How Much Does It Usually Cost to Raise a Child?

Have you been debating whether or not you can afford a child? Even though it can be a great experience, raising children has a lot of expenses. You’ll incur various costs as a new parent, from supplies like bottles and diapers to furniture like a stroller and car seat.

Find out how much a baby will cost in its first year of life as well as what raising a child typically costs.

Main Points

A baby’s first year of life is largely funded by hospital bills from childbirth or adoption fees as well as nursery furniture.

Food, diapers, child care, and possibly savings contributions for a college plan are examples of ongoing expenses.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, raising a child will cost more than $16,000 on average each year in 2021. (adjusted for inflation).

One-Time Costs for the First Year of the Baby’s Life

There are a lot of unanswered questions when you have your first child. You could be worried about what you need to buy and how much having children will ultimately cost, among other things.

Depending on the child’s age and your household’s income, the average annual cost of parenting a child varies greatly.

Higher-income households typically spend a lot more money.

The key charges you need to be aware of as potential supplemental costs for the first year are listed below.

Home and Nursery Setup

Setting up a space and purchasing all the necessary items are all part of getting ready for a baby. Here is a list of some necessities for babies along with an estimation of their cost:

Item Average Cost
Crib $120 to $1,000
Crib mattress $40 to $400
Dresser $80 to $500
Electric breast pump $100 to $500
Nursery rocking chair $100 to $800
Stroller $45 to $1,300
Bassinet/cradle $70 to $260
Infant car seat $50 to $500
Changing table and pad $60 to $500
Baby gates $15 to $200
Play yard $50 to $300
High chair $40 to $400
Baby swing $55 to $270
Front carrier $30 to $180
Nursing bras (3) About $75
Crib bedding $40 to $600
Bottles $10 to $90
Activity center $40 to $130
Bouncer seat $30 to $350
Baby monitor $20 to $400
Diaper bag $25 to $200
Mobile $20 to $60
Humidifier $15 to $250
Nursing pillow $35 to $50
Hamper $20 to $60
Lamp for nursery $10 to $70
Diaper pail $20 to $80
Baby bath $20 to $40
Pacifier $3 to $15

Depending on how you purchase, getting everything set up can easily cost a couple thousand dollars. Remember that not all of these things are required. For instance, an electric breast pump can be used instead of a manual one, which is significantly less expensive. If you are feeding your baby formula, you might not even need a breast pump.

You might locate used goods for less money. Many of these things can also be obtained for no cost from friends or family members who no longer require them, or they can be given to you as presents.

Higher-end, designer things might be found for more money if you have a bigger budget. The prices of many upscale baby products far exceed the aforementioned typical values.

Costs of Having a Baby

If you are a biological parent expecting a kid, the hospital expenditures associated with the birth itself may be rather expensive. According to Fair Health Consumer data from 2016–2017, the average national cost of a vaginal child delivery was $12,290, while a C–section cost $16,907.4


The costs you will incur will be greatly influenced by the location of the delivery, your insurance plan, and the particular services you require.

Consult your doctor, the hospital where you will give birth, and your health insurance company for the most precise estimate for your particular situation. Using trustworthy internet calculators like the one from Fair Health, you may also determine the price of a birthing operation. For instance, the projected cost of a natural birth in Boise, Idaho, is $7,149; however, insurance will likely cover $3,684 of that cost if your doctor is in-network.

The adoption procedure typically entails hefty expenses for adoptive parents. Depending on whether the adoption is being done independently or through an agency, for instance, these expenses can vary greatly. While adopting a kid in foster care typically costs very little to nothing, adoption costs for children from other countries can range from $5,000 to $40,000. 6

FMLA Expenses

Qualifying employees may take up to 12 weeks leave from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in order to give birth to and care for a newborn child.

7 When you return after the 12-week term, you are guaranteed your work and group health benefits under this statute.

However, you can experience an income loss if your employer doesn’t offer paid leave or if you don’t have paid time off (PTO). Your earnings determine the precise amount of the income loss.

Additional insurance policies can help with medical expenses as well as covering your pay while on leave for a family emergency.

Continuous Costs

It will be a frenzy of learning, excitement, and maybe a little weariness after your baby is at home with you—along with increased expenses. You can anticipate the following additional continuing costs:

  • Food: According to the USDA, it will cost around $1,810 to feed a child for the first year on a moderate-priced plan, or $150.80 per month.If you are nursing, this will probably be less.
  • The National Diaper Bank Network estimates that infants require up to 12 diapers per day, costing $75 per month or $900 throughout the first year.
  • Baby clothes: Onesies soon become too small for newborns. You’ll probably move through multiple sizes in the first year, which means you’ll need to buy new clothing. In the first year, new parents typically spend $50 a month on clothes for their developing children. 9 However, based on your preferences and spending power, that sum might be considerably higher.
  • Health: Make sure your infant is covered by your health insurance plan during their first year because they need to undergo frequent checks. The typical copay ranges from $10 to $30. However, seven visits in the first year without insurance can cost an average of $668.
  • Child care: Do you require the assistance of a nanny or daycare center? A survey by the Center for American Progress found that the average monthly cost of infant care at daycare facilities is $1,230. Infant care is more expensive than care for toddlers and older kids because it requires more hands-on attention. In 2021, a nanny will cost an average of $15.30 per hour, or $612 per week and $2,448 per month.
  • Toys/books/media: You might wish to spend money on activities to keep your kid engaged. Depending on your tastes and spending capacity, these have a wide range of prices.

Costs That Persisted Throughout Childhood

Many of the same expenditures will persist after the first year, in addition to a few new ones. The most recent USDA statistics from 2015 shows that the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 was $233,610, or around $272,890 in 2021. (factoring in inflation). 13 Expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, clothing, health care, child care, education, and other purchases total roughly $16,058 each year.

You might wish to think about life insurance when you have children. In this manner, your child will have the resources to meet their ongoing needs in the event that something were to happen to you or your spouse.

One-Time Costs in Later Life

Along with all the regular costs of raising children, there are a few other costs you could encounter that are expensive. Purchasing a car for your child or assisting with college costs are two examples. Even if you won’t have to deal with these costs until their late teens or later, you can start saving now so that things will be simpler to manage.

A tax-advantaged investment account, such as a 529 plan, can assist you in saving money tax-free for education. You can later use that money for all costs associated with attending college.

How to Lower Baby’s Upbringing Costs

The addition of a new bundle of joy will alter your budget. You can do the following to cut costs:

  • Examine your health insurance policy. Speak with an insurance agent to make sure you have coverage for pregnancy and, if necessary, postpartum care. Review your expenses and try to reduce them.
    Sign up to get baby shower gifts: Before your baby shower, register for the necessities so that loved ones can contribute to the one-time costs.
  • Purchase used stuff from friends and relatives, at yard sales, on Facebook Marketplace, and other used-item sources. Because babies go through developmental phases so quickly, you can frequently find gently worn things at low discounts.
  • You can save a lot of money if you can limit the amount of child care you need. Child care is one of the most expensive expenses. One parent may cease working or work from home, for instance, or family members could provide cheaper childcare assistance.
  • Obtain child tax credits: Achieve the child tax credits to which you are entitled. The new credit provides up to $3,000 for those aged 6 to 17 and $3,600 for children under the age of 6.
  • Plan your meals in advance, shop at bargain grocers, and minimize eating out to save money. Food can consume a significant portion of your budget.
  • Shop at discount clothing stores: As your child develops, think about buying them the clothes they require in discount shops where you can find name brands at reduced prices.
    Use tax-advantaged savings accounts, such as the 529 plan and Roth IRA, to reduce your tax burden.

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