How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby in Australia?
Each year, Australia welcomes over 300,000 babies into the world! While pregnancy is an exciting time in the soon-to-be parent's life, many don't realise just how costly it can be. And the costs add up before your bub takes their first breath!
Leading up to the birth of your newborn, it's a good idea to set a baby budget. There's plenty of prepping to do before you welcome your little bundle of joy, and there are many expenses to be paid before, during and after.
Today we're sharing some tips on how to properly budget for a newborn - because the total cost for having a baby and looking after them throughout their childhood can be upwards of $40,000! So, grab a notepad and get budgeting.
Birth Choice Settings
In Australia, you have a choice between having your new baby at a public hospital, private hospital, birth centre or at home. Each place can have different carers based on your needs and different costs based on health insurance.
A public hospital is where most women in Australia choose to have a baby. A public hospital in Australia is an affordable and safe option, and Medicare covers most of the cost. The main care options you can expect to receive include:
Midwifery group practice
Team midwifery care
Carers in this setting include midwives, obstetricians and general practitioners. The cost of having a baby at a public hospital is significantly less than in a private hospital. You can expect some additional fees if you're in shared care or live rurally. Specific tests, like ultrasounds, can sometimes cost extra so be prepared for these additional costs. However, you can get some money back for these costs through Medicare.
If you have private health insurance, the cost of a birth at a private hospital can range between $2,500-$20,000. If you don't have private health insurance but still want to give birth in a private hospital, the cost jumps to anywhere from $9,000-$30,000. So, what makes up these costs? Some of the typical expenses you can expect to pay are:
Appointments with your obstetrician
Your stay at the hospital
Your obstetrician's fee for being at the birth
Tests and ultrasounds
An epidural during delivery
Any health classes or birth checks
You can frequently get some money back from Medicare and your private health insurance for these services. Generally, you will see the same midwives and obstetricians throughout the entire birth process.
If you're generally healthy and have a low-risk pregnancy, you may consider a birth centre to start your journey as a new parent. Often attached to a hospital, they are designed to help make birth as natural as possible in a home-like setting. The cost of a birth centre ranges from $0-$1500. You can expect Medicare to cover most of your expenses, but there may be some additional costs for ultrasounds, tests and any birthing classes. Quite often, you can get some money back with Medicare. You'll mostly be seen by a midwife or a team of midwives at a birth centre.
Homebirth is typically for healthy women, who have a low-risk pregnancy and live close to a hospital. A private midwife is usually present during a home birth. You can expect to pay anywhere from $3,500-$6,000 for a private midwife. While insurance covers pregnancy and postnatal care, it does not include home birth. It's a good idea to check what your midwife's fees include and what Medicare will cover before choosing this option.
Maternity and Paid Parental Leave
In Australia, when you welcome a new child into the world, you are entitled to 12 months of unpaid paternity leave. All employees in Australia are eligible for this leave as long as they have been employed for at least 12 months with their current employer. Employees can also receive paid parental leave from the Australian Government and their employer. Eligible employees can get up to 18 weeks' paid leave at the national minimum wage.
If you're the proud father or partner of a newborn, you can be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay if you're actively working. You will receive two weeks paid parental leave at the national minimum wage and are entitled to 12 months of unpaid leave.
To check our paid parental leave eligibility, click here.
The Cost of a Nursery
After you have hospital, insurance and leave expenses tackled, it's now time for the fun part—decorating your little one's nursery! Nurseries, clothes and supplies all up can cost in the thousands of dollars - so, it’s important to only purchase the things you need. For this reason, we've compiled a simple checklist for all the things you will need (versus want), so you can budget effectively and efficiently!
Cot, mattress and sheets
Nappies, wipes and creams
Baby wash, washcloths, towels and shampoo
Changing table and changing table pad
Nappy pail and liners
Bottles, dummies, nail clippers and thermometer
…. just to name a few!
It's a good idea before the birth of your newborn to create a baby budget. That way, when it comes time to welcome your little one into the world, you will have enough money set aside so you can be stress-free and enjoy your time with your new bub.
While taking into consideration the costs of your "before baby" costs (GP visits, hospital stay, tests, etc.) and "after baby" costs (childcare, nursery, clothes and nappies) - you can also expect to budget for a few other additional costs like maternity clothes, prenatal vitamins, exercise classes, antenatal classes and visits to your GP. Throughout your bub’s childhood, these costs can be as high as $30,000!
Get ahead before baby arrives by creating your baby budget and sticking to it! It's a smart idea to have all of this mapped out right away, so you have the appropriate time to save, and if you need to cut back, you can see where and how to do so best.
P.s. We may be biased, but one of the most important things you can factor into your baby budget is education! Learning how to save your little one's life and understanding the birthing process is priceless education that we do no doubt you will have to use at some point during your parenting journey. Tiny Hearts offers both paediatric and birthing courses to help you and your co-pilot face parenthood without fear. Click here to check out our courses.