My son's first year of life in Minnesota cost about $6,000. Here's every dollar we spent.

Ashley abramson with kidsCourtesy Ashley Abramson

  • When I had my second son in 2017, I was working from home as a freelance writer.
  • Because of that, I was able to take care of my baby at home without having to put him in daycare.
  • For healthcare, furniture, and other baby costs, we spent about $6,000 on our second child's first year of life.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

Raising a child can be expensive, and the first year is no exception - from diapers to doctor's appointments, there's a lot to budget for.

I'm grateful my husband has a job that provides health insurance to cover the majority of our family's healthcare costs, since that's often the most expensive part about having a child.

I'm also thankful we didn't have to pay for daycare for our kids because I was working from home, and we had generous family and friends to help babysit when needed.

Looking back on the first year of my second son's life, we spent a total of about $6,085 on his health, happiness, and needs. Here's how the cost of Miles' first year of life broke down, from February 2017 to February 2018 in Minneapolis:

Extra healthcare costs: $1,580

The first year of a baby's life involves a lot of doctor's appointments, especially during the first few months.

Between coming home from the hospital and his first birthday, my son probably saw the pediatrician at least 15 or 20 times for check-ups and problem visits for issues like ear infections and fevers. I was lucky to have insurance that covered these appointments.

Paying for extra healthcare costs was also a lot easier because we met our deductible when he was born in 2017, so all of the visits between March 2017 and December 2017 were totally taken care of.

The deductible reset in January 2018, and between January and February, he saw the pediatrician four times, totaling $80 in copays.

Just before his first birthday, he had a minor surgical procedure that required anesthesia. This was by far the most costly part of his first year, especially since the deductible had reset. We technically didn't pay this all at once because of a payment plan through the hospital, but our total responsibility was $1,500.

Health insurance premiums: $1,845

Having a baby adds lots of additional healthcare expenses, and for most parents, that number includes health insurance.

Our family health insurance premium costs $615 a month for all four of us, but it didn't increase at all when Miles was born - the cost is the same for all families under my husband's plan.

If you break it down per person, technically Miles would cost $153.75 a month, or $1,845 a year.

Childcare costs: $500

When I became a parent, I had to make a difficult decision: Would I stay at my office job and put most of my paychecks toward childcare, or stay home with my kids?

I never envisioned myself as a stay-at-home mom, but I ended up quitting my job after my first son was born because I couldn't imagine the added stress of parenting while working (plus, the commute would have been brutal).

That was in 2014. By the time I had my second son in 2017, my older son was in childcare three days a week so I could freelance as a writer.

I kept my second son home for his first year to make breastfeeding a bit easier, so we only paid for occasional babysitters during that time. Instead of putting him in daycare, I wrote when he was asleep (newborns sleep a lot) and when my husband was home. We also had a renter in our spare room who watched the baby for free from time to time.

In total, we probably paid about $500 during his first year for childcare, which I don't take for granted.

Many moms participate in baby-and-me activities during the first year, some of which cost money. I had many friends with kids, so I chose free play dates and trips to the library instead.

Baby gear: $550

Some of the most expensive costs associated with having a baby are the items you use every day, like a stroller, car seat, and crib.

Our older son's car seat had expired before our second baby was born (fun fact: every car seat has an expiration date), so we paid $200 for a new one.

We had given away our crib to a friend a few years prior, so we bought a similar (used) IKEA crib on Craigslist for $50 and a new crib mattress for $100.

Luckily, we had held on to our rocking chair, stroller, and baby swing, which saved us at least a few hundred dollars. We upgraded our son to a larger, rear-facing convertible car seat just before he turned 1, and that cost $200.

Food costs: $180

I chose to breastfeed my son for the first year, so we didn't have any costs for formula. He started eating solid foods occasionally around six months, and we probably paid $30/month for those six months on baby food, totaling about $180. (Those baby food pouches can get expensive.)

Diapers and wipes: $430

I'll admit I didn't keep track of how many diapers we changed during the first 12 months of my son's life (it was a lot). Some experts say parents go through, on average, 2,500 to 3,000 diapers in a child's first year.

We used the same generic diaper brand consistently, and the diapers currently cost around 11 cents per unit. So in total, I would estimate we paid around $330 for diapers and maybe $100 in wipes.

Miscellaneous: $1,000

The good thing about having two kids: hand-me-downs. I didn't have to buy too many clothes for my second son, since we had so many clothes already. I probably spent around $100 on clothing items here and there - it's always fun to get your child special outfits.

I'm also unfortunately kind of a sucker for toys and books, so we probably spent around $400 on those things in his first year (including Christmas gifts).

There were, of course, other miscellaneous costs that also came up (like baby shampoo, baby Tylenol, other toiletries, travel, and eating at restaurants), so I would estimate $500 total for those extras.

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