Having a baby can be an exciting time in your life, but it’s important that you know the costs involved. Whether you have health insurance or not, the cost of prenatal care and check-ups, the delivery, and caring for your baby after birth can be very expensive - and then you still have to add on the costs of all the things you need for your new child.
So here are some tips to help you reduce the costs of having a baby:
- Consider generic medicines
Talk to your obstetrician/gynaecologist when they prescribe new medications to you about the available generic medications, and if they are a viable alternative in your case.
Over the counter prenatal vitamins and supplements can also be a viable alternative to prescription supplements if cleared by your doctor, as generally it’s just important for them to contain the recommended doses of folic acid and DHA.
- Get maternity clothes at discount stores for free
Consider borrowing maternity clothes from your friends who have had kids already, or organise a clothes swap with your friends where they each bring 3-5 items of maternity clothes they don’t want or need any more in exchange for clothes that you no longer fit into. If you need to buy new (but still want cheap) clothes, consider shopping at discount retailers such as Target and Kmart.
- Choose cloth nappies over disposables
Although disposable nappies will be more convenient for keeping your baby clean, they cost a lot more than cloth nappies. If disposables are the only feasible option for you, then try and buy them in bulk to make them more economical in cost.
If you are able to handle cloth nappies, this is both an economical and environmentally-friendly option.
- Choose breastfeeding over formula if possible
Breastfeeding can save new parents a lot more money than if you use baby formula, and it is also the recommended form of feeding by the World Health Organisation and the Australian Breastfeeding Association. However, for some mums and babies breastfeeding isn’t an option. If you fall in the latter category, you can visit the websites of baby formula makers and see if they have any coupons, free samples or discounts available to save some money.
- Have your health insurance provider pay for costs where eligible
You can do this by choosing a contracted hospital.
CBHS provides their members with benefits towards a wide range of prenatal, antenatal and postnatal costs, and give their members a two month period after the birth during which their child needs to be added to their health insurance policy for all waiting periods to be waived and medical bills to be covered if necessary.
It is recommended that you contact your private health insurance provider to find out exactly what you’ll be expected to pay according to your policy’s benefits, such as whether you’ll have a gap to pay or if the cost will be considered an out-of-pocket expense.
- Check your bill
There may be errors on your hospital bill, such as being charged twice for a procedure or for procedures and medications that you didn’t receive. These could lead to a large out-of-pocket expense and a big hassle to clear up. You can get these fixed by talking directly to your hospital.
- Check if you’re eligible for government benefits
These include Parental Leave Pay, Family Tax Benefit and Dad and Partner Pay. Also, depending on how much you earn and your assets, you could be eligible for other benefits such as Parenting Payment and a Health Care Card. There are other payments for families that you may also be entitled to, which you can check out at the Department of Human Services website.
- Consider your childcare options
If you or your partner will be returning to work straight after or some time following the birth, you’ll need to think about who’s going to take care of your baby and what will be the cheapest, most convenient option. Your options include:
- Your partner
- Relatives or friends
- A childcare centre or family daycare
- A workplace childcare centre
- A nanny/au pair.
You can also check if you’re eligible for the Child Care Benefit or Rebate, which can contribute towards the cost of childcare.