Having a baby is very exciting, but it can also be daunting. If it’s your first child, you probably have lots of questions about how your new bundle of joy will change your life, like when your baby will sleep through the night or even what things babies need. This guide will help you understand what to expect when your newborn baby arrives, costs associated with your baby, and finally some thrifty and savings tips.
It’s estimated that the cost of raising a child through age 17 is $233,610 — and that’s not even counting the cost of college!
While there are a wide variety of factors that will impact how much you spend on your newborn during their first months, some studies show that it costs $20,000 to 50,000 to guide your child through their first year of life. A good portion of that cost is giving birth. The average cost of having a baby in the United States is $10,808 — more than it costs for royals to deliver a baby at the famed Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in London!
Actual costs can vary depending on what parents decide are the necessary things you need for a baby, but these are some of the expenses you can expect in the first year:
In addition to the one-time costs you will experience with a newborn, these are some of the monthly costs you may incur in the first year:
While hospital costs associated with having a baby will vary based on insurance, it’s no secret that giving birth is expensive. The average U.S. mother with insurance will pay more than $4,500 for labor and delivery out of pocket. Without insurance, these costs are astronomically higher. Women with high-risk pregnancies may face increased costs if additional ultrasounds or weeks-long stays at a hospital’s NICU for a premature delivery are needed.
Some of the common costs new mothers can expect to face after delivery are:
There are also postnatal visits for new mothers to make sure they are healing and adapting properly after delivery.
There is one thing you can count on when having a baby – you will be changing a lot of diapers. Whether you decide to use cloth diapers or disposable diapers, in the first few weeks, a newborn baby goes through about ten diapers a day!
Before starting a diaper change, gather everything you may need, including a clean diaper, wipes, and diaper cream. Keep one hand on the baby at all times for safety. Unfasten the diaper and clean the diaper area with a clean wipe from front to back. Make sure to place the dirty diaper out of reach. Slide a clean diaper underneath baby, apply diaper cream if needed, and fasten the diaper.
If you are using cloth diapers, place used baby wipes in a plastic-lined trash bin or place cloth wipes in a diaper pail. If the child has defecated, discard it in the toilet and place the dirty diaper in a diaper pail. For disposable diapers, place used baby wipes inside the diaper and dispose in a plastic-lined trash bin.
With so many diaper changes, the cost of diapers can really add up, with the National Diaper Bank estimating that you’ll spend an average of $70–80 per month, or $840–960 in the first year. That’s not including the cost of baby wipes, which could cost an average of $10 or more per month!
One option to save money on diapers is to look into cloth diapers. They are reusable, meaning they’ll have a higher up-front cost but will last much longer. Parents can expect to spend about $800–1,000 on cloth diapers in the first two years of a child’s life. Cloth diapers also reduce landfill waste since they can be cleaned and used again, making them an environmentally friendly option.
Newborn babies only need a bath one to three times a week and can only have sponge baths until the umbilical cord stump heals (about one to four weeks after birth). It can be nerve-wracking at first, but new parents will quickly get the hang of it. The safest place to bathe a newborn is in a baby bath tub until they are able to sit up unassisted. Bath time has many benefits for both baby and parents, including bonding, learning, and getting little ones in the right mood for sleep.
Chances are good that if you’ve decided to have a baby, you know that sleep patterns in the first few months can be unpredictable and it’s hard to know what to expect with a newborn. While newborns sleep 14 to 17 hours a day, they have very small stomachs and typically need to feed every 2 to 3 hours. Newborn babies have no set schedule, and they often confuse their days and nights as they adjust to life in the outside world.
Your baby may be ready for sleep if you notice any of these signs:
Baby sleep patterns at the infant stage change monthly as babies grow and develop. The following is a guideline of how much sleep you can expect your baby to get:
You may be wondering when your newborn will finally sleep through the night. Most babies don’t sleep through the night (considered to be a stretch of 6–8 hours) until they are about 3 months old or weigh about 12 pounds.
To make newborn care even more complex, babies often go through several sleep regressions. This means that a baby who is sleeping well may all of sudden have trouble getting to sleep or wake up crying. These sleep regressions are usually triggered by developmental milestones, teething, disruptions in routine, or growth spurts. Common sleep regressions occur at 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, and 12 months. While these can be frustrating for both baby and parents, they are typically only temporary.
Since babies sleep so much, it’s important to purchase everything you’ll need to ensure a safe and comfortable sleep environment for your child. Safe sleep spaces should be free of obstructions and things that could get in the way of a baby’s breathing.
These are some of the estimated costs associated with sleeping you can expect:
It’s exciting to watch babies learn and grow, and parents look forward to each new milestone. Many new parents have questions like, “When do babies start to crawl?” This guide will help parents understand when they can expect their children to meet developmental milestones. According to the CDC, babies should meet these milestones within their first year:
There are certain baby products that are meant to assist in fostering development. Many parents choose to purchase these toys and activities in order to give their child stimulation and exercise.
These are some of the toys and products new parents may buy for their baby to promote developmental growth along with estimated costs:
Buying gently used items from online reselling websites, local thrift shops, or garage sales can be a good way to get baby gear at a low cost.
Having a baby can trigger a variety of strong emotions. Two emotions that may be unexpected are depression and anxiety. While most new moms experience fluctuating hormones and many experience the “baby blues” for the first few days after childbirth, postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum anxiety (PPA) are more severe and long-lasting. PPD and PPA are nothing to be ashamed of, and experiencing any form of depression or anxiety after childbirth does not mean that a new mom is weak or won’t be a good parent.
Some symptoms of postpartum depression include:
It’s important for new moms who think they may be experiencing PPD or PPA to seek help from a health-care professional. Call your doctor if your symptoms are getting worse or are interfering with your ability to care for your child. Seek immediate help from family or call 911 if you are thinking about harming yourself or your baby. The U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255 or via online chat at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.
Thankfully, there are many online resources to help parents save money and safely navigate the newborn stage.
The following companies offer free samples and coupons for baby products like formula, diapers, wipes, bibs, and more:
These websites are great for finding new or gently used baby gear:
Find your tribe and learn about the ins and outs of parenting on these websites:
Bringing a child into this world can be an overwhelming endeavor; this new chapter of your life can feel like taking a plunge into the unknown. All parents know the feeling of balancing that nervous excitement and not truly knowing what's to come. Hopefully, this guide will help make the transition to parenthood easier and even more exciting!