Obviously, having a baby is a huge responsibility- and one that you may not fully realize until it actually happens. Regardless of the amount of planning you put into preparing for pregnancy and having a child, there are plenty of unexpected costs and tolls the experience will take on everything from your bank account, to your body to your relationship. Besides the obvious clothes, crib and carseat, what are the real costs of having a baby?
Hospital bills- While many expecting mothers and parents are worried about the amount of clothes and spit up cloths they will need once the baby arrives, they fail to plain for the high costs of doctors visits and hospital bills. Prenatal care and childbirth can be quite expensive. Good medical care is obviously essential for the health of your baby, but insurance may require you to pay your deductible. Medical bills from doctors visits as well as your stay in the hospital during labor can cost anywhere from $7,000-$15,000.
Leave- Another thing that many people do not take into consideration when preparing for a child, is the amount of income they will lose related to maternity or paternity leave. The United States is among the worst countries for maternity leave policies, mandating that employers give new moms twelve weeks of unpaid leave- which is what many do and is the absolute minimum. Accrued vacation and sick days can be added to this, however you may not realize that you can face several weeks without the income you are accustomed to. To counteract this, prepare to adjust by limiting your expenses during this time or plan to be able to fall back on an emergency fund if needed.
The gear- Its very smart to acquire hand-me-down clothes or clothes bought from second hand stores for the first several months of your babies life, as this is when they will outgrow clothes the fastest. In addition to clothes- a crib, stroller, carseat, changing table, diaper bag, bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, burp clothes and more are all essentials for a new baby. Many of these things should be bought new for the sake of your baby’s health, and can end up costing a lot of money.
Formula- Expecting mothers and parents are probably aware that breast feeding is ideal for new borns as it will keep them healthier and less prone to getting sick. Still, if you are going to breast feed, there are several items to buy that can cost you a good amount of money including a few nursing bras, nursing pads, breast pump, nipple cream and breast-milk storage bags. All of these things add up, but do not cost nearly as much as formula does. Many new parents spend about $1,000 a year in formula alone depending on the brand, not to mention bottles and bottle-feeding accessories.
Besides all of these monetary costs of having a baby that you may not adequately plan for, there is also the emotional toll it can take on you and your mental health, as well as the amount of stress you will certainly bear relating to the baby and these financial differences. In addition to this, your sleeping patterns will be messed up an you will be getting much less sleep than before. Sleep is an essential part of good maintaining good health, so you need to make sure you quality sleep when you can to maintain your energy levels to take care of your baby.
Also, be aware that your relationship with your significant other will never be the same again. Prepare for this so that you can keep your relationship healthy with open communication and a loving respect for one another surrounding the experience of becoming parents.