Having a child is expensive, but it’s difficult to wrap your head around that until you experience it. Aaron and I have always been thoughtful about our purchases, but one of the best decisions we made was hiring a financial advisor. It’s not that we make tons of money, but we wanted to start our lives together making smart retirement and savings decisions. At the time, with a kid on the way, she helped us figure out a budget that worked for us. Although everyone’s experience is different, here’s a breakdown of our first year’s cost. We were gifted many items by very generous friends and family. I’ve included the cost of these items in the total for each category.
The only item that I didn’t include in this list, which many people reminded me after this was posted, was the contribution to a college fund. If we factor that in then I would add $4000 to the total cost.
PREGNANCY | $510
When I was pregnant, I avoided buying maternity clothes for as long as I could. I didn’t like the idea of buying items that I would only wear for a few weeks. But after finally purchasing a few items, I was so much more comfortable and realized I should have made the transition sooner. Other than clothes and prenatal vitamins, additional costs incurred were related to standard pregnancy check-ups.
Prior to giving birth, I was nervous about the hospital bill. I couldn’t find a clear answer to how much it would cost. Other than speaking with friends, I had no idea what to expect once the bills started coming in. Luckily, I participated in a healthy pregnancy program through our insurance, which waived the hospital co-pay making our final delivery cost under $50.
NURSERY | $1300
Before we brought Max home from the hospital, we decided we weren’t going to co-sleep. Knowing this, we didn’t buy a bed-side bassinet, but instead made sure his crib was set up a few weeks before my due date. We opted for a crib and changing table from Ikea, which was considerably less expensive than many options, yet still rated highly by consumer reports.
To transform the space, we added book ledges and colorful shelves. I repainted picture frames we owned and added kid-centric prints. To include aspects that had some personal meaning, I painted a favorite Calvin & Hobbes scene from Aaron’s childhood on the wall. We didn’t have a strict color palette but stuck to a general scheme of grays and whites with a few pops of bright colors.
GEAR | $580
There are a lot of options for taking your baby around and you need to get what works best for you and your baby. I loved the idea of using a carrier to carry your baby close to you, but we tried several options (Moby wrap, Babybjorn and Baby Sling wrap) and never found one that Max liked being in. Items included in this category are the infant stroller/car seat, convertible car seat, wagon and umbrella stroller.
CLOTHES | $930
There will come a day when Max wants to dress himself. But until then, I’ve loved picking out his outfits and dressing him every day. Well actually, if I’m being honest, dressing him is a struggle most days, but I love how adorable he looks once dressed. Although I always bought items on sale, I probably could have been smarter and bought second hand. In addition to what we bought, we also received a ton of adorable clothes from friends and family (esp Aunt Ashley and BeBe (Aaron’s mom)!). Here I’ve only included the clothing cost that we purchased.
DIAPERS + WIPES | $580
Knowing how many diapers infants go through in a year (I posted exactly how many here, we really appreciated the boxes of diapers we received as gifts (~$140 worth of diapers). We relied on Amazon’s subscribe and save options for diapers and wipes. The best part is you get 20% off diapers if you subscribe and save!
BREASTFEEDING | $200
I had the intention of breastfeeding for 1 year. But in reality, I exclusively breastfed for 7 months then supplemented with formula until 10 months (I wrote about my experience here and here). Most of the money spent includes what I needed to pump at work and store milk at home. Luckily, the biggest cost, the breast pump, was covered by our insurance. Items we used and loved: Medela Quick Clean Wipes, Medela Pump Parts, Bottle Cooler Set, Steam Bags, Disposable Nursing Pads
FOOD | $630 ($230 supplies + $200 food + $200 formula)
Max started eating solids around 4.5 months. For the first year, we pureed/prepared most of his food, but also gave him some store bought baby food. Even though he was primarily breastfed, we still spent about $200 in formula! Certain items, such as sippy cups, were more of a trial and error than others. Items we used and loved: Tommee Tippee Bottles, Miracle Sippy Cup, Chicco Caddy Hook On Chair, Snack Cup, Bottle Drying Rack
PLAY | $800
When Max started sitting up on his own we bought a skiphop play mat so he could have a cushioned area to play. Then once he was mobile we set up a playpen so he could play safely. Overall we tried not to go overboard with toys. In addition, starting from when Max was 7 months old, we subscribed to weekly classes at our local Romp n' Roll. Play items we used and loved: SkipHop Geo Playspot Mat, Baby Playpen, Jumperoo
HEALTH + SAFETY | $380
This category includes bath and grooming supplies, baby proofing items and our baby monitor. Most of the items here were gifted to us. Thankfully Max wasn’t a very sensitive baby, so he did well with a variety of baby lotions and washes. Items we used and loved: Baby Cam, Duck Tub, Baby Nail Clippers with Light
DAYCARE | $11,200
This was by far the biggest cost. We had always known daycare was expensive but we didn’t realize that it was SO expensive. But in the end we settled on a daycare that we loved and felt completely comfortable leaving Max at. This is the cost for 9 months of daycare (no daycare during maternity leave).
INSURANCE AND HEALTH COSTS | $1,154
We were lucky in that Max didn’t have a lot of doctor’s visits the first year (knocking on wood) so the bulk of this amount was the cost of adding him to our insurance plan.
What was your cost breakdown from the first year? Were you surprised by any of the expenses?