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How Much Does It Cost To Have A Baby?

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As the last ring of the wedding bell fades away, it’s time to plan your next move as a married couple. Most people would enjoy the first few years of being newlywed and will consider having their first child a few years later. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for it still!

Have you considered how expensive it will be to raise a child? From food, clothing, education, hobbies and healthcare to entertainment and caretaker costs—having a child costs you a lot more than just love and fresh air.

According to an annual study in the UK by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (CEBR), the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has reached £230,000 (RM1,538,493*) as parents pay 63% more since 2003, with education and childcare remaining as the biggest costs.

In the US, the USDA estimated that it costs US$245,340  or US$304,480 (RM1,338,845.83**) after inflation to raise a child born in 2013 until the age of 18, which is 1.8% higher than the number from last year’s report.

So how much does it cost to have a baby in Malaysia? What if you’re considering quitting your job to take care of your child full time? How will it affect your family if there’s just a single source of income?

iMoney offers clues on how to estimate and plan expenses so that the joy of parenthood is not buried under financial stress.

Pregnancy check-up

Assuming a normal pregnancy, a pregnant mother is required to go for regular check-up once month and once every two weeks from 36th week onwards. These check-ups at a private hospital can cost an average of RM200 per visit.

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Delivery 

Ask any parents and you will find out that the cost of delivery in Malaysia isn’t cheap. According to a poll on Babycenter, 41% of Malaysians opt to deliver their child in a private hospital, clinic or maternity centre. If you fall in the same category and is planning to deliver your child at a private hospital in the Klang Valley, a natural delivery can cost at least RM5,800 including hospital stay for both mother and baby, while a Caesarean delivery can cost about RM17,000, if not more.

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Medical care for your little one

Your newborn baby will have to go for regular check-ups and immunisation in the first year. These immunisations are scheduled every other month, from a BCG at 0-month to measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination in the 12th month.

On average, these visits can cost between RM70 to RM150 per visit, if you visit a private paediatrician clinic.

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If your baby is susceptible to flu and cold, be prepared to fork out about RM100 per doctor’s visit, as consultation by a paediatrician and medication does not come cheap.

Childcare

If both parents are working, you will need to prepare to pay a fixed amount every month for the caring of your child. Babycenter found over 80% of parents in Malaysia rely on their parents/relative (41%), or a babysitter/nanny (40%) to take care of their child when they are at work. Some parents are lucky enough to have their parents to look after the child.

However, for those who don’t have this luxury, here is the breakdown of childcare cost.

  • Babysitter or nanny

If both parents are working, you will need to prepare to pay a fixed amount every month for the caring of your child. Babycenter found over 80% of parents in Malaysia rely on their parents/relative (41%), or a babysitter/nanny (40%) to take care of their child when they are at work. Some parents are lucky enough to have their parents to look after the child.

However, for those who don’t have this luxury, here is how much it will cost to send your child to a babysitter in the Klang Valley:

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  • Maid service

Others opt to get a live-in maid to take care of the child, especially if they have an aging parent at home too. However, getting a stay-at-home maid can be costly. Some agencies require an upfront fee of about RM14,000 and monthly salary to the maid of about RM700.

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Other necessities

  • Stroller and car seat

You will need a good quality stroller that can usually last at least two years to bring your baby out. An average stroller with a baby carrier that doubles as car seat costs about RM1,299 (and we are not talking about those designer strollers). When your baby is slightly older (depending on weight), you will need to get a separate car seat that costs at least RM300.

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  • Furniture

A baby needs different types of furniture, such as a crib, playpen, changing table, high chair, and Jumperoo. If you would like to cut cost, you can buy second-hand for these or get free from your relatives, whom children have grown out of these.

However, if you have to buy everything brand new, these can add up to a big amount:

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  • Food

1. Breastfeeding

If the mother decides to breastfeed, then you will need to consider getting a breast pump. A Tommee Tippee electronic single breast pump costs about RM640.

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2. Formula

Baby formulas have different prices depending on the different brands and stages. The earlier the stage, (for newborn) the more expensive the cost. As your child becomes older, the cost of formula milk will reduce. The average price of a tin of formula for a newborn of up to six months old is about RM100 a tin.

parent tip 1

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3. Solid food

Once your baby is six months old and above, you can start feeding him or her solid food to supplement milk like porridge, puree food, or baby cereal. This can roughly cost about RM100 a month, depending on the ingredients you choose.

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  • Diapers

There are various brands of diapers available. Some can be cheaper while others can cost you quite a hefty sum.

parent tip 2

A mid-range diaper brand can cost about RM30 per pack. The number of diapers in a pack depends on the size.

A more premium diaper brand can cost about RM50 per pack. These can be used at night as they can last longer without leaking.

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parent tip 3

  • Clothes and toys

Babies grow out of their clothes and get tired of toys fairly quickly. Most parents are advised to get used clothes or toys from friends or relatives. However, parents will still buy new clothes and toys for their babies occasionally (who can resist those cute outfits and toys?). The amount spent on these items really depend on you and your baby.

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To save some cost on toys, you can consider renting the toys from these places: Rent A Toys, or Toy Rental Co. Children get bored easily, so it makes sense to rent instead of buy, especially for expensive toys.

So… What IS the total cost of having a baby?

The figures above are just estimates and some of them are one-time costs while others are recurring. In the interest of providing new parents, and soon-to-be parents an idea of how much they need to prepare for an arrival of their newborn, here is an estimate of the total cost that may be incurred from pregnancy to the first 12 months of your baby’s life in the case of both parents working and if one parent stayed at home full time.

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^ One-off cost # Recurring annual cost

 

These are estimated costs of the things you will need in the first year of your child’s life for an average middle-income family living in Klang Valley. For example, by opting to go to government hospitals you can help save significantly on delivery, check-ups and medical costs. Keep in mind that the total figure above is not an upfront cost so you can spread this out a little. However, you will need to prepare at least RM10,000 to RM15,000 before the delivery at a private hospital, as you will not know if the mother will delivery naturally or via Caesarean.

Having the right credit card can help you manage your expenses better, not just as a payment method, but you can use facilities such as the easy payment plan or balance transfer to help you spread out the payment for a large amount.

To further help ease the financial burden of Malaysian parents, the government is providing the following assistance and tax reliefs:

  • Back to school initiative for primary & secondary children – RM100 per child (for low to middle income families only)
  • Child relief– RM1,000 per child (only for one of the parents)
  • 1Malaysia Book Voucher (BB1M)– RM200 per child
  • Child education insurance– RM3,000 per parent
  • Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Malaysia (SSPN)savings – RM6,000 (for each parent)

Having a child is a life-long commitment. As they grow older, you will need to consider other costs such as their education and hobbies. However, it will be worth it as Nicholas Sparks, a famous author once said, “What it’s like to be a parent: It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.”

The exchange rate as of October 2015 is at *£1 = RM6.689 and **USD$1 = RM4.397

This article was originally published by iMoney.

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