The Cost of Raising A Child Birth through Infancy
By: Gary M. DellaPosta, CPA
Here are the costs you can expect up to birth and during the first year:
Note: For a second or third child, you will spend much less on furniture, clothing, and toys, but health care, child care, and food will remain the same.
According to the Transforming Maternity Care Partnership, in 2011, an uneventful hospital delivery, on average, in the United States cost between $10,657 (vaginal birth, no complications) and $23,923 (cesarean section birth with complications). The actual costs you pay, of course, vary depending on your health care coverage.
Baby Supplies and Equipment
Before you bring the baby home, you'll buy a crib, a changing table, and a swing or bouncy seat. The moderately priced versions of these three things will cost you about $1,200. You'll also need at least one stroller that you can expect to pay about $400 for. A full-size infant car seat will cost you about $150-$200, and a full-size high chair will cost $150. Finally, you will spend several hundred dollars on washcloths, sheets, blankets, towels, undershirts, onesies, and other baby clothes. Also, think about whether you plan to use a diaper service, cloth diapers, or use disposable ones.
Feeding and Diapers
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding your baby for at least 6 months. Many women, of course, choose to breastfeed longer than that. Nursing mothers will have to invest in several good nursing bras and nursing pads (about $50) as well as a nursing pillow (about $25). If you plan to return to work after 3 months, consider investing in a hospital-grade breast pump, which will run you about $400. In comparison, a year's worth of ready mix powder formula costs about $1,350. If you buy the ready-to-serve type of formula the cost, is even more, running well over $2,000. You'll also need a year's supply of bottles, at about $90, and you'll have to add another $40 to replace the nipples at least twice in a year. When your baby is ready for solid foods, you will also need to account for the cost of rice cereal and baby food. Diapers are another expense you need to consider. Cloth diapers are the least expensive option. Disposable diaper costs for the first year run about $850, and a diaper genie costs about $40.
Child care expenses vary widely. Child care in a day care center costs much less than a live-in nanny (unless you have multiples, then a nanny or au pair is the less expensive option), and prices for daycare centers vary widely. Child care in a day care center costs much less than a live-in nanny. A mid-priced day care center charges on average $975 per month for your infant's care, or close to $12,000 per year.
Your infant will visit the doctor about six times during his or her first year, including well-baby check-ups as well as the inevitable colds and fevers of infancy. How much you will spend for doctor visits during the first year depends on your health insurance.
Toys and Clothes
You will spend about $500-$600 on toys and clothing during the first year (in addition to what you bought for the layette.)
Total for the First Year
Your total expenses for the first year run about $15,000-$18,000. The biggest variable is the cost of health care.
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