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The cost of having a baby in the UK

The cost of having a baby in the UK
Image source: Getty Images

Having a baby is a big moment in your life. Not only are you adding a whole new person to your family, but you are also making a financial commitment going forwards. While babies are cute, they certainly aren’t cheap! Here we break down the average cost of having a baby in the UK and offer tips on how to save and prepare ahead of your new arrival.

The average cost of having a baby

We are fortunate that here in the UK, we don’t have any healthcare or medical costs associated with having a baby. Antenatal, birth and postnatal care are all covered by our wonderful NHS. Of course, you could choose to go private, but most of us don’t have to worry about factoring medical costs into our baby budget.

The real cost of having a baby in the UK is for equipment and items needed to care for your baby. According to NatWest, parents spend around £9,364.85 in the first year of their child’s life.

So let’s take a look at what you actually need to spend your money on when expecting a new bundle of joy:

Goodnight little one

Your baby will need somewhere to sleep. In the first instance, this will most likely be in a moses basket, which, on average, costs around £43. Once they are bigger you will want to move them into their own cot. The average cost of a cot stands around £130.

Of course, you can look for secondhand items in order to bring the price down. However, it is advisable to buy a new mattress in order to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Baby on the move

You’ll be wanting to move around with your baby. In fact, most hospitals in the UK won’t discharge you unless you have a car seat in which to take your baby home in.

A car seats is something you should buy new. That way you can be 100% sure it has not been compromised in an accident. Car seat prices can vary, but on average, expect to pay between £100 and £150.

You will also most likely need a pram so that you can take your baby out on walks, or around the shops. This is definitely something that can be bought either new or secondhand. You could spend a lot on a pram, or very little. Costs range from £100 to over £2,000. Just make sure in the first instance that it is suitable for a newborn, as they need to lie flat.

Keeping clean and comfortable

Babies need a lot of nappy changes! So in the first few months, this will be one of your regular costs. Parents typically spend around £260 on nappies a year, according to insurance provider LV=. Supermarket own brand nappies from the likes of Aldi and Lidl are value for money. Or you could keep your eye out for bulk buying discounts in order to keep costs down.

Alternatively, you could consider using reusable nappies. Some reusable nappy retailers, such as Beaming Baby, offer a trial period to see if reusable nappies suits you and your baby. If they don’t, you can choose to get your money back.

Time to eat

If you are lucky enough to be able to breastfeed successfully, then the cost of feeding your baby is pretty low. But for those who want to bottle feed or do a combination, feeding equipment such as bottles and sterilisers can cost up to £53 in the first month.

Meanwhile, the cost of a 800g pack of UK baby formula from a well-known brand such as Aptimal, is £11.35 at Sainsbury’s. How quickly you go through the pack will depend on how many feeds your baby needs and how large each feed needs to be. But you can expect to get around 28 6oz bottles from an 800g pack.

Getting dressed up

Babies grow quickly. In a matter of weeks they will have moved on to the next size of sleepsuits. So the cost of clothing your child can add up. On average, expect to pay around £480 on clothes in the first year.

Hand-me-downs are a great way to save money here. Or buying pre-loved items from places such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace can help to keep costs down.

How to save for a baby

Now that you know the average costs of having a baby in the UK, it may be worthwhile setting up a specific savings account so you can start putting some money aside ahead of your baby’s birth.

An easy access savings account allows you to add money in whenever you choose. And it has complete flexibility about when you access your funds. You don’t need to worry about your money being tied up when you have finally found the perfect pram.

Also, try to sit down and make a baby budget. Take a look at your current incomings and outgoings, and consider how your cash flow will be affected when you or your partner are on maternity or paternity leave. Then you can calculate how much you can save each month in the lead up to your baby’s arrival.

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