Raising a child can be an expensive business and one not to be undertaken lightly. In the first year alone, it could cost you over £30k, and that's just for starters. There are choices you can make to reduce this, but they may have negative environmental, health or convenience impacts. It really comes down your personal preferences and values.
To give an idea of the inherent costs, we've investigated the various options available from budget to luxury for the key components of babycare:
Let's start with the good news, children's healthcare and prescriptions are completely free on the NHS. Your midwife appointments, birthing event and follow up health visitor care is free of charge.
However, you may choose to pay for a private midwife or doula for the birthing experience and these can cost between £200-£8000 depending on your selected package. Many parents really value these services and the support and advice they receive.
Nappies and Wipes:
Reusable nappies can be a low-cost option though the initial outlay may seem high at around £200 for a full set of nappies, inserts, buckets and detergents. The ongoing cost would be around £3 per week in detergents and energy for laundry.
However, if you choose to use a laundry service this will increase costs to around £12-15 per week and make them more expensive than disposable nappies.
The highest qualityeco-nappies such asMama Bamboo, cost around £7-8 per pack whereas the lower cost plastic supermarket brands around £3-4 a pack.
Food and Drink:
For the first 6 months, a baby will only consume milk.
Breastfeeding is of course free.
Formula feeding will cost around £60 in outlay for equipment (bottles, sterilisers, etc) and an ongoing £8 per week for powder or £25 per week for pre-mixed.
KendalMilk is a UK baby brand which promises a palm-oil free solution.
Aprep machinewhich mixes and prepares a bottle at the touch of a button can cost around £90. It's entirely optional if you want to purchase one, but many parents do enjoy the convenience it brings.
Once a child is weaning at +6 months, you may choose to offer them the same food you are eating, and they will eat very small portions. This will have a very small impact on the household weekly shopping. However, you may choose to buy specific baby foods in jars or packets, such asElla's Kitchen. These can cost around £2-3 per portion.
If you are concerned about convenience and organic quality of food, there are subscription services such asMamaMadewho deliver fast-frozen ready-made meals for toddlers. These cost around £15 per week for 7 meals.
Entirely optional, but most parents will attend some baby classes during their first year.
Local playgroups and church groups will often host a free or low-cost session once a week. Some even give you a cup of tea!
Franchise-run baby massage, baby music, baby sensory, Sing n Sign, and Baby Swim classes can range from £5-15 a session.
Many parents will need or want to return to work after the initial 6 months. Whilst some companies may allow shortened hours or part time, others will require full time return. If a family is not lucky enough to have a willing grandparent on hand, nurseries, childminders and nannies may be needed. Costs for these range from around £6-8 per hour for a childminder, £8-12 an hour for a nursery to £12-18 an hour for a nanny.
Depending on the income a mother / father earns, it may not be financially viable to return to work, so each family will need to review their personal circumstance to judge what is the best option for them.
In short, there is no fixed cost to a raising a baby. At the lowest cost end, it may cost around £10-12k for the first year, whereas the upper end may exceed £30k over 12 months. It comes down a family's personal choices and the value you place on baby's health, the environment, your convenience, and your financial circumstances.