What baby’s first year could cost
START AT THE VERY BEGINNING …
If you’re giving birth in a government hospital, your birth will be free of charge, provided that you can supply the correct documentation (ID, proof of residence, bank statement within the last three months, or legal immigrant status). However, midwife Burgie Ireland says, “Patients must bring pillows, towels, toiletries, pads, nappies and baby clothes.” She also advises that you get family to bring food and fluids. In a private hospital, the costs are unsurprisingly, significantly higher and although your medical aid will cover a large portion of this, you need to check exactly what your specific package covers, because they often don’t cover 100 percent of your specialists’ fees.
Natural birth at a private hospital (based on Medi-Clinic Southern Africa rates for 2016) expect an average of about R15 500 to R17 600 for a three-day stay, assuming no complications. For a planned caesarean birth at a private hospital (based
on Medi-Clinic Southern Africa rates for 2016),
expect to pay approximately R26 050 to R28 350* for a four-day stay. Note that this is only for the hospital service – your professional fees for your gynaecologist, anaesthetist and paediatrician are over and above that cost and likely to add at least another R12 000 to R15 000 to your bill. *These costs are all based on the assumption of a delivery with no complications. An emergency caesarean will have higher costs. Some mothers elect to give birth at a private or semiprivate birthing centre (for example, the Genesis Clinic in Johannesburg or Origin Maternity Hospital in Cape Town). These mothers choose it primarily because it facilitates natural labour in a calm, peaceful, non-medical setting, with the necessary medical facilities to hand, but in some instances it also has the advantage of lower costs than a private hospital.
Private birthing centre – natural birth
R3 450 (medical aid rate) to R23 950* + R1 080 paediatrician fee and extra costs for an epidural.
Private birthing centre – emergency caesarean
R9 500 to R23 760, depending on length of stay. *Most private birthing centres require a non-negotiable upfront deposit to cover the possibility of an emergency caesarean, with a refund provided in the weeks following the birth if the caesarean isn’t required.
NOM NOM NOM
Breastfeeding may seem at first glance like the cost- free option, but there are some costs involved – breast pads, nipple cream to soothe sore nipples ( essential), a breast pump if you plan to express, and a feeding pillow to make you and baby more comfortable. Breast pads: R35 to R80 per packet Nipple cream R47 to R200 per tube Breast pump R750 to R5 399 Feeding pillow R180 to R550 When your baby transitions to eating solids at around six months old, you’ll need a high chair to feed her. If you aren’t offered a handme-down from a friend or family member, expect to pay between R800 to R4 600 for a high chair.
Immunisation and primary health care for any child under five is offered free of charge if you visit a government health clinic. What it will cost you is time – government clinics work on a first-come, first served basis, so expect to queue, possibly for hours. However, if you get your immunisations through a private well baby clinic, the costs will be in the ballpark of R5 000 in the first year. Yes, you read that right. Expect to pay between R500 and R1 000 per paediatrician visit – in the first year you’ll most likely see your paediatrician for a 6-week, 12-week and sixmonth check-up.
BABY’S DAY OUT
Travel safety is one area where it pays to buy a recognised brand with decent safety ratings. An infant car seat, which your baby will use up to about 12 months or 9-10kg, often comes as part of a travel system (pram and car seat), or you can buy the
MOST PRIVATE BIRTHING CENTRES REQUIRE A NONNEGOTIABLE UPFRONT DEPOSIT
pram and car seat separately. There is a massive variation in price – do your research, decide what functionality you need and what your budget can accommodate, and then choose accordingly. It is generally more cost-effective to buy a travel system than to buy the individual components separately.
R899 to R13 999
Infant car seat
R749 to R5 499
R2 399 to R9 780
The basics for a nursery are somewhere for the baby to sleep, get changed and get clean – a cot, compactum and bath. A humidifier is a good investment and a baby monitor provides peace of mind when you’re busy doing something else. Baby monitors range from basic noise monitoring to sophisticated video monitoring with remote access – as with all things baby, it depends on what functionality you want and what your budget allows, because the bells and whistles
version comes at an equally premium price.
R695 to R10 050 (basic camp cot to sleigh cot)
R299 to R2 800
R549 to R4 599, depending on how sophisticated you want your monitoring to be.
R1 300 to R3 200
R119 to R1 380
R16 to R329
R199 to R1 056
Nappies are indispensable – every baby needs them, so the choice boils down to disposable or reusable. Reusable nappies are the modern version of the oldschool towelling nappies, which are still available, but are more likely to be used as burping cloths by most new moms. The initial outlay for new-generation reusable nappies (i.e. not towelling nappies) is significantly higher, and you’ll need to factor in laundry costs on multiple high-temperature loads through your washing machine. But, over the course of your baby’s nappywearing career, this is the “greener” choice. Ultimately, it comes down to the yuck factor – would you rather throw away a fully loaded nappy or make the extra effort with a reusable nappy and avoid the guilty conscience about landfills? If you opt for reusable or towelling nappies, 15-24 nappies is the recommended number to have.
Newborn babies: work on 12 a day initially, R329 per bulk pack, approximately R987 a month. Older babies: 6-8 per day, R329 per bulk pack, approximately R427 to R658 per month.
Bulk is better – R71 to R135 for a bulk pack of 4, approximately R180 to R270 per month
R16 to R179
R778 (newborn starter kit) to R2 325 (12 nappies and 3 covers)
R80 to R135 for 4, so R480 to R810 for 24
R25 to R315, depending on brand
Nappy liners R33 per packet of 100 to R199 per pack of 160, depending on brand Nappy bucket with lid R90 to R320
This is another of your biggest expenses. Whether you have a child minder at home or send your child to crèche, this expense will make a dent in your monthly budget. The most cost-effective option is if a willing family member can take care of baby while you’re at work, but this isn’t always an option, especially for parents whose families live far away. There is a wide range of costs for a crèche or daycare, and you’ll need to look in your area at what is on offer, but expect to pay anything between R1 500 and R4 500 per month for a full-day crèche. Domestic worker/ childminder at home: The legislated government minimum wage for a domestic worker who works more than 27 hours a week is R2 422 for 2017 in urban areas and R2 205 in certain peri-urban and rural areas. However, depending on where you live, you may end up paying a lot more for qualified, competent help. Also factor in the cost of a CPR and First Aid course – absolute essentials for a childminder or domestic worker in charge of an infant. Expect to pay approximately R495 to R950 for a CPR and First Aid course, depending on the duration.
NAPPIES ARE INDISPENSABLE – EVERY BABY NEEDS THEM