Thursday 21 September 2017

Parents can pay a king's ransom for first year of baby's life

PROUD NEW MUM: Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her baby, Prince George
PROUD NEW MUM: Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her baby, Prince George
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

ENGLAND'S new royal baby, Prince George, stands to inherit as much as €760m, according to the international wealth research firm, Wealth X. With an inheritance like that, little George is unlikely to ever want for anything financially.

Most of the babies born in Ireland today have no chance of getting an inheritance anything like that of the royal prince. Furthermore, while his parents, William and Kate, won't escape the challenges of parenthood, money worries are unlikely to keep them awake at night – unlike many Irish parents.

Cuddly and cute as a newborn baby can be, you could have to cough up as much as €45,000 in your first year as a parent, the Sunday Independent has found.

Here are some of the scariest baby costs.

THE DELIVERY

UP TO €5,000

If you have your baby as a public patient in a public hospital, you won't pay anything for antenatal care or the delivery of your baby.

If, however, you want semi-private or private care, you could pay €5,000 or more, according to Emily Manning, editor with eumom.ie, a website for mothers and expectant mums.

"Private fees vary, based on the consultant and the hospital – but are usually no less than €3,500," said Manning. "Each consultant's price will vary, even if within the same hospital."

If you have private health insurance, your insurance will cover some of the costs of semi-private or private care, depending on your insurer and plan. You will, however, have to make up for any shortfall not covered by your insurer – and this shortfall could easily run into thousands of euro.

With Dublin's Rotunda Hospital for example, you must pay €1,200 for semi-private maternity care even if you have private health insurance. If you want your semi-private care to be consultant-led, rather than through the hospital and your local GP, the fee is €1,800. If you choose private care with the Rotunda, the fee you pay (on top of what your insurer covers) is €2,300 upwards.

NAPPIES

€613 PLUS A YEAR

A newborn baby could go through nine nappies a day. Although this will gradually come down to between five and six nappies a day, nappy bills are almost as much a shock as your first nappy-changing experiences will be.

A 124-box of Pampers nappies costs €34.99 in some retailers, or about 28c a nappy. So if you go through six nappies a day, that adds up to about €613 a year – and you'll pay more if you buy smaller packs of nappies as they work out more expensive.

THE FAMILY CAR

€10,000 to €30,000

That open-top two-seater Porsche that was so much fun in your young, free and single days will become redundant if kids appear.

Instead, the safety rating of your car – as well as the size of its boot and back seat – will be your main concerns. You need plenty of room for car seats – not to mention prams, changing bags, travel cots, bottle sterilisers and tricycles.

A new family car could easily cost about €30,000. The Toyota Prius and Nissan Qashqai are often considered good family cars because of their large boots and spacious cabins. However, a new model of either could set you back about €29,000. Second-hand models work out a bit cheaper – you could pick up a 2008 Qashqai for €15,000 or a 2008 Prius for about €10,000.

CAR SEATS UP TO €700

By the time your bundle of joy reaches the age of four, you could have forked out €700 on car seats – more if you decide to add to your brood. It is against the law to carry a child as a passenger in a car unless they're in a car seat – and by the age of four, your baby will have gone through at least three car seats.

The first car seat, which usually carries babies up until the age of about a year-and-a-half, generally costs between €120 and €200. The second car seat, which is suitable for children up to the age of four, could easily cost a couple of hundred euro. If you're buying an ISOFIX model – typically the safest type of car seat and the easiest model to transfer into another car, you could pay almost €300 for your second car seat.

When your child is four years old, he or she usually needs a high-back booster seat. Although some of the cheaper high-back booster seats cost about €40, some of the more expensive models are around the €200 mark.

THE NURSERY

€1,000 PLUS

If you get carried away, you could spend a few grand kitting out and decorating a nursery.

The basics include the cot, changing station and wardrobe – and if you're buying all of these new, you could easily spend at least €1,000. A new cot usually costs between €100 and €200 – or between €300 and €500 for a model which converts into a toddler bed. You will have to buy a cot mattress as well – and this will usually set you back between €50 and €200, depending on the type of mattress.

Babies usually sleep in a Moses basket in the early months. Expect to pay between €40 and €100 for a Moses basket – and about €20 for a mattress.

A changing station – for changing nappies – could cost anything from €100 to €1,000, depending on how fancy you want it to be.

If you haven't already got a wardrobe for your nursery, a new one could cost a couple of hundred euro – not to mention the clothes you'll put in it.

OUT AND ABOUT

UP TO €580

Window-shopping and leisurely strolls on the beach become a thing of the past when you have a baby to cart around with you.

Clunky prams quickly turn those enjoyable pastimes into nightmares. Baby slings make getting out and about with your little one a bit easier – and you'll usually pay about €80 for a standard BabyBjorn baby sling.

Unless you're Superwoman or Superman, however, your chances of carrying your baby in a sling every time you go out are slim. A new pram, pushchair or stroller could set you back between €300 and €500.

BABY MILK

€500 PLUS A YEAR

If bottlefeeding your baby, a tub of baby formula typically costs around €12 – so if you get through one-and-a-half tubs every two weeks, your bill for baby formula comes to around €470 a year.

If your baby has an allergy to cow's milk, you'll pay a lot more. Neocate formula for example is designed for babies and toddlers with a cow's milk allergy. If your hospital or doctor prescribes Neocate for your baby, you'll pay €1,728 a year for this formula – or more if you don't qualify for the drugs payment scheme, which restricts the amount you pay on prescribed medication to €144 a month.

You will also have to buy baby bottles (typically around €14 for two), bottle teats (could be around €4.50 for two), and a bottle steriliser (usually between €40 and €80).

If breastfeeding your baby, you'll save a fortune in baby formula and bottles. Breastfeeding mums still have expenses though. You'll "leak" so unless you're happy to constantly go around with two wet patches on your top or T-shirt, you'll have to wear breast pads. A pack of 50 breast pads could cost around €7 and you'll easily go through two packs a month – which adds up to €84 over six months.

If you're a mum planning a night out, you'll usually have to express your milk in advance so that your baby has something to drink while you're out. You'll need a breast pump to express and a good one could cost between €100 and €125.

THE CRECHE

UP TO €7,200

The initial costs of having a baby usually pale in comparison to the bills you'll face if you send your child to a creche.

In some parts of the country, the cost of childcare is up to €1,200 a month, says Manning.

So if you send them off to creche when they're six months, you could have to cough up €7,200 in fees by the time your child is one. Still broody?

Sunday Independent

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