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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Planning for a Baby

Having a baby has been the craziest, best adventure yet. Those that know me, know I love to plan plan plan. One of the craziest things about birth and having kids is that it is unpredictable. Not too long ago, I had a friend ask me how I planned things, how I researched, so I decided to write out a few thoughts all in one place. I think one thing that As I researched, I wished so many times someone had written a blog with everything centralized.

Trying for a Baby

I won't spend too much time on this topic but let me just refer you to one of my favorite books, Taking Charge of Your Fertility. As women, I think it is important for us to understand what is going on in our bodies at any given time. It is important to understand ovulation and the process of conception. If you do struggle to get pregnant month after month, most doctors would want to see a chart of basal body temperature (BBT) and possibly cervical mucus, in order to create a course of action for you to get pregnant. 


There are a few different things you will want to budget for when preparing for a baby. I broke it down into three categories: Birth, Nursery, Baby. When we started talking about having a baby, the first thing we did was started budgeting $200/month to save up for baby expenses and start accounting for the additional day-to-day costs of another family member. Looking back, I may have increased this amount a little bit but we had a decent amount of time to plan.

I tried so hard to plan ahead for our natural birth and find the best possible option financially. Looking back, I wish I had done even more research and looked into more providers. More about this outlined below.

In the numbers below, these are all projected costs, not actual, although the actual costs were very close to those projected.


  1. Consider your max out-of-pocket in-network and out-of-newtork amount for your health insurance. Budget this amount. It is likely you will spend much, much less than this but if you are a planner like me, you like to plan for the maximum expense possible and have that amount saved. I created a little chart like the one to the right. For most people, you will choose to work with an in-network hospital. For me, I was considering birth center and midwife options and knew most of my options would be out-of-network so had to consider these deductibles. Our numbers are a little higher than some because we use a higher deductible insurance plan with an HSA. 
  2. Research providers. Most health insurance companies have a spot on their website where you can search hospitals and providers to see who is in network. If you would like to birth with a midwife, make sure you search for midwives and CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) on that site to see what some of your in-network options are. Almost all birth centers are out-of-network but there are some in-network midwives that can deliver at different birth centers or do a home birth. I wish I had looked into this a little more and birthed with an in-network midwife at home (next time!). 
  3. Research average expenses. A lot of insurance companies also have a spot on their website where you can look at average costs for different procedures. From my research in Utah, an in-hospital vaginal birth is around $8-10K (epidural is paid separately to the anesthesiologist and is around $1-2K without insurance) and a cesarean section is around $14-16K. These costs are all before insurance. Most people have 80/20 insurance. 
  4. Break down the costs. I have included a list below of some costs to consider. I was planning a natural birth and there were a lot of options I wanted to include as part of our birth, such as a Hypnobirthing class, placenta encapsulation, and belly binding. 
Max Family Out-of-Pocket $6,000
Doula $800
Birth Class $235
Placenta Encapsulation $100
Belly Binding $50 (purchased off of Etsy here and watched videos to learn how)
Breastfeeding Class(es) $100
Photography $800
Birthing Robe $50  
Chiropractor $400 (10x at $40/time)

For me, it was important to me to give birth in a birth center and a lot of the costs are broken down as individual line items so this is how I had my costs outlined on my budget, in addition to the Max Family Out-of-Pocket (In-Network) just in case of an emergency. 

Birth Center $3,100
Ultrasound $165
Rhogam Shots (I have O Negative blood) $538
Beta Strep Antibiotic $95
Vitamin K Injection $45
Eye Antibiotic $45
Newborn Metabolic Screening (PKU) $185 


See more photos and details about our nursery here
  1. Map out the big items first. Do you want a crib, changing table, bassinet/side sleeper, glider/rocker? Most people will tell you that you do not need all of it and I definitely agree; however, we love how our nursery turned out and have used every piece of furniture in there. We love to hang out in there and baby loves his homemade mobile. 
  2. Create a theme and decide on paint (if you want). We went with an African safari theme with yellow walls because we wanted to keep it gender neutral. I found the design for our crib sheet and changing pad on Etsy but did not want to pay $80 for a crib sheet so found the fabric on another site and my cousin helped me to make them.
  3. Wait until the baby shower(s). You will get a lot of items at your baby shower(s) so wait to see what you get before purchasing anything. A lot of people like to use their nursery theme for their baby shower to have people bring things to match their theme. 
  4. Buy used. Especially for the nursery, in my opinion, it is best to buy used since kids will definitely leave their marks as they get older. Our used crib has some scratches on the bar and the dresser is a little scratched but you can hardly tell and they look and work great. Save money here! All of the costs for a baby add up so quickly. 
Bassinet/Side Sleeper $50
Dresser with changing table $200
Bookshelf $100
Crib Sheets $30
Paint for Nursery $50
Decorations $50


I could go on and on about stuff for baby. There are so many options and items and so many things you really do not need. Again, a lot of the suggestions I gave previously for a nursery apply here: buy used and wait until after the baby shower. We bought most of our items via KSL. Here are a few thoughts on strollers and carseats.

  • Travel Systems: I originally thought we would go with this option but everyone I talked to said they were so bulky and the strollers they come with are not usually as versatile. 
  • Carseats: We borrowed an infant car seat from a close friend and it has been so nice to have! It is really nice for when baby is asleep and you need to go somewhere. I initially thought we would buy a convertible car seat from the beginning but it is worth it to have an infant car seat in those first few months. We love our Chicco Keyfit 30. We did buy a convertible car seat with extra gift cards we had. We ended up going with a Britax Marathon and it is bulky but we really do like it and it is very safe. 
  • Strollers: We initially bought a Britax B-Agile just to have for something simple but ended up not liking it because the plastic wheels were difficult to maneuver on long walks. We ended up trading it in for a City Mini GT and LOVE it! We use our baby carrier the majority of the time out and about and use our City Mini GT for long walks/mini jogs. We love the versatile rubber tires for all-terrain. I wish I had just purchased a jogging stroller from the beginning but it was difficult to know before baby came. I'm sure our stroller usage will change and adapt as baby gets older and we have more kids. I'm looking to get a City Select when we have baby #2. 
  • Baby Carrier: For a soft-structured carrier, I recommend a Lillebaby or an Ergo. I also love woven and stretchy wraps (love our Solly Baby). Check out your local Babywearing International chapter to try different carriers and learn more about babywearing. 
  • Diapers: We love cloth diapering and save so much money. For Braden, it was all about saving money, for me, it was more about chemicals and the environment. We bought most of our stash used from a local online Facebook community and didn't spend more than $300. Things are going well so far but it will be easy enough to sell and get new ones if we want to try other brands. We bought prefolds and covers for our newborn stash and then mostly BumGenius 4.0 pocket diapers for our main stash. Although we have a few BumGenius AIO Elementals that we love (but more expensive!). We bought pockets and AIOs for our main stash since I work full-time and we will be doing daycare so these feel more like normal diapers, just with snaps. 
  • Bottles & Pumps: Even if you are planning to breastfeed and do not work, you will likely eventually want to introduce a bottle. Start with one bottle that you think baby might like. I highly recommend the Phillips Avent Natural. From what I have seen and heard, this one is the most common and great at forcing a wide latch. If baby will not take a bottle and you need to buy different ones, do it one at a time to save money. I also got a lot of free bottles from different events and from setting up registries that I held onto. I had six different bottles when baby was born. I also recommend having both an electric and manual pump on hand in case things don't go as planned (read more about our breastfeeding journey). Remember: You can get a free electric breastpump through your insurance - I love my Medela Pump in Style Double Electric. 

Here is a little breakdown of expected costs for baby items:

Carseat $200 (just for our convertible carseat, another $200 for an infant Chicco Keyfit 30)
Stroller $200
Baby Carrier $100 (bought an Ergo Mesh Performance on Zulilly for $70)
Diaper Bag $50 (we love our Skip Hop Duo French Stripe - works great with bulkier cloth diapers too!)
Baby Monitor $20 (we opted for a simple audio monitor that has been prefect for us)
Diapers (Cloth) $300 (bought most of these used from an online facebook community)
Bottles $20
Breast Pump $30 (Manual pump)

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