The Cost Of Having A Baby + The Cost Of Raising A Baby For The First 2 Years [See How Much It REALLY Costs]

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Sometimes I think we must be crazy for having children — especially considering the cost. And I’m just referring to the monetary expense.

The cost of a normal vaginal delivery alone is enough to nearly bankrupt a family. That is, if they don’t have their health care insurance needs met.

With marked regional variation, estimates of the cost of having a baby in the U.S. range from $6,000 to $8,000 for a normal vaginal delivery and $10,000 to $12,000 for a cesarean birth (on up to as much as $14,000 in certain parts of the country). If you are covered by insurance, it may take care of virtually all of the cost or only a fraction, depending on your plan and whether your doctor and hospital are preferred providers.
Dr. Spock

Fortunately, most new parents have these costs paid by insurance or other healthcare providers — so few people even include the expense of the doctor and hospital in the cost of having a baby. However, if you don’t have insurance, you can expect to pay approximately $8,000.

If you do have insurance, realize that you and/or your employer are paying health care premiums which generally costs $273 a month for a family. If you paid only for individual insurance before having your baby, then the cost of your health insurance should be added to the cost of having a baby.

View the survey: U.S. Health Insurance Costs Rise Nearly Twice As Fast As Pay


Newborn Expenses

It’s estimated that the monthly expense for diapers ranges between $45 to $65 for cloth diapers and $60 to $85 for disposable diapers.

The cost of feeding your baby will vary greatly, depending on which route you go. Breast milk, of course, is the cheapest, but not necessarily free according to Parents Magazine — which calculates the cost of breast pump rental. Formula will run you about $2,000, on average.

In addition to formula or breast milk, most people start feeding their child baby food at 6 months of age. Most continue on baby foods for about 12 to 18 months — until the baby is weaned onto table food. The cost of commercial baby food averages about 60 cents per jar. A baby tends to eat an average of 4 jars of baby food a day — over the year and a half that they eat it. This can cost you about $1,300 over the 18 months that babies tend to eat commercial baby food. Of course, you could make your own baby food and save a bit of money.

People tend to buy baby clothes as their budget allows, and most parents also take advantage of clothing gifts that others have given. At minimum however, you will need to purchase these clothing items every month as your child grows (or as items wear out):

  • Onesies (undershirts with snaps) $10 for a pack of 5
  • Sleepers $10 for a pack of 3
  • Socks $13 for a pack of 3
  • 2 outfits to wear outside $15 each

This assumes that bibs, blankets, and other clothing items are received as gifts. (Target was used as the source for the above prices.)

And then there’s child care! Child care generally costs 20% of the family’s income. Some parents may be lucky enough to have a family member care for their child, but it’s rare these days. If mom opts to stay home, then you’re trading a second income in exchange for childcare costs and peace of mind.


The Cost Of Raising A Baby From Birth To Age 2

  • Childbirth: $8,000
  • Diapers for 2-1/2 years: $1,800 for cloth diapers or $2,400 for disposable diapers
  • Breast milk or formula for first year: Breastfeeding up to $450, or $2,000 for mid-priced formulas
  • Commercial baby food for second year: $1,300
  • Baby clothes: $912 for the first 2 years
  • Childcare: $8,000 to $12,000+ for 2 years

The total cost of raising a baby for the first 2 years falls somewhere between $12,462 and $26,612. You can break this down to something like $500 to $1000 a month.

Yes, in the end, babies are perfectly manageable cost wise. A baby costs no more than a car payment in the first 2 years.

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I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future -- which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.

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