Starting a family is a special and exciting time. However, it comes with a hefty price tag! So how much does a baby cost? You need to be prepared to prioritise baby essentials with your money as there are plenty of items you’ll need every month. On average, a baby’s first year will cost approximately £6,000 – that’s £500 a month! And if you’ve got twins… you do the math.
There are things you can do to cut costs down – one of them is planning ahead. If you give yourself plenty of time to look for the items you need, you’ll be more likely to find cheaper items or offers. If you leave it all done to the last minute when it’s urgent, you’re more likely to buy the first thing you see when you could have saved money elsewhere.
In this blog, we’ll talk about the things you’ll need when expecting a baby – as well as their average costs. We’ll also speak about ways you can save money on items with some handy tips.
I’m expecting a baby – what do I need and how much will it cost?
There are plenty of items and gadgets you could buy for your baby before their arrival. However, it’s important to prioritise what you’ll need instead of just what you’d like. A baby bouncer might look cool but nappies are going to be much more essential in the early stages of your baby’s life! Our list might look a little daunting, but these are things that your baby will need. If you search around for bargains, it’s possible to get all of it for around £500. This might sound like a lot – but a lot of these items will last for a lot of your baby’s development.
The essential baby items:
Nappies – disposable for early baby stages
You’ll get through plenty of these in the first weeks of your baby’s life. It’s best to by these in bulk to get the best offer. Avoid going to supermarkets and buying smaller packs because they’re cheaper – buy bigger packs to save you money in the long run. Not to add, the last thing you want is to be going out to the supermarket late at night because you’ve run out! Depending on the brand you choose, nappies can cost up to around £24 for the first month.
A baby bath
Some parents decide to save more money on this item and purchase a large washing up bowl instead of an actual baby bath. There’s nothing wrong with this – as long as it’s safe and big enough for your baby. However, some baby baths come with stands which can make the whole experience more comfortable for you and your partner. These usually cost around £25.
A Moses basket
For the first few months of your baby’s life, they will sleep in your room instead of their own. If you don’t have enough room for a full-size cot, a Moses basket is perfect. They’re also ideal for when you’re travelling to use as a portable cot. There’s nothing wrong with buying these second hand but we’d advise you to purchase a new mattress. This is to avoid your baby coming into contact with any bacteria from the previous owner which could harm your baby. If you’re more interested in buying it brand new, they cost around £70 with the mattress coming in at around £20. Wondering what a Moses basket is and if you need one? Check out our blog on everything you need to know about Moses baskets!
Baby Car Seat
This is one of the most essential items as your baby will use this on their journey home from the hospital. There are plenty of second hand car seats available but it’s much better to buy brand new so you know it’s not been in an accident. If it’s from a trusted friend or family member, this is much better. You can get car seats that attach to prams, making it an all in one item. For an average car seat, this can cost in the region of £100 – 200.
As we mentioned above, you can buy prams and car seats that come as one item – this could save you some money. Also, they’re super easy to put together and take apart when you need to. There are plenty of different prams available. Depending on the style and brand you choose, it could be anything from £150 – 1,000. This is an item that really comes down to your budget.
New-born babies go super quickly – you won’t believe it till you see it! Therefore, there’s not much point in buying piles of clothes for your baby that they might not even get the chance to wear. We know there are lots of cute items to buy – focus on the ones that your baby will need and wear more often. You’re likely to get presents from friends and family that will help with your spending. If you're still worried about buying too many or not enough clothes for your little one, go and take a look at out 'how many baby clothes do I need' blog.
Baby Changing Bag
There will be plenty of items to take out with you when you’re out with your baby – a changing bag is definitely essential! You don’t have to go for a baby changing bag in particular if you don’t want to. A normal everyday backpack will do the job just fine. For the average baby changing bag, it will cost you around £25. However, if you go for something branded, it may cost you more.
Feeding equipment and baby food/milk for your baby
Last but definitely not least, your baby needs to be fed. The most important thing for your baby’s growth and development! If you choose to breastfeed, you’ll need to purchase some clothes that will easily allow you to do this. You may also need a breast pump and some bottles. If you’re going to bottle feed, sterilisation equipment will be needed as well as formula. This can cost anywhere from £50 – 100.
What’s not an essential baby item?
Just because we label these items as non-essential, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy them. It’s just important to focus on essential items first.
These are great for when you need to leave your baby on their own for 2 minutes! Your baby is secure and safe in one of these whilst you pop to the toilet. Depending on if you choose to buy brand new or second hand, you can spend from £20 – 300.
Baby play mat
Play mats are good to stimulate your baby and help with their development. However, there’s no need to spend a lot of money on just a mat. If you’re looking to save some money, you can just buy some comfy blankets and baby toys instead.
Not essential but great if you’re out and about a lot and need a safe surface to change your baby on. Changing mats are better than just a towel as they can be easily cleaned afterwards with a wipe. These are quite cheap at around £7.
How can I cut the cost on these baby items?
We understand that having a baby isn’t always planned and can be a huge shock to you as well as your bank account. We’ve got some handy tips to help you save some pennies:
- Offers and bargains – Search around for an item on multiple websites and in stores. Don’t just buy the first one you see – you could save a lot of money!
- Online Calculator – Take a look at this baby calculator to work out how much you will spend.
- Parent and baby groups – There’s opportunities to get money off items!
- Limit how many toys you buy.
6 months in - average cost of baby items…
As your baby grows and develops, you will need to buy more baby items to keep up with their demands and development. In 6 months, your baby will change dramatically. They will become more independent and mobile – this means more places to explore (even if they shouldn’t be!). We’ve listed some items that you’ll need during this time:
Stair Gate to keep your baby safe
As we said, your baby will become much more mobile during this time and this means getting to places where they shouldn’t be. One of those places are the stairs. Stairs are not safe for a 6-month-old and should only be allowed if there is a parent very close by. A way that you can stop your baby climbing up them is to purchase a stair gate. These can be purchased in the range of £20-50 depending on if you buy it brand new or second hand.
If you live in a flat or bungalow, stair gates are also great for gating off rooms that you don’t want you baby to go in.
It’s likely that you’ll be thinking about moving your baby into their own room or you might have already done it. They will no longer fit into the tiny Moses basket you bought them when they were born. It’s time to invest in a good quality, sturdy cot to keep your baby safe and comfortable at night. From new, you can pick up a cot for around £70 – this will last your baby quite a long time.
Your baby may have started eating solid foods by now and it’s great to all sit around a table and enjoy meals together. You can get a second hand high chair if you’re not bothered about getting one brand new. Whilst a brand new high chair can cost you up to £300 – a second hand one can cost you 10% of this!
Once your baby begins sleeping in their own room, you’ll need a baby monitor to make sure they’re ok. If you’re downstairs whilst your baby is asleep, the likelihood of you hearing them is slim. However, you can sit a baby monitor beside you and be alerted straight away if your baby wakes. Ask around some of your friends and family to see if the still have one that you could use – this could save you some money! With the option of buying second hand or from brand new, baby monitors range from £20-250.
How can I cut the cost on these baby items?
Like we’ve said, having a baby is expensive and it doesn’t just suddenly stop. From time to time you’ll need to purchase new items for your baby. You can save some money by:
- Apply for child benefit – If you earn under £60k, you can apply for this after you give birth and be given some extra help.
- Borrow items from family and friends.
- Buy re-usable nappies that you can wash – These will save you lots of money!
So, there we have it, we’ve summarised some of the items you’ll need when you’re expecting a baby and during the first 6 months of their life. Like we mentioned at the start, plan ahead. Not only could it save you some money, it will mean you won’t be stressing out when your baby arrives.