4 Expenses to Consider Before Having a Baby, Says Financial Planner

Diapering

Not long after baby eats, you’ll need to be ready for a diaper change. Before you buy any diapering supplies, decide whether you want to use cloth diapers or disposable diapers. Not only are the diapers different, but you may need different diaper pails or other supplies for each type, as well.

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2. Not all babies sleep long hours

Every baby book and website will tell you that babies sleep 12- 16 hours a day. That makes it sound like they sleep all the time and you can go about your work. But not all babies sleep for long, uninterrupted stretches. They sleep between 2-4 hours at a stretch, even at night, initially.

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13. Reconnect as a couple

“In the happiest of our childhood memories, our parents were happy too” – Robert Brault.

Parenting is hard on your relationship; especially in the early days when the new situation is challenging to both of you and survival is the main goal. It takes a toll on the best of couples. There are never enough hours to finish housework or errands, you are both exhausted and with a baby around, romance isn’t top of the agenda anymore. So it’s important to spend time with each other as a couple, without talking about responsibilities or your baby. Set up date nights at home if you can’t organize a babysitter often. If you argue in front of your baby, make sure to make up in front of your baby too. It’s important to create a healthy, happy, and secure environment for your child to grow up in.

Tips for Preparing Your Child for a New Sibling

  • There is no need to inform your toddler about your pregnancy immediately. Concepts like pregnancy and childbirth are complicated topics to handle and can be tackled towards the later stages.
  • Since toddlers have a poor concept of time, even a few months can be an eternity and they may bother you with their inquisitiveness regarding the baby’s arrival every day. Wait for a while before telling them about their soon-to-arrive sibling.
  • While breastfeeding, find a spot where your firstborn can also come and sit next to you.
  • Sharing is something that your firstborn may not be used to – a gift-giving ceremony will help prepare her for that.
  • Work on making your toddler independent by letting her do small activities by themselves. This will not only make her feel that she is a grown-up but will also let you focus on your newborn baby.
  • Even before your second child is born, try not to be too indulgent with your firstborn. This is because a shift in your attention immediately after the baby is born may make your firstborn jealous.
  • You can slowly start building a nurturing habit in your firstborn by asking her to take care of a stuffed doll.
  • Make a secret code that only you and your toddler can understand. This way, if your firstborn feels left out, you can always cheer her up by talking in a code that only you both understand. Later, you could teach your second child as well.
  • Make a scrapbook of memories to help your toddler know that they too received special treatment when they were small. This will reduce any feelings of jealousy or resentment your child may feel.
  • Books such as ‘Once Upon a Baby Brother’ by Sarah Sullivan and ‘I’m a Big Sister’ by Joanna Cole can help introduce them to the concept of siblings. Reading these books can help teach them about how siblings must care for each other. Additionally, they may love the stories so much that they would soon want their own sibling.

Linens and Sleep Essentials

Nothing soothes the soul like a soundly sleeping baby.

To create a comfortable, warm, and snuggly place for baby to snooze, you’ll want to include plenty of padding, soft cloth, and at least one waterproof liner. Blankets should range in weight and thickness to suit the indoor temperature, and there should never be so much bedding that it could disrupt baby’s regular breathing.

Also, swaddling fabric and sleep sacks will do a great job of keeping your baby warm.

As you shop for all the newborn stuff you’ll need, be sure to read the safety disclaimers that are printed on sleep products made especially for newborns.

Be sure to include these sleep-related items on your newborn baby checklist:

  • 4 receiving blankets
  • 2-4 cotton blankets
  • 2 swaddlers (optional)
  • 1-2 wearable blankets (sleep sacks)
  • Cradle, bassinet, or co-sleeper with cotton sheets
  • 2 crib mattress pads
  • 2 waterproof liners (one for the bassinet or co-sleeper and one for the crib)
  • Baby monitor (Lumi, a smart baby monitor + sleep system is perfect for first time parents)

Play Essentials

As your little one starts interacting with the world, they’re going to express interest in everything in their environment (and we mean everything).

Every manner of stimulation is going to be a new discovery. This goes for sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

Baby’s playtime is made more fulfilling and enjoyable when colorful, high-contrast, and tactile objects are abundant.

This is an important time in the beginning of your child’s cognitive development. To help your baby get the most out of playtime, be sure to add these items to your list of things you need for a new baby:

  • Bouncy seat
  • Baby books
  • Smartphone with camera
  • Baby music CDs or MP3s
  • Playmat with attached toys
  • Squishy baby ball or Oball
  • Bright, high-contrast (black, white, red, green) art prints, mobile, and books

2. Get a sense of labor, delivery, and postpartum costs

Last year, The Atlantic reported that the average cost to have a baby in the US was more than $4,500 — with insurance.

Most insurance carriers offer online portals where you can get accurate cost estimates. Be sure to get a ballpark figure of what it will cost to deliver at your hospital of choice, and see if it’s in-network. Find out if the hospital offers payment programs, including zero-interest options. 

Professional help can also be a wonderful thing for new and experienced parents. Services like lactation consulting should be covered at the hospital, but may not extend to your home. If you want a particular provider outside the hospital or a home visit, plan to pay out of pocket. 

Other services to consider include doulas. They are non-medical professionals who provide physical and emotional support during labor, other reproductive experiences like infertility treatments and loss, and postpartum care. Most costs for a doula are out of pocket, but that may be changing as more insurance companies begin to recognize their benefits.

Preparing your relationship for a baby

It might not be what you want to hear, but the truth is, the arrival of a baby can cause some real upheaval — even if your relationship was smooth sailing before. Becoming a party of three thrusts you and your partner into navigating new roles, at a time when you’re both stressed out and physically exhausted. Pair that with less time to spend together as a couple, and you’ve got a recipe for a potentially rocky road.

The key is anticipating this disruption and being ready for life to change. Simply knowing that every relationship goes through a natural evolution when a baby arrives can help you handle the inevitable bumps. 

In the meantime, make even more of an effort to connect while you’re still a duo. Take time to talk to each other every day. And if sex is starting to feel like another chore on your prepping-for-baby to-do list, think about other ways to connect. Hold hands at the grocery store. Give your partner a kiss or a nuzzle for no reason. Reminisce about your first date or plan a second honeymoon. Keeping close now will keep you going when you’re taking turns trying to get the baby back to sleep at 2 a.m. and are both feeling frazzled.

Questions You May Not Have Thought of When Thinking about Having a Baby

These are some questions that you may not immediately think of when you are thinking about having a baby.

5. Am I willing to give up sleep? Once a woman is pregnant, she can kiss a great night’s rest goodbye (if you sleep well now, I don’t want to hear about it). Once the belly grows and the joints stretch, sleep becomes a very uncomfortable time. That’s not to mention the repeat visits to the bathroom at night. Once the baby arrives, you’ll be getting up in the middle of the night quite often for feedings and changing diapers. As the child gets older, there’s nightmares, bed wettings, illnesses, sleeplessness… Bye, bye sleep. Hello, moon.

6. Am I ready to change nearly a million diapers? Ew, I know. Babies, in their first few months, use close to 10-15 (or more!!) diapers a day. As they get older, that number decreases to about 5 diapers a day. It’s all a natural part of their bodily processes. Look at it this way: as long as it’s all regular and the right colors, it’s an indication that your baby is healthy. That’s good news. Enough on that. Moving on.

7. How much do I value silence? Babies make a lot of noise from the very first moment they enter this world. Your life may never be silent again. I don’t think prospective parents think about this aspect of parenting. It’s not that you won’t have a few moments of silence, because they do occur (occasionally…), but for the most part, babies coo, cry, grunt, giggle, cough, babble, burp, pass gas, scream, etc. (Notice I didn’t mention ‘talk’. That’s a whole other dimension of sound when it comes from a child.) Expect to hear these things at all hours, any time of day or night, whether or not you are having a great day or are experiencing a debilitating migraine. Babies make noise. End of story.

8. How much do I value physical space/touch? Some people do not like to be touched or share personal space with others. Trust me; I’m one of them. I have this invisible box of personal space around me and when others intrude, I feel very uneasy. I also have tactile sensitivity ( I think I just made that up…); I do not like certain textures and physical feelings/touches. Don’t ask me why, but that’s how I am…When I had my babies, I realized how much physical space disappears. There’s a tiny little helpless being who needs 24/7 to be held, fed, rocked, swaddled, changed, etc. I loved (and still love) every minute of it. It is a feeling like no other to have someone rely so much on you. It’s an honor to be wanted so much, to be trusted, to be so unconditionally loved.

9. Am I ready for baby gear and toys to take over my house and car? This happens, even to the most organized amongst us. For my son, I had these items: car seat, car seat base, bassinette, crib, pack-n-play, stroller, high chair, bouncy seat, swing, tummy-time mat, baby bathtub, and a few toys. That was just at the time of birth. Fast forward a few years, put the baby gear into storage, and add larger toys with more pieces. Not too bad. Then came baby number two. Bring the baby gear back out of storage and add a second car seat and a double stroller. Yeah. It adds up. Unless you’re careful, it will add up quite fast. Time to bookmark some decluttering advice….

10. Am I ready to love another human being more than myself? It really does boil down to that. Having a baby requires all of you, no matter how imperfect you are. You’ll learn if you are willing to be a great parent. Chances are you’ll find how easy it is to give up the quiet, space, and time to your children. It’ll all return to you eventually when they are ready to fly from the nest, but by then you’ll love the noise, cuddling, and busyness. Ask an elderly parent. They’ll tell you.

My two little troublemakers. I wouldn't trade the life we have for anything in the world.

ThePracticalMommy

How to Save What You Need to Save Before Having a Baby

To recap, what you need to save before having a baby should include:

  • Your portion of expected medical bills that you are responsible for paying as per your health insurance plan
  • Physical items that you need (or want) to purchase for the baby
  • Prenatal and/or postnatal services for the baby or for you as the parent
  • “Extras” like housekeeping help, a bigger takeout/meal budget, etc

Estimate each category’s total cost. Then, add them all up to give yourself a grand total. Here’s a quick example of what this could look like:

  • Medical costs not covered by health insurance: $7,000
  • Physical items, bought brand-new: $2,500
  • Hiring a doula: $1,500
  • Additional services including housekeeping, lawncare, and a meal kit for 2 months: $1,000

= $12,000 total to save for a baby (before they arrive!)

Bear in mind, these are just examples and certainly not what everyone needs to save before having a baby. Your life and its specific circumstances are unique to you. What you actually need to save may be much less than this — or it could be significantly more, depending on your needs and desires.

Now the question is not how much do you need to save before having kids, but how do you accomplish that savings goal? The ideal answer is: with some planning.

You can take your total estimated upfront costs and divide that by the number of months between today and when you want to have this cash savings available. If you plan to have a baby in about a year, then with our example above, you’d need to set aside $1,000 per month ($12,000 divided by 12 months = $1,000 saved per month).

If you have less than 12 months before you expect to have a child, this approach can still work. You can either save more per month — or, stick to the $1,000 per month goal, knowing that you probably don’t need to pay for all your costs at a single point in time. You might need to pay for a doula upfront, but you might not need to pay medical bills until after the baby is born.

You can also look at what you already have in savings. Many of our clients actually have more cash than they technically need to keep on hand; if you’re in a similar position, then you can simply earmark a portion of that money and dedicate it to the upfront costs associated with having kids that you identified.

Questions Answers

Question: He asked me if I'm ready. Does that mean he's ready?

Answer: The only way to know is to ask him. It might be time to have a conversation about it.

Question: Can high functioning autistic women get pregnant as well?

Answer: Any kind of woman can try to get pregnant. If she can take care of a child well, there's no reason a woman with high functioning autism can't try to have a baby. I suggest speaking with a health care professional for more information.

Mo Mulla

Mo Mulla is a work from home dad who enjoys reading and listening to music, He loves being a dad and husband to a growing family. He also loves writing about his passions and hopes to change the world, 1 blog post at a time!

Tips

  • Take as much time as you need to decide if you are ready to start a family. Do not put pressure on yourself to make a decision by a certain deadline.

    Thanks! Helpful Not Helpful

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How to Prepare Yourself for the Second Child

Below are some tips for second pregnancy planning:

1. Go for a Check-Up

When you and your partner decide that it’s time for a second baby, make sure you get a blood test done. For starters, a blood test can help confirm pregnancy if you’ve already started trying. Apart from that, it also can also help check the iron content in your body. Most women become anaemic during pregnancy due to the amount of blood that is needed to sustain you and the baby. With a blood test, you can figure out a good plan to improve your iron content and avoid complications like maternal anaemia.

2. Keep a Close Eye on Your Menstrual Cycle

Even if you don’t use birth control, a missed period doesn’t always mean that pregnancy is around the corner. After the first baby, your menstrual cycle could be out of sync. You’ll need to chart out your ovulation days to figure out the optimal time for conception. It may take a couple of weeks to get it right, so be patient and keep trying!

3. Hit the Gym

Getting back into shape after your first pregnancy is challenging but achievable. Most moms get back on their feet after a strict exercise regime but if you’re not one of them, you need to start now. Weight gain can inhibit fertility and can sometimes cause hormonal imbalances, making it difficult to track your ovulation.

4. Read Up on Male Infertility

Pregnancy isn’t a woman’s job alone. Make sure that you and your partner are familiar with the nuances of male fertility. Habits like smoking marijuana and alcohol severely curtail the sperm count in men. Obesity has been linked to male infertility, so both you and your partner can hit the gym together.

5. Figure out the Best Time to Get Pregnant

If you’re in your early 30s and are worried that your fertility may be affected, it would make sense to have your second baby as soon as possible. However, it’s also important that you think about your firstborn. Many couples wait for about three years before conceiving their second child as the first child is independent enough by then, and the pregnancy can be given first priority.

6. Look for Alternatives

If you have hit a wall despite trying to conceive for over half a year, looking at an IVF specialist makes sense. Infertility after conceiving the first time can take place due to increased age, health problems, lifestyle changes, etc.

Final Tips to Help You Plan Financially for Having Kids

While you’re planning to start a family and before you have a baby, here’s what we’d suggest doing:

First, keep your savings rate as high as you can right now, before the added financial pressure of a bigger family comes your way.

Then, plug your expected future expenses after your child is born into your budget and test them out today. Make adjustments as necessary (and save or invest the money you set aside for those “expenses” before you actually have to pay them).

Finally, make sure you have all the parts of your financial plan in place — and you feel confident about being able to afford this new phase of life.

Considering parenthood or starting that journey is a major step and life milestone. It’s an exciting time, but it can also create a lot of financial pressure.

Do yourself, your family, and your cash flow a favor. Start working on getting your finances in order now.

Be proactive; it will be one less thing you need to worry about once the baby is here, and can free up your time and energy to focus on what’s most important: your growing family.

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