6 Unexpected Costs of Having a Baby
The cost of having a baby, just in the first year of life, is around $11,000. But do you know the unexpected costs? Here are six to keep in mind!
Unplanned Delivery Charges
Not all births are routine, nor, unfortunately, are all babies born healthy—some require immediate medical intervention or even a
neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stay.
Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician and co-author of
Heading Home With Your Newborn, had a problem-free pregnancy. Her delivery, however, was not so. She needed an episiotomy, vacuum, forceps, and emergency C-section. Then, once her son was finally born, he developed jaundice and was sent home with bilirubin lights. She also had terrific insurance. “When I had my son, I paid nothing at all,” she says. But not everyone is as fortunate.
Kelly Johnson, a preschool teacher in Oregon, also had good coverage but she still had to pay. She doled out a $150 co-pay for routine visits to her OB-GYN during pregnancy and the
vaginal delivery of her son. And for her and her new son’s 48-hour hospital stay, Johnson owed an additional $350.
Insurance benefits vary from company to company and even state to state. And hospital costs—those passed on to insurance companies before you’re billed—vary widely, too. “So it’s important to ask [your insurance company about its benefits] so you don’t get surprised by a big bill,” Dr. Shu says. She recommends expectant parents create an emergency savings fund that would include money—at least $1,000—for unforeseen hospital and newborn costs not covered by insurance.
breastfeeding mom who needs extra help, services are available. But they’ll cost you. For example, rates for International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) in the Chicago area are $150 to $200 for a home visit, says Katy Lebbing, manager of the Center for Breastfeeding Information. “When it is a critical time, such as right after birth, mothers are generally seen in their homes,” she says, adding that office visits cost less. As with insurance companies, home visits by a professional for the nursing mother also vary from region to region. Lebbing says costs can range from $75 to $250.
Cost of Formula
Whether you’re bottlefeeding by choice or found you can’t breastfeed, you’ll need to purchase baby formula. Formula costs differ depending on the brand and type (such as powder, premixed, hypoallergenic) but can be quite high. Dr. Shu says the average cost of ready-to-feed formulas is 25 cents an ounce. If your baby consumes 20 ounces a day of that kind of formula for one year, you’ll pay nearly $2,000. Some specialized formulas for medical conditions can run upwards of $50 a can. To reduce the costs some, ask your pediatrician or hospital for samples. Also, you can contact the formula companies directly for coupons and other promotions.
Feeding your newborn may be expensive, but feeding paraphernalia doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can skip some things, such as bottle warmers and bottle coolers, Dr. Shu says. She adds that diaper-wipe warmers and even diaper pails with “odor systems” are unneeded, more costly items. “There are definitely places where you can cut out non-necessities,” she says.
Today, there’s no reason to pay retail price for most baby gear due to online discounters, resale shops, secondhand stores, and discount outlets. But if you’re buying secondhand, be sure to keep up with safety recalls, and be cautious when buying used cribs or car seats.
Childcare can take a huge chunk out of a paycheck. Depending on the type of childcare—daycare center, in-home provider, nanny—you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 a week to over $800 for a newborn. Do your homework, talk with other parents, and find out all the options and what will work best for your situation.
Something to Think About
Clearly, your new baby doesn’t need everything. He just needs a warm place to feel safe and loved, a constant supply of food, and parents well-versed in the expected—and perhaps shockingly unexpected—costs of bringing a baby into the world and caring for it.
On top of work and running all those errands, you still have to cart the kids around to daycare, play dates, and extracurriculars. How can you possibly get all that done without doing serious damage to your wallet? Try these ingenious tips to stay withinview gallery
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