10 expenses to consider when having a baby
The decision to have your first baby can be both exciting and daunting.
But the costs associated with being responsible for a small person can be overwhelming — especially if you are on a tight budget.
Here are some basic budget considerations for parents-to-be.
1. MEDICAL COSTS PRE- AND POST- BABY
Whether you’re on medical aid or not, you need to think about the cost of prenatal check-ups as these are important to monitor baby’s development. Clinics can offer lower priced or free services. You also need to think about vaccinations and checkups (for both mother and baby) once baby has arrived.
2. THE COST OF GIVING BIRTH
This cost depends on whether you have medical aid or not. If you do, go through the conditions with a fine tooth comb. Compare costs between a vaginal birth and a C-section. You’ll need to do thorough research so you’re not caught unawares by big hospital bills.
3. PRAM, STROLLER, BABY CARRIER, AND CAR SEAT
When shopping around for these items, look for long term value. You want something that you can use beyond baby’s first six months. However, some items are sensitive to baby’s size, so ask about safety before you jump to purchase.
4. COT, ROCKER, AND BED LINEN
If you’re planning for the baby to sleep independently from the get-go, then you need to budget for a good baby bed. There are also cots that can transform into baby beds. When shopping around, whether it’s for a rocker chair or a play mat, try to find something that is adequate for both the baby’s developmental stages and your budget.
5. BOTTLES AND DUMMIES
You will need feeding paraphernalia, from bottles to utensils to high chairs. The options are wide and varied, which can be overwhelming, so just outline your basics and work from there.
Some might argue that toys are unnecessary but they’re essential for baby’s development. You don’t need to buy an entire toy store, but you need to provide the little one with age-appropriate stimulation and keep it within your budget.
You can be smart about these and bulk buy before baby arrives. Staples such as soap, shampoo, and lotion can be bought in advance, and remember you’ll probably need to replace your nappy bag at least once during baby’s first 18 months.
8. NAPPIES AND RELATED COSTS
Disposable nappies are costly so you might want to opt for cloth nappies. You don’t have to go completely oldschool with those towel nappies and the “waterproofs” that come with them. Nowadays there are machine washable, leak-proof cloth nappies that are suitable from birth up to potty- training age. Don’t forget the baby wipes and baby bum creams!
If you decide to go the formula route, you’ll have to factor in the monthly costs. Formula prices range from R50 to R500 and you’ll go through several tins per month.
It’s tempting to go all out with the adorable clothing, but it’s important to note that your baby’s weight will double in the first six months. Avoid going overboard by sticking to the very basic needs and committing to more regular laundry days. While it’s tempting to have baby grows in every colour under the sun, baby may outgrow some of the clothes and only get to wear them once.
BONUS: Not everything needs to be bought brand new. Items like toys, car seats, cots, and clothes have been handed down in our families for generations. Get in touch with relatives whose babies have outgrown all their shiny new stuff, or look for secondhand items online.
This article first appeared in the March 2020 print edition of S Mag. The Sowetan’s quarterly lifestyle magazine.