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 charges paid by insurance or other healthcare providers, so few people ever count the expense of the doctor and hospital. However, if you do not 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 the baby, 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
Estimated Newborn Expenses
It is estimated that the monthly expense for diapers ranges between $45 to $65 for cloth diapers and $60-$85 for disposable diapers.
The cost of feeding your baby will vary greatly, depending 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 they wean the baby onto table food. The cost of commercial baby food averages about 60 cents per jar. A baby tends to polish off an average of 4 jars 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 purchase 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 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 the child, but this is rare these days. If mom opts to stay home, then you are trading a second income in exchange for childcare costs and peace of mind.
The Cost Of Raising A Child From Birth To Age 2
- Child birth: $8,000
- Diapers for 2-1/2 years: $1,800 for cloth or $2,400 for disposable
- Breast milk or formula for first year: Breastfeeding up to $450, or around $2,000 for mid-priced formulas
- Commercial baby food 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 having a baby in 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.
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.