Having a Baby? Watch Out For These 9 Hidden Costs

Many people dream of having children of their own. However, the milestone of parenthood is a long-term expense that catches many new moms and dads off-guard. Preparing for and raising a newborn can be especially costly.

While we definitely won’t discourage you from expanding your family, we do recommend being prepared! Consider these nine baby costs before your bundle of joy arrives.

1. Fertility Treatments

While many parents-to-be hope for pregnancies without assistance, many others rely on fertility treatments to conceive. These processes not only help couples with fertility issues, but they can also help same-sex couples and single parents who want to become pregnant on their own. A doctor who specializes in fertility can help recommend what treatment plan is best for you, but be prepared for the hefty price tag and the varying rates of success. What to Expect provides the following cost estimates for these top fertility treatments:

  • Artificial insemination and intrauterine insemination: $300-$1,000
  • In vitro fertilization: $15,000-$25,000
  • Surrogacy: $100,000+ (including medical costs and legal fees)
  • Freezing eggs: $9,000-$20,000, plus an additional $500 to $1,000+ in yearly storage fees
  • Fertility Drugs: ~$900

2. Adoption

Depending on the adoption process you go with and the country you adopt in, you could pay anywhere between $0 and $50,000. U.S. News gives the following estimates:

  • Domestic adoption through an agency (U.S.): $20,000-$45,000
  • Independent adoption (U.S.): $15,000-$40,000
  • International Adoption: $20,000-$50,000, plus travel and lodging costs

The costs of adopting from foster care are typically covered by the state, making this process essentially free. However, since foster care aims to reunite children with their families, chances of being able to adopt an infant are low.  

3. Prenatal Care

If you’re planning on carrying and delivering a child, your health is just as important as your new baby’s. Prenatal visits with your obstetrician can add up quickly. With most moms visiting seven to 12 times at $90-$500+ an appointment, you could be paying $6,000 or more out-of-pocket without insurance. 

Fortunately, new moms can find free and low-cost prenatal care in several places, including their local health department, community health centers and Planned Parenthood. Additionally, pregnancy, maternity and newborn care are essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, so it’s worth it to get insurance if you’re expecting. 

4. Delivery

The cost of your baby’s delivery can vary depending on the type of birth that occurs, where your baby is born and whether or not there are any pregnancy complications. In most states, the average cost of a vaginal delivery at a hospital without complications lands somewhere between $5,000 and $11,000. The cost of a C-section without complications is typically between $7,500 and $14,500. 

If you choose to go to a birthing center, prenatal care and delivery can range between $3,000 and $4,000 depending on your location. At-home births aren’t much more affordable, either — costs can easily add up to $3,000 to $9,000.

5. Childcare 

Childcare prices can also vary greatly depending on where you live and the type you choose. Care.com reported these 2020 national averages of weekly childcare costs for one child:

  • Nanny: $612
  • Child care center: $340
  • Family care center: $244

If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or family member who offers to help with childcare, don’t assume it will be free. Communicate clearly about financial expectations, and be prepared to pitch in for extra supplies and your child’s share of the grocery bill.  

6. Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding

Whether you choose to breastfeed, use formula or use a combination of the two, there will be some feeding expenses along the way.


Starter sets, which typically include multiple bottles, nipples and accessories, can range between $30-$110. However, each baby reacts to bottles differently, and you may find yourself purchasing different types of nipples and bottles if your child has trouble with a particular style or brand.


A mother’s milk supply is technically free, but breastfeeding costs can include meeting with a lactation consultant ($200 to $350 per session) and purchasing supplies like nursing pillows ($25-$50) and breast pumps (up to $300). 

Formula Feeding

If relying on formula exclusively, U.S. families can expect to spend $3-$6 a day, or $1,200-$2,000 a year per child.

7. Baby Gear

Many expecting parents are gifted new and used baby gear, like toys, clothing, feeding supplies and furniture. Being showered with these supplies can help new parents save on major up-front expenses. However, even if you’re fortunate enough to receive hand-me-downs and baby shower presents, you may still have items on your list that you’ll need to foot the bill for.

Baby Center provides the following price ranges for these necessities:

  • Car seat: $50-$500
  • Basic stroller: $45-$1,300
  • Baby monitor: $20-$400
  • Baby carrier (Sling, wrap or front carrier): $25-$200
  • Swing: $55-$270
  • High chair: $40-$400
  • Changing Table: $60-$500
  • Crib: $120-$1,000

8. Diapers

Babies go through diapers incredibly quickly! Healthline estimates that the average family will spend about $1,000 on disposable diapers and changing supplies in their child’s first year. 

If you choose to go the cloth diaper route, you’ll pay somewhere between $500 and $800 upfront for a stockpile of reusables. While this option may feel like a cost-saver, you’ll also need to invest in a diaper cleaning service and/or special accessories to help with the extra laundry and clean-up.

9. Home and Lifestyle Adjustments

Many costs associated with having a baby are easy to estimate, but others are a bit harder to put a price tag on. It’s a good idea to look at all aspects of your life and consider what changes may need to be made in order to support a child. 

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few good questions to get started: 

  • What is my current income? What is my co-parent’s current income? Are our current benefits enough to support a new child?
  • Will I lose income if I go on parental leave? How much time can I afford to take off from work?
  • If I’m co-parenting, can we afford to put our child in daycare when we both go back to work? Would going part-time or not working temporarily in order to care for my child be more cost-effective?
  • Are my current living arrangements and transportation methods enough, or do I need to invest in a larger home or a new vehicle for my child?
  • Can I budget for higher utility and grocery bills to support the needs of my new baby?

Financially Savvy Kids and Parents

Smart money moves aren’t only for Mom and Dad! You can start your child’s financial education early and help them grow up to be fiscally responsible adults. Read more from Top Dollar:

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