Babies Are Expensive: How Much Does it Cost to Have One?

According to a USDA report, the average middle-income family in America spends somewhere between $12,000 and $14,000 per year on child-related expenses. Other studies have put the range somewhere between $20,000 and $50,000 for the first year of a newborn’s life, depending on the family’s location and overall household income. Such expenses include everything from clothing and feeding to the cost of daycare.

Related: How to Get a Baby to Sleep Through the Night

What is the Break Down of the Cost?

The good news is that young babies don’t require much aside from a few necessary key items (like a car seat and a crib) and basic recurring items (like diapers and formula). Families will have to budget for all this to ensure that their precious little one has everything they may need for a healthy and happy start to life. Here is a basic breakdown of some of the expenses that parents will need to consider as they prepare to raise a family. 

Car seat

You can’t leave the hospital after your baby arrives without an infant car seat, which will typically cost somewhere between $80 and $400. American car seats must meet several specific safety standards, though it’s important to know that these standards can change over time. This is why it’s important to buy a new car seat and not a second-hand one. 


The cost of strollers can range anywhere from $100 to $1000, depending on the brand and model that you choose to go with. Newborns require a stroller that fully reclines, while older babies who can sit up on their own can use a less expensive umbrella-style stroller. These are lighter, easier to maneuver, and are typically cheaper than newborn strollers, costing between $25 and $100.

Diaper cost

During the first year of an infant’s life, they will go through approximately 3,000 diaper changes. Disposables cost between $0.17 and $0.31 per diaper, so you’ll be shelling out somewhere between $510 and $930 per year before your little one is ready for potty training. Cloth diapers are an alternative to disposables, and diaper cleaning services are available. Though you’ll save more by washing them yourself, you should keep in mind that this will also raise your water and electric bills.

Baby food and formula

Breastfeeding offers both health and cost-saving benefits for babies and mothers. Still, it does require some investment in the appropriate gear, like nursing bras ($15 to $50) and breast pumps ($25 to $350, depending on whether they are manual or electric). A year’s worth of baby formula will run families about $1,200, depending on whether it’s powder or ready-made, and bottles typically cost between $2 and $12 apiece (you’ll want about 10 or 12 of them). 

Once your baby is ready for solid foods, you’ll likely be spending between $45 and $115 per month, depending on your preferred brands and how much your baby eats. Homemade baby food with DIY purees is also an option that will generally cost you less. You’ll have to buy and prepare the ingredients, but baby serving sizes are pretty small, so you won’t be picking up much extra work. 

Child care

Nanny or daycare costs are going to end up being the biggest piece of your child-rearing budget. Price varies significantly depending on where you live, but parents will typically be paying an average of $6,000 to $37,000 per year. Some families use a mix of both daycare and nanny services to try and save money.

Related: Why Does My Baby Cry So Much?


The total cost of decorating your baby’s nursery will strongly depend on how detailed you want to get. At a minimum, you’re going to need either a bassinet ($150 to $250) or a crib with a mattress ($125 to $500) and a changing table ($100 to $200) with a diaper pail. You also should consider additional features, like baby bouncers, activity centers, rocking chairs, and other fun elements you can add to the room. 


Good quality baby clothing is something you can get new or used, so there is a lot of wiggle room for budgeting. You’re also likely to receive a lot of clothes as gifts from friends and family, so be sure that you’re making good use of baby registries as you prepare for your little one’s arrival.  

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What is the Monthly Breakdown of the Cost?

A baby laying on its stomach looking at the camera.

Month 1, 2, 3

The first few months will be the most pricy for new parents due to hospital and delivery costs being added to the price of necessities like formula and diapers. The first three months of a baby’s life will typically cost somewhere around $11,300.

Month 4, 5, 6

During this time, you’ll probably be returning to work, your baby will start eating solid foods, and you’ll have to keep up with their growth spurts by making sure they have enough clothing. You’ll probably see a cost of at least $3,150 for everything.

Month 7,8,9

This is when babies will typically start crawling, so you’ll be needing safety gates and other baby-proofing supplies. This will run parents between a few hundred to $1000, depending on their home size. 

Month 10, 11, 12

This is where you may start considering the cost for babysitters once you’re ready to leave your child at home for an occasional date night. This can cost families between $1,000 to $2,000, depending on how often parents want to take a night out.

Related: Best Subscription Box for Babies

How Can We Help

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What to read next

123 Baby Box sources ideas for their blog content from a variety of channels including feedback from subscribers, trending topics in baby care, and insights from industry experts. They aim to cover topics that are both informative and relevant to the needs and interests of parents and caregivers.

The writing process at 123 Baby Box typically involves several steps. First, they outline key points to cover in the article based on thorough research.

123 Baby Box publishes new content on their blog on a weekly basis. This regular schedule helps keep their audience engaged and informed about the latest in baby care, product recommendations, and parenting tips.

The blog posts for 123 Baby Box are typically written by content writers who specialize in parenting, child development, and health. These writers often have backgrounds in journalism, education, or healthcare, providing them with the expertise necessary to produce reliable and valuable content for parents.

123 Baby Box writers put in a lot of time researching and fact checking each article.

123 Baby Box is a subscription service that provides monthly boxes filled with products tailored for babies and toddlers.

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