How much does a baby cost per month? (2024)

Here's how much you'll spend on formula, diapers, childcare, healthcare, and other big baby costs.

How much does it cost to have a baby?

Raising a baby isn't cheap! (Check out our Baby Costs Calculator to see how it all adds up over the first year.)

On average, a child costs two-parent families in the U.S. between $9,300 and $23,380 every year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (That number is in 2015 dollars, the latest data available.) This wide range accounts for various factors such as income level, where you live, as well as the age of your child.

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Of course, the total cost you can expect to pay also depends on your lifestyle and how much money you choose to spend on necessary items such as housing and food. Certain expenses are out of your control, such as how much childcare costs in your area and the price of your family's health insurance plan (through an employer or otherwise). But there are some simple ways to cut costs; for instance, you may have family nearby who can help watch your child a few days a week, or you may be able to breastfeed to save money on formula.

It's definitely scary to think about having enough money to meet your baby's needs, but luckily, there are ways to make these costs more manageable. Planning ahead and setting a budget as new parents certainly helps; there are also resources available for those in a lower income bracket who need financial help for a new baby.

Cost of childbirth and healthcare

Cost: Giving birth in a hospital in the United States is expensive. The national average as of 2020 was $13,811 with employer-sponsored health insurance, or an average of $3,000 out of pocket for both a mom and her baby's hospital stays. Hospital bills could exceed $10,000 out of pocket if your baby spends time in the NICU.

The exact cost of childbirth is hard to quantify because expenses vary widely based primarily on whether or not you're insured, as well as what state you live in, how long you stay in the hospital, and the type of birth you have. C-sections are notoriously more expensive than vagin*l births, costing a national average of about $17,004 vs. $12,235, respectively. Check with your insurance carrier around your third trimester to get an idea of the approximate costs you can expect to pay out of pocket for your baby's birth.

Even with insurance, most pregnant women have to pay for healthcare costs associated with their prenatal care, such as insurance co-pays and deductibles. The labor and delivery itself is the biggest expense in pregnancy, as you (and your insurer) will need to pay for things like the practitioner and the actual hospital fees. The costs may be even higher if you're medically induced, if you have a complicated delivery, or if your baby needs to stay in the NICU.

If you don't have health insurance, having a baby could run you between $9,000 and $17,000 for a vagin*l birth or $14,000 to $25,000 for a C-section. Luckily though, many states make it easier for pregnant women to enroll in Medicaid or a state-sponsored health insurance program, through which all of your healthcare would be free or available at a very low cost.

Ways to save: If you're uninsured, look into health insurance options right away. Also, if your pregnancy isn't high risk, you can consider having a midwife rather than an ob-gyn deliver your baby. (Midwifery services are about $2,000 less than an obstetrician's fees, on average.) Before you go this route though, confirm that your insurance (if you're insured) covers midwifery services, as most but not all do. Also, if you're paying out-of-pocket, many hospitals and healthcare providers will work with you on a discounted package rate for your prenatal and labor and delivery services. And always double-check all bills and paperwork to make sure there are no errors or hidden, unexpected fees.

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Cost of formula per month

Cost: $400 to $800 is the average monthly cost for powdered formula for babies who are formula-fed exclusively. The cost will be lower if you supplement with breast milk and higher if you give your baby more expensive brands or ready-to-feed formula. Monthly formula costs could spike if your baby needs a special hypoallergenic formula or if there's a formula recall or shortage.

As your child gets older, formula costs will lessen as the amount of formula they'll need daily decreases, especially once you start introducing solid foods around six months of age. By 12 months old, your pediatrician will likely recommend that you switch your baby from formula to regular cow's milk, assuming your baby doesn't have any allergies or health concerns.

Ways to save: Breastfeed if you can. If you're not breastfeeding or are supplementing, use powdered formula, which costs less than ready-to-use or liquid concentrate. Though this may be difficult now due to the nationwide formula shortage, consider purchasing store brand or generic formulas, which meet the same federal nutrient requirements as brand-name formulas but are less expensive.

If you do buy brand-name formulas, sign up to receive coupons or become a rewards member to get discounts on the manufacturers' websites. After you're sure that your baby tolerates a particular formula well, buy it in bulk at warehouse stores or online. You can also ask moms you know or post in a local moms' group on social media to see if anyone is giving away or selling the formula your baby drinks for a discounted price; just make sure the cans or samples you get are unopened and not expired.

Cost of diapers per month

Cost: $70 to $80 per month for disposable diapers, averaging out to about 29 cents each. The cost will vary depending on the brand you use and where you purchase the diapers. Infants require up to 12 diapers a day for the first year and toddlers need about 8, which is a total of about 2,500 to 3,000 diapers a year.

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Ways to save: Try to purchase most of your baby's diapers at a "big box" chain store or warehouse store instead of a local convenience store, which is more likely to mark up prices. Buying diapers in bulk online is also a good way to save. Sign up at diaper manufacturers' websites to get coupons, and stock up when diapers are on sale. Alternatively, you may want to consider cloth diapers, which are gaining popularity with many budget-minded parents. They could save you about 27 percent a year vs. disposable diapers, plus there are a lot of cute and convenient cloth diapers on the market to choose from.

Cost of childcare per month

Cost: Varies according to which type of childcare you choose: daycare center, home daycare, relative care, nanny care, babysitter, or au pair. Childcare costs also fluctuate wildly based on where you live, how old your child is, and whether you need part-time or full-time childcare. The average monthly cost of daycare in the U.S. is around $850, while hiring a private nanny costs around $2,450 a month. You or your partner may choose to be a stay-at-home parent, in which case you may not require childcare. (But keep in mind this can impact your career and lifetime earnings potential.) Learn more about the pros and cons of all your childcare options.

Ways to save: For full-time care, consider asking a trusted relative or friend who may charge less than a traditional daycare center. Home daycares and nanny sharing with a neighbor or friend can also save cash. For occasional babysitting, trade time with another parent who's a neighbor or friend, or hire a responsible student. If possible, coordinate work schedules with your partner so you can each cover some of your child's care. Finally, consider enrolling in a flexible spending account for childcare expenses if your employer offers one – this means you can put your pre-tax money toward dependent care expenses.

Cost of baby gear

Cost: Varies according to which items you buy. Babies need a lot of stuff, but some items are must-haves, while others are nice-to-have extras. The basic baby gear you'll need during your baby's first year includes a crib (with mattress) or play yard, a stroller, a car seat, bottles and/or breastfeeding accessories, a baby bathtub, toiletries such as a hairbrush and first aid kit, and toys. As your baby gets older and more mobile, you'll also need safety gear such as babyproofing tools and safety gates, as well as a high chair and other feeding accessories like spoons and cups.

There are plenty of baby gear "add-ons" that are nice to have but not necessary – for instance a bottle warmer, a rocker or glider, a changing table, various baby carriers, and different large baby toys like a bouncer, activity center, and swing. (Of course, for some families these are essentials – the tricky part is knowing what you and your baby will love.)

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Ways to save: Create a baby registry so friends and family members can help with the big purchases. Start with the basics – a good car seat, stroller, and play yard with bassinet, for example – and wait to buy other things. You may be able to try out a friend's activity center or swing to see if your baby likes it before buying one. Although it's important to buy your car seat new, check for other items at garage sales and secondhand stores, on community websites, and used from friends and relatives.

Cost of baby clothes

Cost: $20 to $50 (or more) per month on average, depending on where (and how often) you shop. Throughout the first twelve months, babies outgrow clothing very quickly, so you'll be buying more clothes in infancy than when they're older. You'll also need to stock up on baby clothes for the first six weeks, especially comfy pajamas, onesies, and sleepers. To start off your baby's wardrobe, consider getting a few outfits in the 3-6 month and 6-9 month size ranges. There are endless amounts of baby clothes to choose from, but check out our list of the best baby clothing brands to help you narrow it down.

Ways to save: Many first-time parents find they receive enough gifts to keep their baby clothed for the first few months. After that, watch for store sales and online deals, and accept hand-me-downs from friends and relatives. Get gently used items from consignment stores, thrift shops, community websites, garage sales, and sites and apps that sell secondhand baby clothes. If your baby is in between sizes, consider buying clothes one size up so your child can grow into the items and wear them for longer. Finally, treat your baby's soiled clothes with stain remover and wash with a good baby detergent so they can be worn again (or handed down).

Cost of baby food

Cost: $98 to $230 per month after your baby starts solid food. Food costs about 18 percent of the total cost of raising a child, second only to housing. Your baby may eat a lot of the same food you eat, especially if you're introducing solid foods via baby-led weaning, but they'll probably still require some foods that are specific to babies and toddlers. Depending on your baby's age, some packaged foods you may choose to purchase include jarred fruits and vegetables, baby food pouches, teething crackers, and puffs.

Ways to save: If possible, make your own baby food. A hand blender is all you really need to whip up fruits, veggies, and other foods you serve your family into a consistency that's safe for babies. You can even freeze the extras to serve later on. For those times when you do buy prepared baby food, use coupons and buy in bulk, especially if the item is on sale. And if you don't mind, opt for non-organic products, which are less expensive but just as delicious.

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Cost of baby toys and books

Cost: $30 to $50 per month on average. Each household is different, but the average family spends about $580 on toys a year, or up to $6,000 before a child reaches their teenage years. Toys aren't a necessity, per se, but play is an important part of your baby's development. There are many games you can play with your baby – with and without toys – to help your little one learn about the world. Reading to your newborn is also an important part of development, and it can help lay the groundwork for vocabulary, reading, and comprehension skills.

Ways to save: Let your child play with safe household items; For example, whisks, containers, pots and pans, and hairbrushes are always a hit with little ones. Buy toys secondhand, borrow books from the library, ask friends for hand-me-downs, and consider setting up a toy and book exchange with friends or neighbors who have babies around the same age.

Some websites let you trade in toys, and you can use that money earned toward newer items. If you do buy brand-new toys, even if just for special occasions like birthdays or holidays, look for sales and manufacturers' coupons for brands you like. Also consider joining the loyalty program at your favorite retailer, or searching the toy section at discount stores.

How much does a baby cost per month? (2024)


How much should you budget for a baby per month? ›

It's also possible to save on some big-ticket items if you're lucky enough to have a baby shower, friends who've had babies and can lend you clothes, or parents or in-laws who want to chip in. Monthly, you could safely plan on spending between $250 (no child care) and $1500 (with child care) a month on your baby.

How much does having a kid cost a month? ›

How much does raising a child cost yearly? The $288,094 figure can seem incredibly intimidating — but remember, that cost is spread out over 18 years. Taking a rough average, that's around $16,005 per year — or approximately $1,334 per month.

How expensive on average is having a baby? ›

Giving birth costs $18,865 on average, including pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health System Tracker. Health insurance can cover most of that cost.

What is the average cost of formula per month? ›

Average cost of baby formula per month
Baby's ageFormula needed per day (fluid ounces, prepared)Average formula cost per month
2 months20 – 35$50 – $260
3 – 5 months20 – 40$50 – $300
6 – 8 months16 – 40$40 – $300
9 – 12 months16 – 32$40 – $240
2 more rows
Jan 31, 2024

What should my salary be to have a baby? ›

A: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's handy but terrifying Cost of Raising a Child Calculator told me the average two-parent household in the U.S. earning less than $61,530 a year spends $11,850 to raise a child in his or her first year. Such a big number might make you think having a baby is impossible financially.

How much money do you need to comfortably have a baby? ›

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that parents can expect to spend around $233,610 (or $284,570 including projected inflation) to raise a child born in 2015—and that doesn't include the cost of college. In short, if you're thinking of having a baby, it's a good idea to start financially preparing for a baby.

What age are kids most expensive? ›

The cost of raising a child by age

Under the 4% inflation scenario, annual expenditures on raising a child exceed $15,000 when they turn eight and raise over $20,000 a year when they turn 14. Parents are estimated to spend nearly $25,000 when their child is 17.

How much should you save per month for your child? ›

A good starting point when saving for your children is setting aside 3% to 5% of your net monthly income. Let's say your household income is $6,000 after taxes, this works out to $180 to $300 per month. It doesn't seem like a lot, but every little helps, and could sit neatly within your budget.

Why is having a baby so expensive? ›

The cost of diapers, formula, day care and more, all add up. Many expenses begin accumulating even before a baby is born. “Prenatal care and childbirth are very expensive,” says Jamie Daw, an associate professor of health policy and management at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

What month is the most expensive to have a baby? ›

Month 1 – The biggest baby expenses.

The first month of your baby's life may be the priciest, because it includes maternity care, the cost of delivery, postnatal care, and a hospital stay.

What is the cheapest way to have a baby? ›

How to Save Money When Having a Baby
  • Negotiate a Better Price.
  • Ask About Prenatal Procedures.
  • Save on Prescription Vitamins.
  • Plan Ahead If You're Having Twins.
  • Consider Birth Attendant Options.
  • Consider Where You Give Birth.
  • Ask About Procedures at Birth.
  • Use a Doula.
Jun 14, 2021

What is the most expensive part of having a baby? ›

One of the largest expenses for new parents can be the delivery—the cost of which depends on the location and health insurance policy. One-time costs often include travel, home needs, and nursing/feeding. Other things to consider include the cost of child care and savings plans.

How to financially have a baby? ›

6 Financial Planning Tips for New Parents
  1. Consider insurance—both life and disability. ...
  2. Increase your emergency fund. ...
  3. Take advantage of tax breaks. ...
  4. Start saving for college now. ...
  5. Prioritize retirement savings. ...
  6. Update your estate planning documents.

How much does a baby add to monthly expenses? ›

With $12,980 as our high mark, you're looking at an average of about $1,080 a month to raise a child, and babies come real close to this line without getting too far out of the bare necessities.

How much is a 1 month supply of baby formula? ›

Cost: $400 to $800 is the average monthly cost for powdered formula for babies who are formula-fed exclusively. The cost will be lower if you supplement with breast milk and higher if you give your baby more expensive brands or ready-to-feed formula.

How much money should I give my child a month? ›

A popular rule of thumb is to give $1 for every year of the child's age1 So, if your kids are 7 and 9, their pocket money would be $7 and $9 per week. This is method is simple and provides a basic guideline for parents.

How much should 1 person spend a month? ›

The average monthly expenses for one person can vary, but the average single person spends about $3,405 per month. Housing tends to consume the highest portion of monthly income, with the average annual spending on housing at $1,885 per month per person.

What is a realistic monthly budget? ›

Setting budget percentages

That rule suggests you should spend 50% of your after-tax pay on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings and paying off debt. While this may work for some, it's often better to start with a more detailed categorizing of expenses to get a better handle on your spending.

How much extra should I budget for a baby? ›

According to The Choosi Cost of Kids Report 2023, the average annual cost of raising kids is $12,823 per household. Couples we talked to who wanted to start a family believed they should have just over $31,000 saved before kids came along.

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