Babies are expensive — especially the first time around.
There are all the basic necessities, like diapers and clothing and burp cloths (trust me, you need these).
There’s the added stuff that people tell you you’ll need but might not, like wipe warmers (skip these). And then there’s the cute stuff that you simply want to buy because your hormones are all over the place, and the only thing that could possibly ground you is to buy your baby another cute octopus-print outfit with matching hat.
Honestly, I’m glad I had no idea how costly this venture into parenthood would be beforehand. I never thought I would become a mother, so it wasn’t something that crossed my mind.
But I recently tallied every last expense from my first year of motherhood, and found that I spent nearly $7,000 over 12 months.
Now that I’ve been a mother for over five years, I can look back in awe at how we managed to survive that first year. But if you’re the sort who likes to be prepared, and you’re just starting out on your motherhood journey, here’s a detailed breakdown that can give you an idea of how much you might spend.
I spent almost $4,000 on daily necessities like diapers and clothing
Daily necessities are the things I considered absolutely, 100% necessary in our baby’s first year of life.
We opted to use disposable diapers because our son was in the NICU for the first two months of his life and we’d had enough stress in our lives.
In the same vein, we also chose to use a ready-to-feed formula (pre-mixed) versus a powdered formula to supplement my breastfeeding. Because of this, our formula costs were much higher than others might encounter.
We received a lot of clothing at our baby shower, but we still had to supplement with new clothing once he reached about four to five months of age. Remember it’s not just onesies, but also socks, pants, shorts, and those tiny mittens that prevent babies from clawing at themselves. We also sprung for some shoes when he got a bit older as he started walking just short of a year.
You won’t see baby food listed here because we were low-income at the time and our son’s solid foods (starting at six months) were provided by the WIC and SNAP programs. Generally speaking, you might spend about $50 to 60 a month from months six through 12 otherwise, for a total of $600 to 700.
Here’s a breakdown of what we spent on daily necessities:
Diapers — $750
Baby wipes — $240
Diaper cream — $120
Ready-to-feed formula — $1800
Clothing — $500
Medicine — $50
Baby vitamins (introduced later) — $40
Hand sanitizer — $40
Baby shampoo and body wash — $250
Diaper pail bags — $80
Baby laundry detergent — $120
Then we spent more than $2,000 on one-time expenditures like a crib and a car seat
Our baby stroller was a baby shower gift from my cousin, but would otherwise have cost us roughly $300.
We co-slept with our son his first year, initially with him in his bassinet, and later with him between our bed and his crib. In retrospect, I don’t even know if the crib wound up being very necessary, but it was nice for naps.
We also purchased one set of bottles and were gifted another. Keep in mind, some babies end up taking to certain types of bottles and it might be a trial and error situation.
We did not use any kind of baby monitor as we had four adults living in the household and our son was practically always accompanied by someone, but many parents opt to purchase these.
Here’s a breakdown of all our one-time expenditures:
Changing table — $80
Changing pad — $15
Travel changing pad — $10
Infant car seat — $170
Harness-to-booster car seat — $200
Diaper bag — $35
Baby grooming kit — $15
Baby first-aid kit — $12
Moby wrap — $45
Baby blankets (6-pack) — $35
Crib sheets (4 total) — $40
Waterproof crib mattress pad — $35
Waterproof mattress sheet (for bed-sharing) — $35
Jumperoo — $80
Baby swing — $100
Pack ‘n Play — $80
Bassinet — $100
Crib — $130
Crib mattress — $70
Baby food utensils — $20
High chair — $110
Bibs — $60
Burp cloths — $30
Baby bottle set — $75
Bottle warmer — $15
Bottle sterilizer — $50
Bottle brushes — $15
Nursing bras — $40
Electric breast pump — $100
Boppy nursing pillow — $30
Baby bath towels — $40
Baby bath tub — $30
Baby washcloths — $30
Diaper pail — $40
Humidifier — $40
Crib mobile — $50
Child-proofing supplies — $30
Pacifiers — $20
Baby walker — $40
And we spend about $850 on additional expenses like toys and books
Toys — $400
Books — $200
Baby-friendly outings — $200
First aid for recovering mom — $50
That brings the total estimate for my first year of motherhood to $6,992
Babies are expensive, but as any mom might tell you, the sweet snuggles make it more than worth it.
If you’re worried about the costs of motherhood, don’t feel completely overwhelmed by my estimate. For one, you might get more help than you expect from friends and family members. There are also plenty of helpful resources out there to help families who might be struggling (I mentioned some I used myself).
Furthermore, remember that you aren’t spending this full amount right off the bat. Buy only what you truly need to get started (and things you know you’ll always use, like diapers in a larger size since babies grow fast).
Most of all, enjoy that first year because like everyone will tell you, it really does go by quick.