(US) How much does a baby cost per month?

by NHarvey3DK

We’ve been on an amazing budgeting bandwagon lately, so we wanted to run some numbers. But we don’t know what “other” costs could be associated that we aren’t aware of.


  • The delivery
  • Wife staying home (zero income from her)

What other monthly costs are there besides:

  • Diapers ($??)
  • Food ($??)
  • “stuff” (cribs, clothes, stroller, etc)

Thanks in advance… we’re really trying to make sure we budget as much as we can in the next couple months so we can be prepared!


reply from hoffse:

We have a 3-month old. The expensive part is the stuff you are excluding – health insurance, lost income or daycare, etc. can be enormously expensive. But if you don’t want to talk about that….

The stuff you are asking about can be pretty cheap. We nurse, and I have spent less than $100 on supplies to help with pumping, milk storage, etc. That will be all the food he eats for the first 6 months, until we start solids. Once we start solids he will just eat bits of what we eat + milk, and I doubt the increased cost in food will be noticeable for a couple years. FWIW, my appetite went down when I started nursing. Not all women have to eat more. YMMV though.

We use disposable diapers and actually haven’t had to buy any yet because of deals I stacked while pregnant and gifts people gave us. Amazon had a deal where if you (or others) spent $1000 from your registry you got $100 in free diapers. We got our car seats, video monitor, etc. from there so we hit it. Once we do start buying diapers, I’m thinking it will be $25-$45/month.

A lot of the stuff people recommend to buy you don’t need. Baby needs something to eat, a place to sleep, a (new, not used) car seat, some seasonally-appropriate clothes, and diapers/wipes/ointments.

Also get a baby first aid kit together before you need it. Get a forehead thermometer, infant tylenol and motrin, gas drops/gripe water, diaper rash ointment, and saline spray. I also think it’s a good idea to get some babyproofing stuff while pregnant. You won’t need it for awhile, but it’s one of those things you should start thinking about before you are sleep deprived. Lots of kids get hurt or die each year because their parents never got around to securing furniture to walls.

Everything else is extra, though I personally think a decent stroller and baby carrier are must-haves.

We have gotten a lot of use out of our crib, video monitor, stroller, car seats, and baby carrier. I also think a good diaper changing set up is worth it. We have a changing pad installed on top of a dresser, with a diaper cart and nice diaper pail (ubbi) next to it that contains the smell.

If your wife doesn’t want to be tethered to a baby for the entire first year, then you also need some bottles. If she is nursing, then she needs a pump. She can get one for free through insurance, but I also highly recommend a knock-off haakaa on Amazon for under $12. They are amazing, especially during the early days when she is learning what to do. Randomly, I also really really love our bottle drying rack and am about to order a second one. I am back at work now and cleaning bottles/pump parts every single day.

Things you don’t need, at least not right away: a baby holder in every room (just buy a stroller that reclines flat for newborns and stroll baby around the house!); tons of newborn and 0-3 mo clothes; baby shoes; specialty laundry detergent (free and clear works fine); play mats/gyms; lots of toys; stuffed animals; a high chair.

Finally, think about the legal stuff: wills, life insurance, etc. It’s not fun and incredibly morbid, but so so important.