Who doesn’t love babies? With their wide smiles, bright eyes, and tiny hands and feet, they bring joy to everyone around them.
You might be preparing to welcome a new family member into your home. If so, your little angel will bring so much light into your life, yet they will also bring a flood of bills. With enough preparation, and some anticipation on your part, you can handle the costs of their upbringing.
Baby costs in Australia
In Australia, around 75 per cent of new parents were caught unaware when having their first child, based on current research. They may have underestimated how much savings it will take to raise a child, and that can be overwhelming. In the study, Australian parents stressed over their finances as they spent left and right for essential baby needs.
Because of their experiences, around 25 percent of parents recommended setting aside a $10,000 lump sum before having a baby, whereas 38 per cent suggested that $5,000 to $8,000 would be enough. If you and your partner plan to have a baby, these recommendations are a good starting point.
Of course, every family is different, and budgeting must cater to you and your baby’s needs. Your choice of location for childbirth, healthcare services, baby food and clothes will determine the average costs of welcoming a child into your life. You can prepare and save as much as you can. Learn about any possible hidden expenses you may also encounter so that you can integrate them into your budget.
Breakdown of childcare expenses:
Prenatal, antenatal, postpartum, and everything else in between
Here’s a breakdown of most of the expenses you will have to account for. Costs will begin way before conception and will continue until after birth. As long as you plan ahead of time, save early, and anticipate surprises, your financial condition will remain stable as you enjoy the arrival of your baby.
Before the baby comes
Start budgeting for everything
Once you and your partner have seriously decided to have a baby, think about numbers right away. Consider your current household income and potential income in the future too. Do your research about expenses and needed purchases and determine your initial baby budget. This estimate of total costs will change over time, but at least you have a starting point.
Find your OB-GYN
Your obstetrician-gynaecologist will be your guide throughout your baby journey. Obstetrics is the field in medicine that specialises in pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Meanwhile, gynaecology is the field focused on the female reproductive system. Physicians almost always specialise in both areas rather than in either one alone. Costs for a doctor are separate from hospital costs, however, but look into what is covered by Medicare.
Invest in health insurance
An insurance policy for pregnancy will be the way to go to help you cover the bills if you decide to go private. Insurance plans have broad coverage that will already pay for most of the healthcare services you will need. You may then start early in canvassing insurance companies to find the right insurer. Most insurance companies have a 1 year waiting period for pregnancy-related claims, so you’ll need to start with this far in advance.
Check your benefits
Fortunately, you might be able to receive benefits that may help you out with costs and when your baby arrives. Taking care of a baby will take up much of your time, especially during the first year. You can focus on your child without having to worry about work by taking advantage of maternity leave and paternity leave. You can also make good use of the family tax benefit the government offers if you are qualified. You may even be eligible for the newborn upfront payment or newborn supplement. Check your eligibility and see what’s available to you.
Pick your hospital
Now, you can take a look at hospitals. Costs will differ in a private hospital and a public hospital. Your OB-GYN choice will also affect which hospital you will go to, or vice versa. In the public system, it is likely that you will be sent to your closest public hospital.
Public hospitals may cost you anywhere between zero dollars to $1,500 in out-of-pocket expenses, according to research by the Murdoch’s Children’s Institute and the Parenting Research Centre. Medicare covers most of the costs in the public health system, such as the actual birthing and check-ups with midwives or obstetricians. You may not have consistent care and will see different doctors and midwives, especially when your delivery comes at a time when other babies are also coming out of the womb.
Should you go private, you might experience anywhere between $2,500 and $20,000 in fees, according to the same research. Most of the expenses come from obstetrician’s fees and unexpected bills. You can anticipate fees charged for specialists such as anaesthetists, paediatricians, and assisting doctors. You will also pay for medicines, scans and tests, and the actual hospital stay. Private health insurance may help here, but you can get a more accurate description of the coverage from your chosen insurer.
When the baby is almost here
Are you still there? Hold on tight since you still have to consider the waiting period as your baby grows in the womb. During this period, you’ll need to attend check-ups and scans. You will buy maternity clothes and pregnancy books. You may also attend pregnancy and baby classes.
You might start setting up a nursery, which could include a cot, cot mattress and change table. If you value your sleep, your baby values sleep even more. Most of his or her days will be spent sleeping, and the more comfortable your baby is, the better for you. A quality choice will also last your baby from Day 1 to Year 4 at the most, so consider your options for the best choice.
At this time, you can also finalise your choice of obstetrician and hospital. Again, during childbirth, costs will include the hospital stay, check-ups, scans and tests, even the way you give birth—either C-section or vaginal delivery will incur varied expenses. Doctor’s fees and costs of medicines will add up as well.
After the baby arrives
The baby’s here! You may still be reeling from childbirth, but gear up since you have another leg of your baby journey ahead. You will need to purchase all the things for your child’s needs. Buy tools that will make your life easier as well. Expenses required will include a car seat, nappies, baby clothes, a pram, and a high-chair. If you’re prepared, you will get these things before the birth so you can focus on your baby and recovery.
Ready for the time of your life
If you have come to the end of this article, great job! Baby costs can cause high stress to any parent or parent-to-be. Nonetheless, you can get through the expenses as long as you leave nothing to chance. You’ve learned much above, and you can still know so much more. Preparation and anticipation is the key to getting on top of baby costs, and in the end, you will enjoy your time more with your newborn. It doesn’t stop there though, with childcare costs, schooling and so much more in the future. Good luck!