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Baby cost, anyone?

babymoney.jpgThinking about having a baby and wondering how much it will cost? If you?re lucky, someone might sit down with you and attempt to give you a ballpark figure. If not, you would be told simply that they didn?t think anymore whether they could afford a baby, they just had them. True enough, the only ones who do not consider the costs are the ones who live in castles or own buildings. The rest of us, well, we may attempt drafting up cashflow statements and conducting informal surveys among friends.

Having a baby is expensive or at least, will require some expense. Thinking in terms of the next three to five years, factors that will affect the level of expense include:

Fertility / Infertility
Blessed are those who, when they decide to have a baby, will immediately conceive. Unfortunately, conception is affected by so many factors (health, stress, age, timing, etc) that trying to conceive can be a long, drawn-out process. Be prepared to spend for check-ups, laboratory tests, even surgery. Some of these expenses will be covered by insurance, some won?t be. Even adoption will require expense as you hire lawyers, draft papers, support the mother and tidy up the legalities.

Pregnancy Requirements
Prenatal care will require regular check-ups (about fourteen standard visits) and tests. There will also be vitamins, maternity clothes and shoes, even food purchases to address cravings that were not part of your budget before.

Pregnancy Difficulty
Some women go through pregnancy so smoothly, it?s as if their hormones didn?t rage. Some however, go through it praying daily for deliverance or reprieve. Absences due to exaggerated pregnancy symptoms will cost you. Medicines to help keep nausea at bay, to help relax the uterus and minimize spotting, to cure urinary tract infections, all these will cost you. Confinements due to threatened abortions or miscarriages will also cost you. Other complications such as gestational diabetes, or special scenarios like expecting multiples will require more monitoring, and therefore more laboratory procedures.

Mode of Delivery
Giving birth in a hospital will be more expensive than giving birth in a lying-in clinic or at home, assisted by a midwife. Giving birth will also be considerably higher if you have a cesarean section or the birth becomes a complicated one. The more doctors attending to you (in cases of high-risk pregnancies or suspected congenital anomalies) and the longer you or the baby stays in the hospital, the greater your hospital bill would also be.

Baby Medical Bills
Once the baby is out, he will be requiring check-ups and immunization. Homeopathic remedies may lessen the expense but well-baby visits are very necessary especially in the first year of life.

Baby Layette and Furniture
A baby will require a small layette and certain furnitures. However, this shouldn?t cost much if you?re not particular about buying from yard sales, borrowing from friends and accepting hand-me-downs. Babies usually go through onesies and frogsuits too soon for these to be run worn. Essential equipment like car seats could be rented and umbrollers, high chairs and cribs could be bought secondhand. Diapers, cloth or disposable, will be the only expense you really cannot escape from.

Baby Nutrition
There is no good reason not to breastfeed your baby. But even breastfeeding may require you to buy or rent a breastpump and some bottles, especially if you?re working. At six months, solid food will be introduced. At age one the baby can already start on table food. Keeping away from junk food will help keep the costs low.

Care and Education
Considering the costs of sitters or daycare is also essential since a mother or the parents may want some time alone for themselves or work away from home. Decisions on the child?s education (private, public, homeschool) will also greatly affect the costs of education and required educational materials.

When you first look at all these things one must consider, it can be staggering and quite discouraging. But creative, resourceful and practical parents can do a lot to keep the costs low. Prospective parents should also consider that babies change priorities. Most parents are only too happy to skip a movie to watch their baby play instead. As early as during pregnancy parents also tend to develop healthier eating habits for the baby.

Count the possible costs if you must so you can better prepare. Forewarned is forearmed after all. Just know that the costs could never compare to the intangible rewards having a baby brings into a home.

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