So you are starting a family? Congratulations! Welcome to one of the most exciting and rewarding times of your life! Having a baby is certainly a milestone for any couple, so it is important to be prepared for what lies ahead in the first year of your baby’s life.

Having an idea of what costs you will incur as new parents is a great way to prepare for a new arrival, as it makes it much less likely that you will be caught off guard and left with money worries at a time when you would prefer to be focusing your energies on your offspring.

There are a number of things that you will need to budget for when you decide to start a family – but making sure you have enough set aside to cover costs, and finding ways of equipping your home on a budget can help to ensure that those first days are less stressful – and happy relaxed parents are proven to have a beneficial effect on new babies!

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Healthcare costs

Having a baby can be an expensive business so new parents should ensure that they have the right maternity cover in place on their healthcare plans before beginning their family. If you are pregnant it is a good idea to check your policy so that you understand what is an isn’t covered – for example, will you need to have additional funds available in the event that baby needs a stay in the NICU or mom needs additional care following the birth? If so these should be budgeted for.

Once baby is here you will be expected to attend regular healthcare appointments so that their development can be assessed and vital immunizations etc. administered – so do check how much you will be expected to pay (for example as a co-pay) for these routine appointments and set aside cash accordingly.

Equipment costs

One of the best things you can do when you are trying to decide exactly what equipment you will need for a new baby is talk to someone who is a parent already. Often moms and dads with a little experience will be able to steer you in the direction of what is really essential, what items make life easier and those that you can do without.

Always buy cot mattresses and car seats new as there are safety implications for using second hand versions of these items – but do consider whether other nearly new or used items (baths, prams etc.) could help to bring down the baby budget.

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Clothing and changing

Babies grow quickly, and they need changing a lot, so this is an important cost that new parents need to consider. If you are concerned about your finances, make it clear to friends and family that you are happy to accept hand-me-downs, as some people are shy about offering these without being asked.

Decide whether you will be using disposable or washable diapers – as the latter can work out a lot cheaper in the end as well as having a much less negative impact on the environment. Whichever you go for make sure you invest in a decent diaper bag, as this will be your constant companion throughout the first year! A designer diaper bag can be a great investment as you will be carrying this in addition to or instead of your usual purse for ages – ranges like the designer diaper bags, Must Haves Made Better take into account the importance of this everyday item to new parents and make the investment in quality well worthwhile for any image conscious mom-to-be.

Feeding costs in the first year

Not only is breastfeeding recommended by health professionals as offering the best start for your baby, but choosing to feed naturally like this also helps to keep costs down when a new baby arrives. Breastfeeding mothers may wish to spend money on a nursing chair, nursing cushion and a wardrobe that makes nursing an easy option while out and about, but they will not have to pay for expensive baby bottles, sterilizing equipment or formula food.

When your baby is ready to wean it is worth considering the cost benefits of making your own baby food, as this can be done in bulk and the food frozen to be used when needed.

Budget for baby

Knowing what you might need to spend as you start your family can help parents feel fully prepared for a much anticipated addition to their household, and putting together a baby budget is a good way to motivate yourselves to start saving towards this exciting event.