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How Much it Costs to have a Baby in the UK

Like most parents to be, nothing prepares you for the first time experience of having a baby. The experience is both crazy and magical, exhausting and extremely satisfying. Today, having a baby is expensive, which may explain why many couples choose to have a baby well past their 30s. This is unlike the past (Baby Boomer generation) when couples had their first baby in their early 20s.

The financial burden of having a baby is due to a combination of costs. This is despite couples contributing 50/50 to household costs. In the UK, employees are usually entitled to up to a year of maternity leave.

When you request maternity leave, your employer will give you a date for returning to work, but they assume you’ll be away for a year. During this period, you’ll continue receiving your pay but not in full for that entire year.

Taking maternity leave for a year without full pay is scary. The good news is with a budget and knowing upfront what costs you may incur for raising a baby, you can keep costs down.

In this post, we explore how much it costs to have a baby in the UK.

What Is the Average Cost to Have a Baby?

According to the recent Cost of a Child Report from Child Poverty Action Group, the basic cost of raising a child for a couple in the UK is £74,333. This covers rent and childcare until the child is of age 18 years. For a lone parent family, the cost of raising a child is £102,620. The cost can increase up to £187,000 when you take into account the economy and inflation.

In the first month, the average cost of raising a baby in the UK is £500. For many people, that’s a lot of money to find each month. Here is how most families spend the £500…

  • Clothing –  £243
  • Furniture and toys – £183
  • Nappies – £23
  • Feeding equipment – £53

The total for year one is a whopping £6,000, but when you add in costs from the other eleven months, the total will rise to £11,000 to £15,000. With many taking maternity leave and a cut in their pay, this will surely place a strain on your budget. Experts estimate that parents will spend more than £63,000 on childcare fees alone between year one and four.

In the UK, sending your child to a childminding service or childcare will cost you £124 per week (part-time) and £232 per week (full time). Depending on your location, working hours, and overtime, childcare costs may increase.

There is free early childcare for children aged 3 to 4. Each child is usually entitled to 570 hours of free early childcare every year. This translates to 15 hours each week for 38 weeks.

If both parents are working or each parent earns an equivalent of 16 hours a week or earns less than £100,000 a year, add 15 more hours. Most parents are not prepared for this. Besides childcare costs, you’ve baby essentials.

Cost of Baby Essentials Before Childbirth

Besides childcare costs, you cannot avoid the cost of baby essentials such as a cot or pram.

Cot Bed and Mattress

It’s essential to have a cot bed and mattress that complies with British safety standards. On the market, you’ll find standard cots and bigger models that you can convert into a toddler bed. When shopping for a cot bed and mattress, you need to consider the following:

  • Quality
  • Teething rails
  • Storage
  • Adjustable mattress height
  • Cot-top changer
  • Weight
  • Mobility

Retailers in the UK such as Argos or Amazon UK offer cot beds with mattresses at around £150. On branded cots, you can spend more than £1,000, but this is unnecessary. There is more you can do with the £1,000.

Some models have the cot bed and mattress as separate deals. In this case, the cot bed will cost around £125 while the mattress costs £30. Shop around at retailers such as John Lewis. They sell compliant cot beds and mattresses.

Blankets and Fitted Sheets

Sheets and blankets play a key role when it comes to the baby’s comfort. To avoid overheating, look for light blankets and sheets. The John Lewis dinosaur pram blanket goes for £25, while the Woolino Merino 4 Season Toddler blanket is £79.99 each. Personalised Patterned Cotton Baby Blanket is £42.

According to the Sleep Foundation, cotton is the best choice for baby sheets. The material is natural, soft and breathable. Its downside is that the sheet is not pre-shrunk. With washing, it could shrink. Besides material, consider thread count, ease of care, feel, weave and price.

Before buying, it’s wise to take measurements. Standard cribs and cots in the UK have the following measurements…

  • 35 by 80cm
  • 55 by 90cm

For great deals, check out ASDA and other retailers.

Car Seat and Pushchair

The average parent in the UK spends £340 on a pushchair. You can find models going for £750 to £1,000+. Since the aim is to keep costs down, we recommend shopping around and buying a model that goes for £300 or less.

A car seat is an essential accessory. On average, a UK parent spends £144 on a car seat. Certain models require a base to attach the seat to the car. This means the base comes as a separate unit, an additional cost of up to £100. A car seat is a good investment. To save, look for a model that lasts up to 4 years.

We recommend the following models…

Maxi-Cosi Mica 360° Rotative Car Seat

Britax Römer Car Seat

CYBEX Gold Sirona S i-Size Child’s Car Seat

Some have an ISOFIX base, while others can rotate up to 360°.

Clothes and Changing Bag

When it comes to baby clothes, it’s easy to blow your budget. Every parent wants their baby to look cute in trendy outfits and accessories such as shoes. As such, they spend hundreds of pounds every month on clothes. Instead of spending hundreds of pounds on clothes, why not spend up to £50 per month.

Even when it comes to a changing bag, you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds. Avoid designer bags and go for ordinary changing bags that go for £50

Breast Pump and Related Accessories

You have an electric and manual breast pump. The electric model is slightly expensive but efficient compared to the manual model. Also, it saves time. If buying a breast pump, spend less than £100 and half that amount on breast pads and nursing bras.

A starter kit usually accompanies the majority of baby bottles today. It includes essentials such as a bottle cleaning brush. Spend £15 to £25 on baby bottles with a starter kit.

Night Light and Baby Monitor

Baby monitors use special sensors to track a baby’s movements while sleeping. If the sensor detects unexpected movement, the monitor will alert you. These devices can also monitor heart rate, breathing and temperature. If buying a baby monitor, avoid pricey models. Instead, buy models that go for £40 or less.

Like baby monitors, a night light is useful too. Shop for models that have a night light and other accessories such as a room thermometer. Best night lights to buy include:

  • VAVA Nursery Night Light
  • Hatch Baby Rest Night Light and Sound Machine
  • VTech Baby Critters Soothing Night Light
  • VAVA Lamp Bedside Night Light

Wash and Baby Essentials

  • Hairbrush and nail clippers – £10
  • Thermometer – £15
  • Moisturiser and bubble bath – £5
  • Nappies – £10
  • Wipes – £10
  • Bowls, weaning utensils and bib – £15
  • High chair – £12
  • Toys – £60
  • Sterilising equipment – £15
  • Muslin cloth – £20

The total cost for all the items above is between £1,000 to £2,000.

Money-Saving Advice For New Parents

First laugh, first smile and other moments are incredible. But spending £1,000 to £2,000 on baby essentials plus £500 on childcare is expensive. Few families can afford £1,500 to £2,500 on childcare and baby essentials. The good news is, if you’re having a baby and have no money, you can afford childcare and baby essentials.

In fact, most of the stuff you can get for free. Want to know how you can accomplish this? Here are money-saving tips for new parents.

Stick to the Essentials

When shopping for baby stuff, it’s easy to get carried away. To save your house from debt, resist the temptation. Instead of buying what you want, buy what your baby needs.

Start by making a shortlist of essential baby items. For example, you can buy a cot bed, mattress, sheets, blankets, clothes, nappies, feeding essentials, baby car seat and pushchair.

From the list, you’ve eliminated items such as night light, baby monitor, breast pump, high chair and sterilising equipment. While this stuff is helpful, you don’t have to break the bank. Shop affordably.

Buy Second-Hand Baby Stuff

A couple of years back, many parents shied away from buying second-hand stuff. But today, things have changed. As a new parent, it’s essential to be frugal. There is a lot of stuff you can buy from a second-hand market.

  • Clothes
  • Toys
  • Cots
  • Pushchairs
  • Swing
  • Bouncy seat
  • Baby monitors and much more.

Preloved is one of the best online marketplaces where you can shop for second-hand baby stuff. They’ve everything – from clothes to playpens. By buying second-hand baby stuff, you’ll save a lot of money to go towards other essential expenses such as food and bills.

Prepare a Family Budget

A budget helps you manage your money effectively. It helps you allocate resources wisely, meet your objects, improve decision-making, and plan for the future. Without a budget, it’s easy to fall into temptation. Preparing a family budget helps you to get grips with your finances.

To get started…

  • Set aside an hour.
  • Gather all the necessary paperwork such as bank statements, credit card bills, and household bills.
  • If you or your spouse have side hustles, get that information.

Next, add your income from regular earnings, savings, self-employment and investments. Calculate what you’ve earned in the past three months. Calculate your essential spending.

Categorise the payments so that you can track where your cash is going. Draw up a budget that you can stick to. Use your compulsory spending figures and average earnings to estimate your disposable income.

Once you prepare your family budget, keep track of your spending.

Read: How to plan an effective budget.

Collect a Free Baby Box

In Scotland, the Parent Club gives away a Baby Box as a welcome gift. The box itself comes with bedding and a mattress providing a safe and comfy place for your baby to sleep. Besides the beddings, the box is full of clothes and other useful things.

  • A digital ear thermometer
  • A changing mat
  • A bath towel
  • Books
  • Mattress protector

To get a Baby Box in Scotland, talk to your midwife. Your midwife will help you register during your 18 to 28-week antenatal appointment.

Look Out for Discount Codes

To save on baby stuff you really want:

  • Look out for discount codes
  • Before shopping for baby stuff online or in-store, do a quick search for voucher codes or offers.

They have some of the best discount codes and offers to help you save money. For example, you can get up to 10% off Baby Wishlist orders over £200 at Amazon UK. At Boden, you can get up to 60% off Baby coats and Jackets.

Another site where you can find discount codes and offers is HotUKDeals. You can get 20% off selected Lego Duplo at Argo or 10 pounds off when you spend on Baby Products at John Lewis and Partners.

Boost Your Income With a Side Hustle

If money is tight, there are ways to boost your income. You can sell your old stuff on eBay. For example, you can sell your old desktop computer, TV, smartphones and other stuff. Besides eBay, you can sell on Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace.

Are you a computer programmer, web developer, SEO specialist, digital marketer or social media marketer? Make money from your skills in your spare time. You can use freelance sites such as Upwork and Fiverr.

Another way to use your skills and make money is online tutoring. The majority of online learning sites are looking for tutors experienced in English. As an online tutor, you can make between $10 to $50 per hour, depending on your qualification level

Final Thoughts

In the UK, free prescriptions and dental care are available to new mums. Getting your teeth checked can help you save. As your baby grows, maintain the cost-cutting measures above.

For example, continue buying second-hand stuff such as toys and clothes. When it comes to childcare, swap with other mums you trust in your locality. Childcare costs between £100 to £200 every month.