The True Costs of Raising a Baby

One of many gifts we've received
I've been hearing everywhere how expensive babies are and how much money you need to spend in order to keep them happy and healthy. Personally, I'd like to dispute that notion. However, to be honest, I'm not 100% sure how much money we've spent on our own baby girl. With that being the case, I've decided to compile the costs of wifey and I raising our baby girl approximately 8 months after we became parents.

I guess we'll start with the basics. Baby diapers.

As I've detailed in the past, baby girl is cloth diapered. However, for the first few weeks, she was being diapered with disposable diapers. That was until we purchased newborn cloth diaper covers. We used those newborn covers for three months until baby girl outgrew them and then we purchased four one size cloth diaper covers to compliment the stash of 30 pocket diapers. The one size covers didn't work as well compared to the newborn size, however, we still have them in case we run out of the pocket diapers.

In addition to these diaper covers, I have a stash of 52 inserts, 36 reusable wipes, and two diaper bags.

The total for the cloth diapers, wipes, diaper bags, and disposables so far is $729.52. This total doesn't count the cost of washing the cloth diapers.

The next thing we can tabulate is the cost of food. As baby girl was exclusively breast fed for the first four months, that means we had a cost of $0! Whoot! However, because she was being exclusively breast fed and she was born in late fall/winter, the doctor recommended we get baby girl vitamin D drops. We were given a sample for free. However, that lasted about 3 weeks. After that, we purchased a bottle from Costco. This second bottle lasted 5 months before we had to go back to Costco to purchase more. However, the oddest thing happened. In those 5 months, Costco changed suppliers. In fact, the new supplier was approximately the same price, but offered 2 bottles AND each bottle contained a lot more vitamin D. Wow!

Around the 4 month mark, we started to give baby girl solids, but we stopped after some problems cropped up. We gave up that idea and didn't start feeding her solids again until the 6 month mark. We've had no issues since. Since baby girl ate around 2 teaspoons between 1 to 2 times daily when she first started and is currently eating 3 tablespoons 3 times daily, I don't think it's necessary to include the cost of each teaspoon and tablespoon. The reasoning is that we're feeding her a portion of what we eat already. We're not buying any special foods that only she eats. She's eating exactly what we eat. Nectarines, oats, brown rice, barley, cherries, chicken, etc.

As a result, if you just count the cost of the vitamin D drops, then the food category only cost us $26.76.

Of course, you can't have food without the bowls, spoons, and sippy cups. You can also count the free breast pump wifey's friend in the US sent us. Though it was a gift, customs dinged us for $25. Ouch! (Fill out those customs forms correctly!) These, along with the bottles we bought but never ended up using, cost $86.14.

Next thing on the list are baby clothes and bedding. This one is a little difficult to determine as wifey purchased a lot of clothing online in China and mother-in-law brought it back. Wifey has all the records of what was purchased, but there's the matter of exchange rate. As the rate ranged from 5.0 to 5.2, I'm going to use the exchange rate of 5.1 RMB for each $1 Canadian.

First, I'm going to tally the amount we spent in Canada. Being first time parents, we figured we'd get a lot of clothes. We did. However, we noticed we didn't have a lot of 0-3 months or 3-6 month clothing. As a result, we went out and bought some*. Big mistake. Like I said, first time parents. Baby girl wore the clothing 2 or 3 times each before we had to retire them due to her out growing them. Aside from that, we purchased nine sleepers from Costco.Yes, the same sleepers that were recalled. We didn't return any of them. The sleepers we purchased ranged from 12 months to 24 months. Wifey played around with the snaps and they didn't appear to be loose or look like they could potentially cut through the fabric. Aside from that, that's all we purchased for clothing. The total is $72.36.

In terms of bedding, we received a lot of blankets in addition to the two receiving blankets we purchased ourselves on Amazon. However, after a week or so, it was clear that baby girl was not a swaddle type of girl. Despite being so young, she had the uncanny ability to escape from any swaddle. While I didn't think it was necessary, wifey felt we needed a SleepSack. So we bought one. Then we realized that it would be dangerous to go out in winter as it wasn't advised we bundle up baby girl in a car seat. That combined with baby girl's penchant for kicking off blankets, we decided to also purchase a travel Grobag. Seriously, it was good we had both in the winter. Baby girl would occasionally have a leaky diaper or something and ruin one or the other. In rare instances, both. In either case, we always had one to go for the cold winter nights and day time naps. Both these sleep sacks had TOG ratings of 2.5. However, as spring was around the corner, wifey wanted to get a couple of sleep sacks with a TOG rating of 1.0. As a result, we purchased a pack of two from Costco online. As summer rolled around, it was obvious baby girl was feeling too hot to use a TOG 1.0 sleep sack. In addition to that, she would be distracted with her legs and feet if we left her exposed. She would literally put her feet in her mouth or grab her legs and forget about sleeping despite the fact she was tired. With that being the case, we purchased a TOG 0.5 sleep sack. It works pretty well. However, eventually, baby girl will eventually need to learn to sleep without a sleep sack covering her legs and feet.

On a recommendation from wifey's cousin, we purchased two mattress pads for the bed. We're using a queen bed for baby girl, so it's small. However, baby girl is small and this has worked better than a blanket underneath the fitted sheet.

Finally, before baby girl was born, we purchased a queen sheet set from Ikea. In total, for Canada only, we spent $321.89 on bedding.

Among the things we purchased for baby girl from China are socks, hats, winter jackets, bed sheet sets, and boots. If you ignore the cost of the plane tickets, since the in-laws planned this trip well before baby girl was in the conversation, then the total cost of everything from China was 1,447 RMB. Converted to Canadian, that's $283.72**. Honestly, that doesn't seem right to me as there was literally three suitcases packed full of baby stuff. However, things are much cheaper in China. That's the reason most things are made there.

Next, let's tally up the cost of the good stuff. Things like strollers, playpens, etc. As I mentioned before, we picked up a playpen and travel system for $75 each. A couple months back, we picked up a jumperoo off Kijiji for $40. We also received a secondhand playmat for free from a co-worker.We purchased a brand new 3 in 1 car seat from Amazon to supplement the infant carrier that came with the travel system. In the winter, when the in-laws returned to China and I returned to work full-time, wifey was feeling overwhelmed taking care of baby girl on her own and doing all the work that is required to run a household. The main thing was that baby girl didn't want to be put down on her own. As a result, wifey convinced me we needed a carrier. It's been used a few times, most recently, on a stroll through a park. Recently, because wifey didn't want to lug around the stroller from the travel system, we bought a new umbrella stroller. Also from Amazon. In total, all these goodies cost $704.34.

Next category, I'll call health and safety. This includes things like outlet covers, baby gate (that we haven't used yet as baby girl isn't mobile), a pool noodle, safety scissors, diaper rash cream, baby monitor, and a teether. Technically, the baby monitor is just an app I found on the Google Play Store called Dormi and paid $7.99 for the unlimited use version. It works great. For the video part, I'm using an app called IP Webcam. It's the same program I found before. As part of the baby monitor set up, I purchased a couple of phone holder clips on Amazon.
Phone clipped to the playpen
In total, all these things combined cost us $116.61. Not counting the cost of the old smart phone. But those phones were used for years before they were no longer usable. They are just good enough to run the camera app or Dormi.

Lastly, are the fun, fun stuff. The books and toys. Most of the time, toys we purchased for baby girl was only to get free shipping from all sorts of online retailers (Amazon recently changed their free shipping to $35). Usually, we'd be a few cents or dollars short and we'd make up the difference by buying a toy. In total, we've purchased a stuffed lobster, an o-ball, some stackable cups, a xylophone, toy piano from Kijiji, some books from a garage sale, and a rattle monkey. We also purchased a new board book from Indigo. At the time, they were offering free shipping site wide in addition to a $5 bonus in their rewards that could be used on anything with no minimums. Being the Loonie IT Guy, I purchased the cheapest thing I could. All in, with shipping, the board book only cost $0.79! Ha! That was the last time I saw them offer the $5 bonus in rewards and free shipping at the same time. Of course, all the toys and books baby girl has we didn't buy. We were gifted many new and second hand toys in addition to many books. Baby girl has so many toys, it's taken up two rooms more or less. Actually, I exaggerate. It just feels like it's taken up two rooms with the toys strewn about. In total, the toys and books cost us $82.53.

Well, that's it. That's all the baby stuff we purchased.

If you add everything up:

  • $729.52 for diapers (cloth and disposables), inserts, and wipes
  • $26.76 for vitamin d drops
  • $86.14 for kitchen stuff
  • $72.36 for clothing (Canada)
  • $321.89 for bedding (Canada)
  • $283.72 for clothing and bedding (from China)
  • $704.34 for gear (strollers, car seats, playpen, etc.)
  • $116.61 for health and safety
  • $82.53 for toys and books
Grand total: $2,423.87

These costs don't include the cost of doing laundry (hydro, water, and natural gas) or the original cost of the queen mattress baby girl is currently sleeping on. This also doesn't include the RESP contributions I made shortly after she was born and shortly after the new year kicked off. It also doesn't count the bidet we bought that doubles as a diaper sprayer (so much convenience and good for mommy and daddy's bum too). I also didn't count prenatal vitamins or maternity clothes for wifey. Prenatal vitamins replaced the vitamins wifey was eating previously. Cost is approximately the same. We got the vitamins from Costco. Always get them at Costco. Buying vitamins from Costco essentially covers the cost of membership. Wifey didn't get new clothes for her pregnancy. Instead, she wore more dresses and stuff. It was summer/early fall during the peak time of the pregnancy. Actually, she did buy one outfit specifically for the pregnancy. However, that didn't fit her, so now she's wearing it post partum***.

If you noticed, I didn't list a changing table or dresser or crib either.

In terms of a changing table, who needs the hassle or the danger? Instead, we change baby girl's diaper on the floor of our bathroom. If there's a mess it's easier to clean. Sound barbaric? Well, not really. She's not lying on the floor directly. Instead, we put the mattress we received in the baby box on the floor of our washroom. Baby girl never slept in the baby box plus she's too big for it now. So why not use the mattress? It actually works well as it's flat, has a fitted sheet, and the mattress is water resistant for those incidents in the middle of changing a diaper.

Since targeting an early retirement, wifey has been more lean with her clothing. In fact, she hasn't purchased any new clothing in a while (aside from that outfit meant to be worn during her pregnancy). That is mainly due to the fact that she has a lot of clothing already. Anyway, we've re purposed two of our drawers for baby clothing. Any clothing that is too small, we retire them by throwing them in the storage bin. Anything too big, stays in another storage bin. Anything else goes in the drawer. Pretty easy system. 

As for the crib, who needs it when you have a spare queen mattress? Actually, those are dangerous too when baby can climb up. Apparently, my sister fell out of her crib when she was a baby. She slept in a floor bed after that.

All in all, I was expecting everything to cost more. Actually, I was expecting a total of $5,000 or so. I definitely, didn't think everything would be half of that amount. Actually, the amount of cards I sold more than covered these expenses.

*Most of our expenses were covered in a sense because we received gift cards as gifts. If I look back, we received about $450 worth of gift cards. However, I'm still counting the expense as if we never received these gift cards.

** Technically, the stuff we bought from China was paid for by the mother-in-law as she has money there and wifey doesn't.

***It's funny, because this outfit looks like she forgot to put on her pants. It's okay, though. She's sleep deprived.


Popular Posts