13 Moms Share the Most Surprising Expenses from Their Babies’ First Year

mom wearing a baby in a carrier

No reasonable person goes into parenthood thinking it’s going to be financially rewarding, but even when you plan for your bank account to take a hit, there are dozens of ways the cost of having a baby can catch you off guard. Here are 13 moms on the expenses -- both large and small -- that surprised them during their babies’ first year. 


1. “Extra car seats for various people that would be driving the baby! Grandma, sitter, etc.” --Carla, mom of three in San Diego, CA

2. “Cable TV, because I was stuck at home nursing so much. As a first-time mom I was too overwhelmed to take my baby anywhere alone until she was six months old, so that meant a lot of couch time. (Luckily, I got over that with my second kid.)” --Lisa, mom of two in Alameda, CA

3. “We spent a lot on sleep things. Special blankets, sleep suits, sound machines, etc.”--Becca, mom of one in Nashville, TN

4. “Supplies in support of breastfeeding, and especially pumping. Storage bottles/bags, spare pump parts, the pump itself, regular bottles/nipples. People talk about how breastfeeding is so cheap! But no.” --Angela, mom of one in Seattle, WA  

5. “I didn’t count on all the money I spent going places just to get out of the house. Coffee shops, museums, the mall, mommy-and-me classes, etc. But hey, it was cheaper than the therapy I’d need if I’d just stayed home.” --Rebecca, mom of two in Hayward, CA

6. “Formula. I didn’t realize how much it cost for a can, and how quickly we would go through it.” --Miranda, mom of two in Vancouver, BC

7. “Life insurance. I had a policy through my employer, and even increased the coverage when my older son was born, but when I switched jobs I needed to buy my own policy. Hadn’t planned on it, but of course the peace of mind is priceless.” –Amanda, mom of two in Princeton, NJ

8. “Takeout/prepared food, as I was way too tired/overwhelmed to cook.” --Jacquie, mom of two in Darien, CT

9. “Things bought in desperation to help with teething. Sooooo many late-night online purchases. So much money.” --Ashley, mom of three in Springfield, MA

10. “The cost of me not working was a surprise expense, only because I thought I’d be ready to go back to work when my maternity leave was up. And then I wasn’t.” --Carrie, mom of two in Boise, ID

11. “Photographers! I had no idea. Both for newborn photo shoots and family photos, but even the hospital photos seemed really high for what you got. But of course you want them!” --Celeste, mom of one in Columbus, OH

12. “BOTTLES. Nothing would please my baby, and I had to go back to work. Bought so many kinds of bottles and paraphernalia. So stressful.” --Caitie, mom of one in Iowa City, IA

13. “We had to buy a new car because although we could fit our twins, we didn’t have room for an extra person, which we needed because my mom moved in with us for a month to help with the babies.” --Amy J., mom of two in Salt Lake City, UT


What was the most surprising expense you incurred as a new parent?

For more money-saving strategies, check out Allstate’s tips and tools for new parents.


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