How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby?

Deciding to have a baby is one of the most life-changing decisions that you will ever make. When is the right time to have a baby? People will tell you there is never a “right time,” which does not make the decision any easier. One of the questions you are probably considering is, how much does it cost to have a baby? To answer that, we will go through all of the costs you should prepare yourself for before having a baby.

The cost of having a baby starts well before your baby is born. Unfortunately, many people have difficulty getting pregnant and may seek out fertility assistance, which will swiftly max out your health insurance deductible. But even if you are fortunate enough to get pregnant quickly, you’ll become well-acquainted with your doctor and the bills that follow those visits.

You’ll also likely want to make sure that your body is in the best condition for going through a pregnancy. To get healthier for your baby, you may wish to use prenatal supplements and vitamins. These costs are entirely avoidable, but they can also add up in a hurry.

Cost of Delivering a Baby

The most substantial of these early expenses, though, is the cost of delivery. This cost will vary depending on what state you live in, but it will always be a significant chunk of change.

According to a study from Health Affairs, the average cost of delivering a baby is currently around $4,300, and that’s even with help from health insurance. That number has also been on the rise.

In 2008, the cost to deliver a baby was $2,910.

These numbers also assume a smooth delivery. If there are obstacles in childbirth and a cesarean is necessary, the cost could increase to over $5,000.

If you do not have health insurance, the numbers start to get a lot uglier. According to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, it can cost nearly $11,000 to deliver a baby without health insurance.

Cost Per Year of Having a Baby

While the initial cost of delivering a baby is steep, it only goes up from there in year one.

In year one, the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that you will spend nearly $13,000 on your baby. By the time your child turns 18 years old, you are likely to have spent over $245,000 during those 18 years.

Here is a breakdown of the costs you can expect to incur with a baby:

“Baby Stuff”

A newborn baby is going to grow in and out of clothes every month. So don’t get too attached to any particular outfit. You can try to prevent some of these costs by not buying clothes that your baby will grow out of in a matter of weeks. This category includes everything from diapers to wipes to baby formula and could cost around $200 per month when your child is still young.

Food Expenses  

Feeding your baby is an expense that escalates quickly. According to the USDA, a one-year-old will cost about $175 to feed each month, while a nine-year-old costs about $100 more. At age 18, your child could cost over $300 a month to feed.

Education and Child Care

The government believes you should only be spending 10% of your total income each year on childcare. However, many families pay double that rate or more for their child’s education and daily care needs. According to Care.com, you could be shelling out $200 every week to pay for healthcare.


Your child will likely take an interest in particular activities that come along with expenses for training and equipment. And even if you have a kid that wants to do nothing but sit inside glued to a screen, you are going to want to keep them occupied, especially in the summer. On sports alone, you can expect to spend around $1,000 per year.

Opportunity Cost

When a couple has a baby, it’s common for one of them to leave the workforce. Whether it’s a temporary move or a change for the long haul, there are financial drawbacks in both scenarios. You may initially believe that you know how long you’ll be away from work, but FlexJobs found that 58% of parents have taken more time off than they originally expected.

If you end up taking two to three years off but then return to the workforce, Forbes found that the average penalty to your salary could be 30%.

In 2016, The Center for American Progress produced a study that showed women who were earning around $30,000 per year at age 26 and returned to the workforce at age 31 would cost themselves close to $470,000 in total potential earnings during their career.


The expenses above are just the basics. You should also consider all the other various items you’ll be buying, such as a stroller, a car seat, a place to sleep, baby monitoring devices, etc. New parents are bombarded with a million different baby accessories that all seem necessary. Even if you resist the urge to buy that bottle warmer or diaper dispensary, some of these items may not present you with a choice.

Many of these expenses will also be for specific uses that only last for a few months at a time. Don’t go overboard with these one-time purchases. If you have more kids down the road, you’ll at least be able to reuse the items. But once again, their usefulness will only last for a short while.

In total, you can expect to pay close to $3,000 for all of the miscellaneous items you end up buying for your baby.

Bottom Line on Baby Expenses

Raising a family and bringing a newborn baby into the world is one of the greatest gifts that life can bestow on you. But before you rush into parenthood, it’s smart to make sure you are financially ready for the commitment. Having a baby comes with significant upfront costs, which only escalate as the years go on.

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