Producing an heir can be a costly affair

Angela Graham

Angela Graham

Ask any parent if they were financially ready when their child arrived and most will say no.

Financial preparedness before childbirth is a myth for most new moms and dads who eventually go ahead and have a child anyway.

The cost of giving birth in South Africa is about R20000 for a Caesarean section and R10000 for a vaginal birth at private hospitals. Government hospitals are free.

Private hospitals give patients free gifts and they have more of a hotel-like feel than their government counterparts.

It might be worthwhile for expectant moms to join a medical aid if they want to have the private hospital experience.

A medical aid will cost about R1000 for a private hospital plan. It's important for moms to check on timing of their pregnancy to ensure that they will be covered.

If a mom opts to have a doula at the birth, it will cost about R1700 said Natalie Guscott, an antenatal educator who offers this service.

"A doula is a companion in labour. We help make the birth gentle and special," she said.

The ultimate baby luxury has to be a night nurse, who helps to look after a newborn baby at night and gets the tot into a routine.

Once the baby is brought home the costs rise rapidly. New parents can easily part with R5000 just by acquiring the cot at R1000 to R2000 or more; the pram at about R300 to R3000 or more; and car seat at about R600.

It's cheaper to breast feed but for those who intend to bottle feed, places like Ackermans sell cheap bottles for about R20.

Nappies are a huge expense. Parents should budget on using about eight to 10 nappies a day initially, which will cost about R100 for 60 nappies. This works out to cost between R400 and R500 a month for disposable nappies.

As baby paraphernalia is so expensive, hand-me-downs and bargains from second-hand shops are always a good idea .

But whatever the cost, rest assured that once the little angel is conceived, parents will happily part with millions of rands to keep him happy and healthy.