The Cost of Having a Baby (2021 Case Study)


As a brand-new first-time parent, you’ll go through a phase where your mail is made up of 1-part bills and 1-part gifts and congratulations, but you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised that the bills are less than you anticipated.

I mean — A BABY!!!

But just because no price is too high when it comes to protecting and providing for your precious new baby doesn’t mean that having an idea of what to expect in out-of-pocket expenses isn’t helpful.

How else will you know when to start saving and how much to set aside in preparation for the arrival of the precious little one that will change your life forever?

To state the obvious, this article doesn’t intend to cover every conceivable expense involved in bearing and raising a child. There are too many variables to make that practical.

But what it does aim to provide is a thorough look at a real-world scenario.

You’ll see areas where you would likely spend more or less—on things like maternity clothing for example—but the detailed breakdown of costs should hopefully be more helpful (and promising) by providing an idea of what the expenses were and when they were incurred.

This family didn’t need to come up with $10,000 overnight.

Fingers crossed, let’s dive right in, starting with a couple of notes:

  1. Prices will naturally vary greatly from parent to parent and from state to state. This couple had insurance—and we’ve detailed what that saved them. If your current employer doesn’t offer it, you have the option of signing up for a plan of your own independent of your employer.
  2. Sales tax is not included in the price paid for diapers, formula, and other consumables.
  3. All costs were current as of the purchase date listed.
  4. The type of prenatal vitamins taken, the frequency of doctor visits and check-ups, baby formulas used, and other “health” snippets here are provided only as reference points for the costs associated with them and not as personal advice. Please consult your OB/GYN and/or pediatrician.

Snapshot Summary of the Costs Involved in Having a Baby

I. Baby Cost Breakdown:

01. Cost of Prenatal Vitamins & Prep$374.96
02. Cost of Mom’s Prenatal Dr. Visits$819.99
03. Cost of Mom’s Health Insurance Premiums$2,272.47
04. Cost of Throwing a Baby Shower$1,102.29
05. Cost Savings of a Baby Registry$2,308.55
06. Cost of Hospital Baby Delivery$2,477.23
07. Cost of What Mom Needed to Nurse and Recover After Delivering$518.27
08. Cost of Baby Formula for a Mother Who is Primarily Breastfeeding$229.44
09. Cost of Bottled Water for Baby Formula$79.01
10. Cost of Diapers$257.72
11. Cost of Baby Wipes$54.79
12. Cost of Baby Clothing & Baby Items$220.39
13. Cost of Baby’s Pediatrician Visits$532.00
14. Cost of Books & Classes on Pregnancy$476.36

II. Total Cost of Having a Baby [Pregnancy to Childbirth]:


[From getting pregnant to giving birth; with insurance.]

III. Total Cost, Pregnancy to 2-Month-Old:


[From getting pregnant to 2 months into parenthood.]

This sets the WEEKLY “Cost of Caring for a Newborn” at about $175/week. And the MONTHLY “Cost of Caring for a Newborn” somewhere around $687/month.

Deep Dive into the Cost of Having a Baby (2020 – 2021)


01. Cost of Prenatal Vitamins & Prenatal Prep:


2020Clearblue Pregnancy Test
01-Jun-2020Zahler Prenatal DHA Vitamins
01-Jun-2020Collagen Peptides Powder
01-Jun-2020Nutrivein Liposomal Vit C 1600mg
09-Jun-2020Biotics Research Optimal EFAs
02-Jul-2020Zahler Prenatal DHA Vitamins
03-Aug-2020Zahler Prenatal DHA Vitamins
07-Sep-2020Zahler Prenatal DHA Vitamins
20-Sep-2020Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
20-Sep-2020Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 5000
14-Oct-2020Maternity Pantyhose
14-Oct-2020High Waist Yoga Pants
10-Dec-2020Zahler Prenatal DHA Vitamins

02. Cost of Mom’s Prenatal Doctor Visits:


DateServiceInsurance Paid*Cost to Patient
Jul-2020Dr. visit; routine$375.00$0.00
Jul-2020Labs [NTRA]$3,885.00$15.00
Oct-2020Labs / Immunology$2,201.36$307.48
Dec-2020Dr. visit; routine$161.98$24.99
Jan-2021Lab/Urology [AHG]$822.39$341.38
Dec-2020Radiology [GDMD]$631.00$30.00
Dec-2020Labs [Quest]$157.91$4.07
Jan-2021Radiology [AHG]$97.00$15.00
[ * See chart below for mom’s insurance premiums throughout the year.]


03. Cost of Mom’s Health Insurance Premiums:


DateItemMom’s Cost of InsuranceCompany Contributions
Yr 2020Blue Shield$1,240.40$3,721.44
YTD 2021Blue Shield$1,032.07$316.18

04. Cost of Throwing A Baby Shower:


Aug-2020Baby shower invites; gold foil$199.85Minted
Aug-2020Postage, baby shower invites$32.00USPS
Sep-2020Baby shower game items$23.90Amazon
Sep-2020Plates & Napkins$47.96Amazon
Sep-2020Decorations, gift baskets, bags.$118.00Micheals
Sep-2020Balloons, deco, favors, candy, cups.$314.00Party City
Sep-2020Party favor stickers$8.85Amazon
Oct-2020Welcome signage$43.49Staples (Print, Mount)
Oct-2020Welcome signage H-bracket$2.24Home Depot
Oct-2020Food & Beverage$312.00Friend of the host

05. Cost of Baby Registry

– $2,308.55

Because each of the items in this category represents a savings of some kind and are what the parents would otherwise have to have bought for themselves, these are all credits (money saved), not deductions (money spent).

And that’s something to factor in when you consider a “minimalist baby registry” — consider aiming for a registry that sets you up nicely and at the same time allows for all of your friends and family members to be a part of your big day.

Baby Register CategoryCost of All Items in Registry Category
Baby Gear$315.38
Baby Transport & Travel$330.89
Baby Clothes & Accessories$279.24
Feeding Baby$351.86
Bathing Baby$105.10
Diapers & Changing$275.16
Nursery & Decor$553.01
Baby Health & Safety$97.91

A full breakdown of these categories and a “Needed-Rating” of each item is included at the end of this article.


06. Cost of Delivering Baby at a Hospital (CA):


[Note: Some items in this section are pending verification or action from insurance providers.]

Item [Reference; ignore]Cost Covered by InsuranceAmount Patient Paid
“Healthcare Services”$954.00
Neonatal Care [NHG281]$4,765.00 (pending)$350.00 (pending)
Anesthesiologist [CAMOP]$1,774.50$80.68
Cesarean Delivery [OBHG]$425.40$21.60
Non-Covered Charges [GPA]$7.26
Pain medication$62.25$2.89

07. Cost of What Mom Needed to Nurse & Recover After Delivering:


Jan-2021Vitamin C; CALM powder $37.48
Jan-2021Nursing Maternity Bras (x3)$29.99
Jan-20213-in-1 Postpartum Belly Wrap$23.95
Jan-2021Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream$9.99
Jan-2021Medela Breast Pump$199.99
Jan-2021Milk Storage Bags$10.99
Jan-2021Always® Pads / Liners$5.99
Feb-2021Pink Stork Recovery Bundle: Postpartum Prenatal Vitamins$49.99
Feb-2021Heating Pad (for milk flow)$24.99
Feb-2021High-Waisted Underwear$24.99
Mar-2021Vitamin C 2000mg$14.97
Mar-2021Boppy Nursing Pillow$39.99
Mar-2021COMFORTS® Nursing Bra Pads$5.99
Apr-2021Zahler Prenatal Vitamins$38.97

08. Cost of Baby Formula for a Mother Who is Primarily Breastfeeding:


27-Jan-2021Similac Pro, Non-GMO$59.95
31-Jan-2021 Dr. Brown’s Baby Bottles$19.99
01-Feb-2021Pure Bliss by Similac$23.98
02-Feb-2021Enfamil Neuropro$16.58
19-Feb-2021Organic Hulled Barley$27.99
04-Mar-2021Up&Up Baby Formula Powder$19.99
17-Mar-2021Up&Up Baby Formula Powder$19.99
21-Mar-2021COMFORTS® Gas Relief Drops$5.99
30-Mar-2021Up&Up Baby Formula Powder$34.98

09. Cost of Bottled Water for Baby Formula:


31-Jan-2021Bottled water$18.37
06-Mar-2021Distilled water, (x32) 3 cases$20.50
20-Mar-2021Distilled water, (x32) 2 cases$16.95
29-Mar-2021Bottled water$5.39
02-Apr-2021Bottled water$17.80

10. Cost of Diapers:


Oct-2020Baby Shower Diaper Raffle~ $100.00
04-Mar-2021Huggies diapers, size n$26.49
10-Mar-2021Huggies diapers$21.98
14-Mar-2021Huggies diapers$10.99
16-Mar-2021Huggies diapers$21.98
22-Mar-2021Huggies diapers$21.98
25-Mar-2021Huggies diapers$10.99
1-Apr-2021Huggies diapers; size 1$43.31

11. Cost of Baby Wipes:


Baby ShowerRegistry gifted baby wipes$21.97
19-Feb-2021Huggies Baby Wipes$16.41
26-Mar-2021Huggies Baby Wipes$16.41

12. Cost of Baby Clothing & Baby Items:


[See “Baby Registry” above, as the following table does not include clothing gifted at mom’s baby shower.]

Jan-2021Mamibaby Baby Lounger Baby Nest Co-Sleeping for Baby$59.32Amazon
Feb-2021Summer Basic Changing Essentials Kit, 3-Piece$34.99Amazon
Feb-2021Various Onesies (x17 total)$55.93Amazon
Mar-2021Belly Brag Stickers (1mo – 2yrs)$4.79Ralphs
Mar-2021JJ Cole Agility Stretch Carrier$29.97Amazon
Mar-2021Onesies (x4)$9.99Target

13. Cost of Baby’s Pediatrician Visits:


2021First Check-up$320.00Out-of-network
20212-Month Check-up$206.00New pediatrician; also out-of-network
2021Parking fees$6.00
2021Legal forms, copies$2.91

14. Cost of Books and Classes on Pregnancy & Parenting:


[Note: There are two books of this lot the parents felt were worthwhile: “The Expectant Father” for Dad, and “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering” for both parents.]

DateBook / ClassCostNotes
2020Natural Virtual Pregnancy Class with Kathy Killebrew CCCE, CAPPA$400.00Excellent and informative
May-2020What to Expect When You’re Expecting $10.83Not recommended
Nov-2020Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: 2nd Ed$10.70Not needed
Nov-2020The Birth Partner Handbook$8.89
Nov-2021Mind Over Labor$16.00
Nov-2021Natural Hospital Birth 2nd Ed$16.19Great book
Dec-2021The Expectant Father$13.75Dad, read this one.

Baby Registry Breakdown


The 5-star “Needed-Rating” indicates how often used or how valuable an item is during the first two months of a baby’s life. One star (★) indicates the least useful or important, while 5 stars (★★★★★) indicates the most useful and most important.

Registry: Baby Gear — $315.38

BABY GEARNeeded-Rating
Bamboo Muslin Baby Swaddle Blanket – Hypoallergenic x4★★★★★
Burp Cloths, Super Soft Jersey Cotton x6★★★★★
Boppy Original Newborn Lounger★★★★★
Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud 2-in-1 Activity Floor Seat★★★★
Ingenuity InLighten Bouncer★★★
White Noise Sound Machine★★★
Adjustable Swaddle Blanket Baby Wrap x3
Munchkin Sponge Bottle Brush x2
Large Round Collapsable Laundry Basket
Safe Infant Pacifiers, No Toxicity Removable Nipples★ 
Baby Monitor

Registry: Baby Transport/Travel — $330.89

Stroller & Car Seat Combo★★★★★
Diaper Bag Backpack, Insulated Pockets★★★★★
Convertible Baby Carrier★★★★★
Baby Wrap Carrier★★★★
Diaper Bag Backpack / Travel Bag★★★★

Registry: Baby Clothes — $279.24

[The low ratings below reflect expensive single items that can be replaced with less costly ones.]

Infant Socks x20 Pairs*****
Love Sleeved Organic Cotton Onesies x3*****
100% Cotton Baby Bodysuits x3*****
Touched by Nature Baby Organic Cotton Socks – 0-6 Months*****
Knit Baby Winter Hat x3****
Newborn Baby Hooded Polka Dot Romper****
Newborn Romper Long Sleeve Jumpsuit****
Onesies x2****
Sleep N’ Play Footie x4****
Newborn Romper One-Piece Jumpsuit***
Unisex Cozy Fleece Booties***
Footed Graphic Onesie*
Long Sleeve Footless Romper
Unisex Cotton Headband and Scratch Mitten Sets
Long Sleeve Zip Romper
Heart Fleece Hooded Jumpsuit
Baby Tie-dyed Hooded Jumpsuit
One Piece Romper Jumpsuit
Newborn Summer Overalls

Registry: Baby Feeding Gear — $351.89

[Avent Natural Baby Bottle, 4 pack]*****
Comotomo Baby Bottle (x2)*****
Unbreakable Kids Bowls (set of 4)***
Organic Cotton Baby Bandana Bibs (x8 pack)**
Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder (x2 pack)**
Fresh Fruitsicle Frozen Pop Tray**
7-in-1 Convertible High Chair*
Complete Baby Food Prep System*
Bandana Bibs (x8)*

Registry: Baby Bathing Gear — $105.10

Baby Bath Floating Thermometer★★★★★
Baby Towel★★★★★
Honest Company Baby Bath Wash & Lotion★★★★★
Organic Diaper Balm★★★★★
Baby Washcloths (x12)★★★★
Foam Bath Toys★★
Bath Spout Cover Safety Guard
Baby Bathtub

Registry: Baby Changing Gear — $275.16

Changing Table & Hamper*****
Odor-Locking Diaper Pail (Special bags NOT required)*****
Portable Baby Changing Pad*****
Baby Wipes x624*****
Cocoa & Shea Butter Baby Wipes x168***

Money-Saving Tip: Host a diaper raffle at your baby shower. Guests bring a pack of diapers of any quantity, and preferably of size 0 or 1, and are entered into a chance to win a gift basket from you.

Registry: Nursery & Sleep Gear — $553.01

4-in-1 Convertible Baby Crib*****
Plastic Baby Closet Hangers x60*****
Ultra Soft Baby Blanket*****
Hypoallergenic Baby Crib Mattress w/ Waterproof Cover*****
Grow Wild Crib Sheets, 100% cotton, x3*****
3-in-1 Humidifier, Diffuser, Nightlight**
Organic Cotton Crib Sheet**
Fisher-Price Astro Kitty Jumperoo (Baby activity center)**
Diaper Caddy Organizer*
Organic Monthly Milestone Blanket* [extremely impractical]
Starry Globe Nightlight*

Note: Most babies transition from a bassinet or co-sleeping arrangement to a crib between the ages of 3 and 6-months-old.

Registry: Baby Health & Safety — $97.91

Baby Basics Kit by FridaBaby*******
Baby Healthcare and Grooming Kit, 18 in 1****
Stuffy Nose & Cough Essential Oil Bath*

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