Raising a newborn

A reader once commented, even though he has no kids now, but he would envisage minimal outlay when he has one, perhaps mainly the diapers and milk powder.

To be honest, raising a child is not exactly that expensive an affair. It is also highly dependent on the expectations of the parents, and striking a balance between the needs and the wants. Many parents would comment that raising a kid is not cheap, but subsequently the older they get, it might get more expensive since that is also the time that they start sourcing for additional enrichment classes, which probably leaves for a separate debate.

However, for the purpose of this blogpost, the discussion would be focused on the comment made in the first paragraph.

It is true that diapers and milk powder are the main outlay for raising a kid initially. However, there is also the initial preparation outlay. If you are successfully breastfeeding, good for you, not only does it provide a healthy boost for the baby, you will also save on the cost of the milk powder. However, if not, there are a few items that are coupled together, including, milk bottles, steriliser, etc. Granted that they are mainly a one time outlay, but it is still an outlay nevertheless and should be taken into consideration.

Next, diapers.

Woah…. one might argue that we can go for the cheaper brands and do not need to buy the more expensive premium brands. That is true. In fact, we started Ally on the so called more premium brands, and slowly transited her to the cheaper brands when she’s older. As for Asher, we started him on the cheap brands, but find that we had to get him the premium brands subsequently.

For the premium brands, there’s a reason why they might be much more premium, cost double but yet parents are willing to splurge on them. For both our kids, the premium brands cutting suit them better (less redness around the thighs) and less diaper rash (for some reason). For Ally, we slowly transited her to the cheaper brands when she is older where her skin is less sensitive. For Ashton, we started him on the cheap brands but realised that his skin was sensitive to them and he was getting some redness around his butt so we changed him to the more premium brand, and the redness went away eventually.

Of course, this is a case to case basis and is not true for all babies. But for us, I guess we would rather spend more for a premium brand for their butt comfort.

Other than that, there are also other one time outlay such as a baby cot or crib, stroller, baby carriers or recurring ones such as baby wipes, toiletries, clothes etc (some of which might be optional for some parents but having say that, there’s still a suite of items to prepare).

Is that all the cost there is to it?

I would think that one of the areas where you probably will not be able to anticipate, is the amount of medical cost outlay for the newborn baby.

For a normal healthy baby, there might be minimal outlay and that is also what every parent would wish for – giving birth to a healthy baby, without any complications.

However, this might not be the case for all. Jaundice is a common occurrence in Asian babies, and I know of many friends whose babies developed jaundice in the first few days (although we were lucky that both Ally and Ashton did not). Although easily treatable via phototherapy, that would also incur an extra few days of stay at the hospital and these are not cheap, I understand from a friend that his son had to stay for almost an extra week and that was in the thousands (disclaimer – he stayed at a private hospital). Also, there are the follow up treatments, consultations etc. and these would also add up considerably.

Aside from jaundice, there are also many other neonatal ailments (many of which might not be serious) which might require extra care or treatment, and these would often add up to the medical bill. Compared to the outlay of diapers and milk powder, these are enormous amounts.

Every parent would wish to give birth to a healthy, normal baby. However, sometimes during this fulfiling yet challenging journey, there are times where we would need to seek medical advice and treatment. It could be something as simple as a developmental assessment, which cost almost nothing if you visit a polyclinic or a flu and cough which needs to be treated. At other times, it could be something much worse. Dave was sharing with me that a friend of his whose wife had given birth earlier this month, the baby had to be placed in neo-natal ICU as there was an issue with his lung development. We wish the family all the best and that the baby can recover soon but these are also cost, that could not have been anticipated.

And insurance probably doesn’t cover some of these.

As parents, we will be willing to spend the money to seek the appropriate treatment for our kid, despite the cost.

Just that sometimes, that could be quite high.

And unanticipated.

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