4 Things To Financially Consider Before Having a Baby

Have you been thinking about having a baby lately?


Did this decision come about when your sister and her husband asked you to babysit their well-behaved 5-year old son for the weekend? Specifically, did you make this decision somewhere between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning? Perhaps, while you were looking at your nephew’s poreless skin, deep in slumber as he enjoyed the rest only people living rent-free enjoy? Or maybe it was after you read him his favorite storybook and he squeezed you goodnight but his cute little arms couldn’t quite go all the way around but the effort was overwhelmingly endearing?


Somewhere, between all of this unbelievable amount of cuteness, you decided you desperately need a baby. I don’t blame you. Babies, just like all things tiny, soft, and cuddly with a high-level dependency (often confused for unconditional love) have a way of really tugging at the heartstrings.


Jokes aside. Undoubtedly, parenthood is a remarkably rewarding experience. Raising a child is no walk in the park, so shout-out to all the parents!  However, if you’re considering becoming a first-time parent, any veteran parent will tell you, it’s important to make serious financial considerations ensuring that you are ready to give you and your child the life you both deserve. 


Here are some things to take note of:


  1. Cost of giving birth 


People often talk about financially preparing for the cost of raising a child, but there is an ACTUAL cost of having a child. Whether it’s a natural birth or a caesarian, in most countries, there is a price tag attached to physically birthing a child. For instance, in Kenya, maternity packages at private hospitals in Nairobi can range from KES. 10,000 to KES. 220,000. Some of these packages include antenatal and post-natal care, consultations, immunizations, and various benefits. If you have health insurance, some of these costs might be subsidized, but if you go into a private hospital heavily pregnant with intentions of giving birth, you will almost always pay something. Before having your child, it’s recommended that you and your partner research the different maternity packages available to you and work to save towards one that’s most fitting for your family.



  1. Health insurance 


If you’re having your baby with a partner you’re legally married to, you may be entitled to their employee health insurance. Simply checking if you qualify, could go a long way in cutting maternity costs. 


Prior to having a baby, most insurance companies recommend you check your cover at least a year in advance. Some health insurance companies have complex administrative processes that might conflict with delivery dates and land you in very hot financial waters. To avoid this, check with your insurance company that your delivery date falls within your coverage and go as far as double-checking what you’re covered for. It might also be worth checking that your NHIF payments are up-to-date. If so, NHIF could subsidize your hospital bill even further - great news! If not, they could increase it -not so great news. 


Before your baby comes, a simple administrative check-in with your insurance company on status/coverage options really goes a long way in financially planning for your child’s arrival. Also,  it could save you thousands if not hundreds of thousands in hospital bills, so why not?



  1. Emergency fund


An emergency fund for children is something that often falls by the wayside of other major child-preparation costs but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as important. Like I said earlier, babies are completely dependent on their parents, which means you can’t rely on them to do anything for themselves - especially taking care of themselves. Have you ever heard of a toddler breaking their arm because they wanted to see if they could fly? Or perhaps a toddler breaking their leg after falling from a tree because they were trying to copy their new friend aka the neighborhood cat?


Chaotic.


Children are highly accident-prone and the last thing you need is to be rushing your child to the emergency room and not having the funds to pay for their care. Or getting into debt because you don’t have the funds for their care. Experts recommend saving about 3-6 months living expenses for an emergency fund but you can also research the rates and health care packages in your region to make an adequate estimation as to how much you need because trust me -you will need it.


  1. Clothing 


“He’s getting so big!” 


Every Auntie in the history of Auntie has said this. 


They. Are. Not. Lying.


Babies grow incredibly quickly, which also means they outgrow their clothes incredibly quickly.


According to the 2010 Expenditures on children and family report, it was found that Americans spend about 6% of their income on children’s clothes. If we translated this into Kenya, that would mean, as a new parent, if you were earning about KES. 100,000 a month, you would spend about KES. 6000 a month on baby clothes. That adds up to about KES. 72,000 a year. Yikes.


I know this seems a little overwhelming but it’s the reality of things. Young children outgrow their clothes at an alarming rate, so despite the number of onesies you get from well-meaning family members, they still won’t be enough to save you a pretty penny on this one. If you’re someone who finds the thought of spending 6% of your income on buying new clothes for your baby overwhelming, you might want to consider reaching out to older family members who are also parents and asking if they have hand-me-downs that your baby could wear? 


How ‘used’ could a 3-month old onesie be? After all, babies are in bed all day!


If you want to spend the money, I suggest doing your due diligence and finding out how much you would need to save to comfortably purchase new baby clothes every month for the next year or so. 


These are just a few tips to help you start thinking about parenthood more financially in order to better plan for your future family. Good luck! 


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