Baby Expenses & When am I ready? PT. 1
Recently a follower, Andrew, posed the old one-two punch of all baby questions out there.
"How much do newborns cost (expenses)?"
"When to know when you are ready to have one?"
Both are very good questions and both weigh heavily on a guy's mind. I know they did for me and I am sure I can speak for a lot of us dads out there that those two particular questions weighed heavily on your minds as well.
Well Andrew, since both are HUGE questions in the dad-ing world, I am going to make a separate post on each topic. I think each question has a certain level of value that I don't want to take away from either question by lumping them into the same post. So I am going to start with the costs and expenses of babies: Newborns and the first year to give you a well-rounded answer (estimate). Then I will tackle the question of knowing if someone is ready to be a dad. We shall make this my first two-part series.
Baby expenses: Variables
To preface the context of this post, I want to make it abundantly clear for new dads that baby expenses are variable. The cost for my family, may not necessarily be the cost for yours. All babies are different, not all deliveries are routine and unfortunately, there are medical textbooks full of things that can happen during pregnancy and at birth.
Variables include (list not exhaustive):
Infant / Child CPR
Dad-to-Be type classes
Required reading (see my previous post on that one)
Medical insurance - Copays -deductibles - Etc. (or the lack thereof)
OB appointments for mom's-to-be throughout pregnancy
Individual Hospital - Hospitals all have their own rates/fees / etc.
Things that happen during the hospital stay itself such as:
-Procedures performed, emergencies experienced, specialists needed, length of stay, type of delivery, continuing medical treatment, extended hospitalization, and NICU (Neonatal - Intensive Care Unit) costs.
Post-Partum depression treatment (if needed) for mom
On-going baby checkups
Food & Formula
Diapers & Wipes
Medicine (If needed)
Baby Furniture (Cribs, Bassenettes, Changing tables, High Chairs)
Child Care (Babysitting, Day Care, ETC.)
Again, this isn't necessarily an exhaustive list, but it paints a pretty decent picture. So let's do some math.
Let's start from the beginning. Assuming your girl has insurance and goes to all of the necessary ob appointments and doesn't have any pregnancy complications that require further or more in-depth treatment.
The average ob likes to see the patient(s) at least once a month (every 4 weeks) for the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. So that around 7 appointments, depending on when she discovers she is pregnant. From weeks 28-36, the ob likes to see the patients every 2 weeks, so that's about 4 visits during that time. Finally, in weeks 36 through birth the ob will see the patient once a week. Let's say that the pregnancy goes full term to 40 weeks, so that's another 4 weeks.
Now let's estimate that the woman's co-pay is $25 a visit, so A= total appointments x B = Copay (AxB= Dr. Visit Expense or 15 x 25 = $375). So just for the OB appointments leading up to birth, we are looking at $375 (minus bloodwork and the other pregnancy-related testing that takes place). So let's just make it a $500 estimate to include those other fees. Now let's say that during pregnancy your girl wants 3D ultrasounds, but is not picked up by insurance. That ranges from $200-$500, depending on where she does.
So in total, up to birth, you are looking at approximately $500 ($700 - $1000 with fancy baby imaging). We'll keep the number at $500, for now, to make things more simple in the long run.
Now, we get to birth and the hospital fees. Again, all of this plays into your girl's insurance and what is / what isn't covered, deductible's and whatnot. I'm not even going to guess at how those numbers are figured up, but for the purposes of this post, we will say that your girl has a $2500 deductible for which she is responsible. The national average of standard delivery, through the normal womanly plumbing, costs between $4500 - $10500 (again, dependent on hospital, region, etc).
Back to that deductible, depending on how insurance is billed (way beyond my intelligence and knowledge), we'll just say she is stuck with that $2500 deductible (it might actually end up much cheaper than that because she has already utilized her insurance throughout the course of her pregnancy).
So lets add pregnancy costs + birthing costs to equal the total cost so far. $500 + $2500 = $3000 so far (just to reiterate, this is an estimate as I don't fully understand insurance billing).
Guess, what, now that you have your kiddo, they go to the pediatrician roughly 8-10 times their first year. So we are back to the co-pay of $25 each visit. $25 x 10 = $250
Total for Pregnancy, Delivery, Post-Delivery Check-ups: $3250
Still with me? Good! There's more and the price goes up!
Breast Feeding Supplies:
Total Estimate: $400 (National Average)
Bedding / Blankets
Rocking Chair / Glider
Total Estimate: $1800 (National Average)
Bottles and Nipples
Cups / Sippy Cups
Total Estimate: $400 (National Average)
Brush / Comb
Shampoo / Baby wash
Total Estimate: $120 (National Average)
Car Seat (X2)
Total Estimate: $750 (National Average)
Total Estimate: $1000 (National Average)
Total Estimate: $1500 - $1800 (National Average)(Depending on what kind baby tolerates).
Total Estimate: $300 - $600 (National Average)(Depending on growth rate)
Andrew if you have made it this far, you are getting a pretty good inside look at the cost of a baby's first year, from pregnancy, birth, and baby's first year. Keep in mind that most of these numbers are variable and not necessarily an accurate portrayal. The total cost could go up or it could be lower.
From my math and the numbers I have listed above, the grand total is $10,120. This is a barebones estimate. Keep in mind that it could be closer to $20,000+ based on the variables like child care. The cost of reputable child care is very expensive, even for a day or two a week.
Obviously, my lists of expenses aren't exhaustive and really dependent on each individual family, but what it does reflect is the fact that the costs and expenses really do add up quickly. Also, keep in mind that there are things along the way that can help you such as baby showers and events like that. Those types are events are set up for new parents because everyone knows what it costs. You set yourself up a good baby shower and you can hopefully see that a few of the boxes are checked off for you.
I hope this post at least shed some light on part of the topic you had asked about. Be on the lookout for Part 2 of this series on "When do I know I'm ready?" That should be coming in a few days.