Preparing for a baby is a challenge. Luckily, there are all types of websites to help guide you on what to expect when you’re about to become a parent. There are resources to advise you on the gadgets you’ll need and where to find the best deal, guidelines on how much money you might need during maternity or paternity leave and articles outlining the financial factors to consider if you want to be a stay-at-home parent.

If you’re already a parent and are expecting another child, you’re probably feeling like a pro at this whole preparation thing. You know what not to buy and what to buy more. You know how to make the grocery budget last longer and when and where to find the best deal on clothes. You may already be calculating if it’s worth going back to work now that you  have multiple kids in daycare or if it’s more cost effective to stay at home.

Just when you felt prepared, you experience the expenses that no one told you about. These are the expenses that occur when your baby needs a little extra TLC than most.

Here are four unexpected expenses to consider when you’re expecting: 

    1. Change of Feeding Plans. For those who choose to do so, breastfeeding can be a great financial choice with added health benefits for mom and baby. However, for some, switching to formula is a necessity, and when it’s unexpected, it can bring a huge financial burden. The average 12oz can of formula is about $6, which seems minimal until you realize that you’ll need about 13 cans per month. If your baby requires a specialty formula, that cost will jump significantly. Then you must factor in the cost of bottles. More than likely you will try several different kinds until you find one that baby likes – for both bottles and formula.
    2. Doctor appointments. Babies who need extra TLC often require additional specialty doctor appointments. Depending on where you live, as well as the type of insurance you have, you may have to travel some distance for these appointments or pay a portion of the visit. Overnight stays for appointments, as well as gas, add up very quickly.
    3. Child Care for Other Children. If you have other children at home and you have a child who needs extra care, it may become necessary to seek childcare for your other children. From a part-time sitter just so you can go grocery shopping or to doctor appointments to full-time care in instances where multiple therapies or appointments take place weekly. Child care can become a large expense when not originally part of your plan.
    4. Staying at home – when going back to work isn’t an option. When a baby needs extra care, it may become necessary to have a parent stay home. Some babies require specific care that a parent needs to provide, or the multiple doctor/therapy appointments become too much to work into a busy work schedule. Also, depending on the child’s particular needs, some childcare providers may not be able to care for a child Supporting a family on one income can magnify the additional costs required for a child needing extra care.

But, of course, we will do anything for our bundles of joy. So how can we prepare for unexpected expenses? 

    1. Save! Savings is key to preparing for all of the unexpected changes a new baby throws at you. A savings account will allow for extra travel money if your insurance doesn’t reimburse you for travel beyond a certain distance when seeing a specialist. A savings account will help you try out five different types of bottles before baby decides they finally like one. A savings account will help cover extra expenses while one parent remains at home.
    2. Outside assistance. Ask your insurance if they assist with travel expenses incurred when traveling for specialty appointments. If you have to switch to formula, check with your doctor’s office to see if they can provide samples so you know which formula your child likes. Also, check with WIC or other local agencies for assistance with formula cost. If your child needs a specialty formula, see if it is covered by your insurance. 
    3. Build a support group. Whether it’s for financial assistance or mental support, it can be difficult to have a child who needs special attention. A great support group can help you relax and provide some relief that money cannot buy. Although it can be difficult to ask for financial assistance, you may be surprised at how many people are willing to help. Whether it’s a can of formula each month or splitting the cost of daycare, you never know until you ask.

What unexpected expenses did you experience with a new baby?

Guest Contributor: Kara Schulte, AFC ®

June 16, 2016

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