Making Cents: Baby's first year can cost parents a staggering €10k according to new survey

It will come as no surprise to parents to hear that a child’s first year is not only life-changing, it can also be eye-wateringly expensive. Grainne McGuinness on the latest research from the BabyDoc Club.
Making Cents: Baby's first year can cost parents a staggering €10k according to new survey
Poppy Erskine-Neligan pictured at the launch of BabyDoc Club - Cost of Baby's 1st Year Research. 

Now an Irish parenting group, the BabyDoc Club, has unveiled research showing just how much is spent in that first year. 

The research, with over 1,450 parents, concluded that the average expenditure on a baby from birth to their first birthday is €10,546.

The BabyDoc Club parents calculated their actual average spend across 12 universal baby spend categories at €6,076 for the first year of life.

When six months full-time childcare was included for the 61% of working parents, the total cost came to €10,546.

The research revealed the most expensive purchase for the most parents is the baby's travel system, including a car seat, with over €1,000 being spent by 53% of parents. Racking up the next biggest bill is baby's nursery furniture with 4 in 10 parents spending between €500 to €1,000 on cots, cribs, wardrobes, changing stations and décor.

While parents are generally happy to buy some baby essentials second-hand, 94% insist on buying baby's bedding brand new. 

Baby's car seat must also be new for 89% of parents and buggy for 73% of parents. Baby clothing was generally accepted as the best baby basic to buy second hand for 61% of parents. 

Poppy Erskine-Neligan pictured at the launch of BabyDoc Club - Cost of Baby's 1st Year Research.
Poppy Erskine-Neligan pictured at the launch of BabyDoc Club - Cost of Baby's 1st Year Research.

This is because babies grow so fast during the first 12 months, moving up a size every three months. It is a view that was endorsed by Laura Erskine of the BabyDoc Club, "It's easy to see why almost two-thirds of BabyDoc parents are happy to use pre-loved baby clothes seeing as they are gently worn for such a short period,” she says. 

“The decision to buy new when it comes to the car seat, buggy and bedding is perfectly understandable as this is where parents are putting their baby's health and safety ahead of any financial concerns.” 

Ms Erskine also encouraged parents to prioritise buying a new car seat.

"No parent would ever knowingly put their baby's life in danger, however there is a significant risk in using a second-hand car seat which may have been mishandled or in an undisclosed accident.” 

She also warned parents to be wary of using a second-hand mattress “A baby needs a firm mattress surface for safe sleep and research shows that a mattress can lose up to 25% of its firmness in the first couple of years of use," she says.

Given much of this spending is on items that are totally unfamiliar to new parents, baby shopping can be a bewildering experience for them, at a time when they are already adjusting to a world turned upside down. 

To help new parents, the BabyDoc Club has launched a Baby Basics Pregnancy & Newborn Guide.

“Baby equipment can be expensive and the choices parents make should last for years,” the club says. “The BabyDoc Basics Guide gives parents a preview of what to expect, a list of what they actually need and some advice to help them along the way.

The guide offers useful suggestions to take the stress out of shopping for items that are completely new to you. In the section devoted to buying the most expensive baby equipment items, parents are given a checklist of what to consider when buying each item - such as ease of use, cost and, crucially, ease of cleaning. 

There are also explanations of the terminology involved. The Guide also suggests telling the sales assistant upfront that you are not there to buy on your first trip to look at larger items. 

That way, parents will have the breathing room to assess what’s on offer and then go away to think about it and check online reviews of different options.

The guide also includes a number of helpful checklists, including what you will need for feeding in the first month, for baby baths and how to stock the medicine cabinet to be ready for the majority of ailments likely to be faced by mother and baby in the first 12 months.

The guide is available to download for free from the BabyDoc Club website and comes with a guarantee that no retailer or brand has paid to appear in the publication.

Deal of the Week

If your children are bouncing off the walls with a month of summer holidays to go, consider a trampoline.

Aldi have two versions on sale as part of their Outdoor Specialbuys range.

These are arriving in store on Thursday.

The Springsafe 8ft trampoline is €99.99. It is made from durable, weather-protected materials, and includes a safety net.

The trampoline enclosure protects users against contact with the springs and frame. It is suitable for children aged six and upwards. The maximum user weight is 50kg and adult supervision is required.

The junior trampoline, which is on sale for €64.99, is suitable for ages 3-6, also with adult supervision. The springs on the 4.5ft trampoline are covered with a safety pad and it has been designed for secure play.

There are other items in the range, including a soft archery set and a basketball post, and all are on sale from Thursday, July 23.

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