so often.

How to calculate baby costs in first year: Baby cost calculators

Calculating your first-year baby costs can seem overwhelming. However, a baby cost calculator can make it super easy to do. It covers pretty much every potential baby cost you might have.

Our favorite baby cost calculators

Here are a few baby calculators to pick from:

Other related baby costs in the first year

Other costs to consider that are not specifically baby costs but may be related to having a new baby include:

Once you know what your approximate costs will be, you can focus on adjusting your budget to achieve your savings goals. Be sure to check out our blog post on tips to save when you are expecting a baby.

Quick tips for successful budgeting your baby costs in the first year

So now that we've covered "how much does having a baby cost" you can start working on your budget. You may have had many false starts on your budgeting journey in the past, and that's totally ok!

However, when a baby is in the picture, you'll want to try your best to get on top of budgeting. This is so you can keep working towards your financial goals.

The best way to start is by going back to the basics.

Ensure you have a solid emergency fund

You'll always want to be prepared for anything, including a baby. A solid way to do this is by having 3 to 6 months' worth of expenses in an emergency fund.

Ideally, if you don't have an emergency fund in place when you find out you're pregnant, you can start saving up. You can start with a goal of $1,000 and build your emergency cash up from there. You won't regret it!

Be sure to check out our list of best jobs for pregnant women too!

Try to live on one income

If you come from a 2-income household, you and your spouse may find it helpful to live off one income if you can. This will help you save intentionally as you grow your family.

In turn, you'll have more money to put toward savings, college funds, and other long-term goals. This also helps you learn how to live below your means and prevent severe financial hardships if you or your spouse becomes unemployed.

Be a savvy shopper

With all the added expense of a new baby, the best thing you can do is become a savvy shopper! Use coupons and cashback sites to save on groceries and other items. Another great way to save is to shop secondhand for items.

Babies grow fast so buying clothing preowned can significantly cut costs. Also, check around for preowned toys or other items you may be able to use. These are excellent ways you can save money as a new mom!

You can cover your baby costs in the first year by planning ahead!

Now you have an idea of baby costs in the first year and the monthly expenses to expect. The best thing you can do for your family is to prepare and budget accordingly.

But also remember, parenting is a gift that is meant to be enjoyed (not endured)! Make the most of it. If you mess up from time to time, know that it's ok. We have a great list of advice for new moms you can check out as well.

You may be navigating this chapter for the first time or for the fifth time, but remember that each time will be different. Know that you're a worthy parent, you're doing your best, and you're making your baby proud! The key is to practice healthy financial habits that will set up the next generation for success!

Learn how to create a new baby budget with our completely free budgeting course! For more fantastic financial tips, tune in to the Clever Girls Know podcast and YouTube channel!

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