The cost of a baby
The monthly costs of caring for a baby don’t have to break the bank.
With our first baby, we went shopping! Everything had to be new and of the best quality. There was a master list of the things that we had to have. Not just any pram, it had to be a travelling system. Not just a cot, but the best design. You can spend a fortune on your kids, but what is the absolute necessities when having a baby? If you have to work on the strictest budget, what are the essentials? The biggest question of all, what does it all cost?

After my fourth baby, I’ve realised that to have a baby doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. There are a few things that you cannot do without, but for the most, babies are not really that expensive.

The first essential item that you have to purchase on a monthly basis is nappies. You can do this in one of two ways. You can buy either cloth nappies (and spend the monthly money on washing costs) or you can buy disposable nappies. Don’t think that buying the cheapest disposable nappies are going to save you money because it doesn’t. I believe in using the best on the market. The difference in quality far outweighs the difference in cost. By using the best quality your baby’s bum is better protected and you can leave a wet nappy on for longer if necessary. My 2-month-old baby girl uses one jumbo pack of nappies per month. This costs between R230 to R250 per month.

The second essential item is feeding. The cheapest alternative is breastfeeding, and this is the route that I’m taking. I do buy a small tin of formula about once a month as a backup option. My third son was on formula after his heart operation and I used a 900g tin of formula on a weekly basis when he was 5 months old. Looking at the prices of formula on Pick n Pay’s online shopping that would work out to about R360 per month for formula. It’s also possible to breastfeed an adopted baby, read this mother’s experience.

Those two are the big cost items that you need to buy on a monthly basis. To this you can add the following:
  • Wipes – I used to buy the best, but the competition has improved so much in the last few years, that I now buy cheaper alternatives without any complaints. I spend about R60 per month on wipes, but you can use a wet face cloth in place of the wipes.
  • Barrier cream – This is another area that I don’t buy cheap. I use a 300g Bennetts tub per month to prevent nappy rash. It’s about R50 per tub, but works out cheaper than buying the smaller sizes.
  • Nappy bags – The best bargain I’ve discovered is the Caring Angels disposal bags. A packet of 150 bags costs you just under R30 and lasts you for more than a month. I don’t use a nappy bag with wet nappies, only with the dirty ones.
  • From 4 to 6 months you also have to start buying food. I prefer the baby cereal that you have to add milk. One packet of cereal costs between R11 to R20. In the beginning you will not need to buy more than one packet per month. Once they reach the age of 1 year, you need to buy about 3 packets per month. For veggies and fruit you can use fresh produce and prepare your babies food yourself. It’s more nutritious and cost effective.
Grand monthly total: R720 including formula

Have a look at the once-off 'start-up costs'.

Do you think this is a fair assessment of the monthly costs of babycare?

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