What having a baby really costs

For most parents being pregnant is a magical experience and a very exciting time for them, from the ultrasound to that very first cry. However, it also comes with its anxieties especially when it comes to the ideals of being a parent. Being pregnant for 9 months may be the least of your expenses until the baby actually arrives.

Costs to consider when having a baby in South Africa:

1. Birth of the baby

The arrival of your baby is the single most important aspect after the 9 months of carrying. Decisions within the 9 months need to be made around whether you want to give birth at a government hospital, birthing centre or private hospital. Now don’t be alarmed at the costs mentioned below as medical aid may cover some of the costs depending on the type of cover you have.

  • Government hospitals depending on which one you go to should be free of charge when it comes to delivering your baby but you will have to bring your own supplies such as towels, pillows, nappies, toiletries, pads and even food and fluids at times. The hospitals will only assist provided you bring documentation such as IDs and proof of address.
  • Birthing centre charges: A 48-hour admission at a birthing centre costs approximately R15,650, epidural costs R1700 – R1920, emergency caesarean R17 660 – R35,240 depending on how long you stay and the type of room you request (semi-private or private). These costs exclude gynaecologist, anaesthetist and paediatrician fees.
  • Natural birth at private hospitals cost between R16 000 – R19 300 assuming you stay 3 days at the hospital without any complications, caesarean births cost between R21 200 – R26 050 also assuming that you have a 4 day stay but this excludes all the other professional fees like visits to the gynaecologist, paediatrician (R500 – R1000 per visit) and anaesthetist. All this could add an additional R12 000-  R20 000 to your bill. An emergency caesarean may cost a lot more depending on other factors like the availability of the surgeon. The costs are quoted from Business Tech, Southern Africa fees as of 2018.

2. Breastfeeding

The idea of breastfeeding may seem cost-free but here are some extra essentials you may have to pay for when the baby arrives:

  • Breast pads (disposable): R60 – R90 (for 60)
  • Breast pads (washable): R100 – R200 (for 6)
  • Nipple cream: R50 – R250
  • Breast pump: R250 – R8365

When the baby starts eating solids it is best to buy fresh produce which is more cost effective.

3. Nappies

Parents have to choose whether they want disposable or reusable but with reusable you are most likely to do laundry every day.


    Newborn babies use about 12 disposable nappies a day, older babies will use 6 to 8 a day. Disposable nappies cost about R300 for around 100 - 130 nappies. The cost varies with size.
  • Wipes will cost R100 – R120 for bulk, could possibly pay up to R240 for wipes a month.
  • Bum cream costs about R30 – R199.


  • A newborn starter kit for reusable nappies is R800 – R1280
  • Towelling nappies cost R60 – R110 for four
  • Waterproof covers R100 – R320
  • Nappy bucket with lid R219 – R599

4. Clothes

Most parents go shopping for their baby's clothes every 3 months depending on how fast the baby is developing. The clothes can possibly add up to R2000. It always works in your benefit to have hand-me-downs from friends and family to keep these costs down.

5. Nursery

  • Cot costs between R700 – R11 250
  • Cot mattress R300 – R 2 900
  • Cot sheet R50 – R500
  • Baby monitor to listen in when baby is sleeping R600 – R4 200
  • Baby bath R190 – R900
  • Blankets and linen can cost up to R800

6. Regular check-ups

Primary health care such as immunisation for a child under 5 years old should be free at government clinics at a private facility you could pay up to R5000 a year as check-ups range from 6 weeks, 12 weeks or 6 months depending on the development and health of the baby.

7. Travelling with the baby

When travelling with a baby there’s some safety precautions that one has to take into account as well as have the right equipment such as:

  • Pram/stroller R800 – R11 100
  • Infant car seat R600 – R6000
  • Baby carrier sling R300 – R700

8. Childcare costs

Most parents lead busy lives therefore they need to make a decision of whether or not they going to get a nanny or send the child to daycare after the first few months, which can be expensive and would roughly cost:

  • For day-care there is a wide range of costs but you can expect to pay between R1500 – R4000.
  • You will spend between R4000 – R8000 per month for a nanny.

Parents are most likely to spend R7 785 a month on the baby's essentials, and you will need a lump sum for the initial setup for the baby’s arrival which is roughly R14 000. To ensure that you are prepared for the costs have a look at savings options that Old Mutual has to offer. Plan adequately for the birth by reading up on planning for a baby to get you started.

*Costs as at June 2018/19

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