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10 Biggest Expenses in Baby's First Year

Even More Expenses From Baby's First Year

The cost of baby food adds up — even if you go the DIY route and make your own.
The cost of baby food adds up — even if you go the DIY route and make your own.
© VeraPetruk/Thinkstock

4: Food and Feeding

Your new little one is going to eat. Whether you breastfeed, bottle-feed or work out a combination of both, there are expenses involved. Breastfeeding itself is free, but you'll need some accessories, like nursing bras and tops. If you're planning to go back to work, you may need to buy or rent a breast pump and get bottles.

If you supplement breastfeeding with formula or only feed your baby formula, you can expect to spend up to $100 per month. At about four to six months, you'll introduce baby food, which can cost another $50 or so per month. You're also going to need a high chair and many, many bibs [source: Baby Center Costs].


3: Child Care

Child care is one of the most important decisions facing many new parents — and potentially one of the most expensive. Gone are the days when it could be assumed that Mom would stay home with the children or that Grandma or some other relative would be the full-time child care provider.

In fact, today, nearly 11 million children are in child care in America every week — and the cost continues to rise. For infants, the average annual cost of full-time care ranges from $3,930 in Mississippi to $16,430 in Massachusetts. This cost is higher than food, and in 31 states, it's higher than the cost of a year's college tuition and fees [source: Child Care Aware].

Research your child care options carefully. The people who care for your children will have an important role in their lives — and yours.

2: Housing

You may not be planning to move to larger digs as you anticipate the birth of a child, but for many parents-to-be, a home or apartment with a dedicated nursery is an important, exciting and fun part of welcoming a new baby. Whether you move or not, housing — including rent or mortgage, utilities and upkeep — is the largest category of child-rearing expenses [source: USDA].

If you decide to upgrade, keep in mind that a larger apartment may mean additional rent every month, a larger up-front deposit and higher utility costs, while the costs of buying and maintaining a larger house could make up an entirely different list.

1: Childbirth

Just bringing your baby into the world can be the most expensive part of the first year of your child's life. The average cost of childbirth in a hospital ranges from $10,600 for a natural delivery with no complications to $23,900 for a cesarean section with complications. These costs often don't include anesthesia, newborn care and other physician charges.

With all of the recent health insurance changes, check your health insurance policy before you become pregnant. Premature births, serious complications or a doctor or hospital out of your network can add thousands more to the cost of childbirth, making insurance essential not only for receiving adequate care, but also for paying for it [source: Podulka].

Author's Note: 10 Biggest Expenses in Baby's First Year

I don't have kids of my own, but during my youngest nephew's first year, I was nanny to him and his two older brothers. I learned a lot that year, but the lesson that stuck with me — he's 15 as I write this in 2014 — is that while the first year of a baby's life involves a lot of expenses, some of it unavoidable, the most important thing to spend during that year — and really throughout your children's lives — is time. I love all of my nephews very much, but the youngest one and I developed a bond during his first year that continues to this day. So spend what money you have to, but really, your baby won't know if he's got designer clothes and a gold-plated crib. Play with him, love him, spend time with him. That's the gift that will last forever.

Related Articles


  • Baby Center. "Choosing Life Insurance." (Oct. 11, 2014)
  • Baby Center. "First-Year Baby Costs Calculator." 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014)
  • Child Care Aware of America. "Parents and the High Cost of Child Care 2013 Report." 2013. (October 11, 2014)
  • National Partnership for Women & Families. "Average U.S. Facility Charges for Giving Birth." 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014)
  • Podulka, J. et al. "Hospitalizations Related to Childbirth, 2008. HCUP Statistical Brief #110." Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. April 2011 (Oct. 11, 2014)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). "Expenditures on Children by Families, 2013." August 2014. (Oct. 11, 2014)


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