Breaking Down the Cost of Having a Baby

Having a child doesn’t come without financial costs. As a mom of three, I’ve made lots of financial mistakes but have learned so many more lessons and tricks to saving money while getting the best deals on things my children really need.

Pregnancy Costs
Upon discovering you’re pregnant the first financial concern is paying for medical care. Depending on your financial situation and income you may qualify for assistance if you do not already have insurance. Going to a local pregnancy center will lead you to resources on how to navigate this which can be a relief due to the exciting but sometimes overwhelming news of a positive pregnancy test. Scroll to the bottom of this page to chat with someone or call our helpline if you need assistance in finding a pregnancy center near you.

Another cost during pregnancy is clothes for yourself. With a growing belly you may find that your pre-pregnancy clothes are not fitting well as they did. The good news is that you won’t normally notice a change that requires different clothes until you are further along in your pregnancy. Maternity clothes can be quite expensive and they are not necessary. Honestly, I found maternity jeans super uncomfortable and opted for loose fitting clothes I already owned. If you really love your jeans and they do not fit you can use the hair tie trick to make a maternity extender. Check it out here along with other tricks to turn your regular clothes into maternity clothes: Click here

Costs in Preparing for Baby’s Arrival
My first child I had a nursery prepared for him. I chose a theme for his nursery complete with decorations, a changing table, a crib with matching bedding, a variety of bouncers and swings
and much more. Once he was born I rarely used any of it. I don’t think I ever used the changing table but rather preferred my lap or a bed. For my other children the preparation was much different with a focus on practicality rather than a cutesy theme.

I made sure they each had a place to sleep–a crib with a mattress and a sheet is ideal. Crib bumper pads are not advised since they can be a suffocation hazard along with anything else
inside the crib. Having their own room is not necessary as it has been shown that babies who sleep in the same room as their mothers fare much better than those who do not.

Next, they needed to have a car seat. As much as I am an advocate for buying second hand items, a car seat should be purchased brand new. I was able to use my son’s car seat with my daughter when she was born. Since I knew the car seat was not in a wreck which would have compromised it and it was not past it’s expiration date it was safe to use. If you have children that are close in age this may be a possibility for you too. If you do not and are unable to afford a car seat check with local programs in your area as many provide pathways to receive a free or reduced priced car seat for your baby. Again, scrolling to the bottom of the page you can call or chat so we can connect you with a pregnancy resource center in your area as they often provide programs like this or will be able to lead you to one.

Second hand clothes and some baby gear is highly encouraged, especially in the first year. With my first child I worked a retail job so he had lots of brand new baby clothes. Planning out his outfits and accounting for possible accidents I was very confident that I was properly prepared for his arrival. Turns out, there were many items that he never got the chance to wear because he grew so fast! All of his clothes were already washed so returning them was not an option. Many mothers experience the same which is why you can find so many second hand baby clothes that were barley worn or never worn at all. Also, from working retail I noticed that especially with children’s clothes to never buy full priced items. Many of the shipments that would come in would be full priced only to go on sale a week or two later then sometimes back to full price. Shopping the sale or clearance rack will save you big on your child’s clothes!

Once baby arrives
Once your baby arrives the main concern is how will your baby eat? It basically comes down to three options: breastfed, formula fed, or a combination of the two. I’ve done all three ways and by far the least expensive is breastfeeding your baby. Breastfeeding can be intimating at first especially because there is so much information. If you’re concerned about breastfeeding and wondering if you’re doing it correctly there are many breastfeeding support groups. You can find them through the hospital where you decide to give birth, your local health center, or a pregnancy resource center can often link you to one.

My experience with breastfeeding my first child versus my other two children was very different. My first child was a negative experience and I ended up only breastfeeding him until he was 4 months old. I tried to pump at times, I wasn’t nursing him and could not retrieve enough milk which was extremely frustrating for me. Looking back, I believe the pump I had chosen was not a good fit for me. Breast pumps are covered by most insurance companies if you are interested in pumping. Some moms are extremely successful at pumping. I unfortunately was not.

My other two children was a much better experience. I exclusively breastfed them and they both ended up weaning themselves after the age of two! I never used formula which was great since formula is an additional cost. However, if for whatever reason you need to formula feed there are programs to support you if you truly cannot afford formula for your baby.

After your baby turns six months they often are ready for solid foods. Feeding your baby and picking out baby food can be a whole new experience and an additional cost. However, it doesn’t have to be! Again, with my first I followed a very specific plan and purchased baby food–many he did not like (peas were an absolute no) only to do something very different with my other two children. My other children I used the Baby Led Weaning method which is basically feeding your child the same food you are eating just prepared a bit differently so they are able to eat it safely. You can check out this method here: Click here

And lastly, once baby arrives you’re going to want to purchase them all the fun toys. With my first, I and my family purchased lots of cute baby toys to grow his brain and entertain him.
However, babies under a year do not need a lot of toys. In fact, new research shows that too many toys can be negative. It only takes 15 toys for a child to become over-stimulated and for babies that number is even less. More information about too many toys.

What’s the best way to entertain your baby? You! You are your baby’s most favorite person. They spent 9 months inside you listening to your heartbeat and your voice. There’s no place a baby would rather be then in your arms. Easy ways to play with your baby include silly faces, singing any song, and playing peek-a-boo. Looking for more ways to entertain your baby: Click here.

Trying to be a perfect mother and providing your child with the perfect environment is an impossible task. Rather, make sure you provide your child with the necessities and the rest will
fall into place.

There’s no perfect way to be a mother and a million ways to be a good one.
-Jill Churchill

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