This is really long so my apologies in advance…
This really varies wildly. For me, there were a ton of “startup costs” fertility testing, supplements, scans, etc. all in the lead up to even getting pregnant. Thankfully I avoided IVF but that would have been another $17-$30k on top of the $7-$8k OOP I had spent on testing and all that. Then there was all the stuff my insurance didn’t cover (shit insurance) like a genetic screen that my fertility doctor strongly recommended ($450), and then they didn’t want to cover the full anatomy scan ($300 - this is considered basic prenatal care) because the tech couldn’t visualize all parts needed in the first scan and it required a second visit. We ended up paying for it and sucking it up because at that point my BP was an issue in pregnancy and dealing with the scan people and insurance people was not conducive to me being calm.
All my other prenatal care was “covered” but that’s in quotes because I had to fight for it even though it is supposed to be 100% covered by law. Bobbin was born in late November and we’d already come close to maxing out our OOP but we still had to pay a bit over $800 for the birth before we could leave the hospital. Aside from the induction (pitocin and a few catheters) I had an uncomplicated (though super long), non-pain medicated delivery so no extra costs for additional care. I did end up getting back maybe around $1500? But the math is foggy because I used an out of network midwife and paid her up front. She refunded me about $1100 once she got paid by my insurance, and then my insurance refunded a few hundred in random chunks with EOB’s that made no sense. With a newborn I didn’t have the spoons to figure it all out.
Lots of factors can influence your costs. I’d recommend keeping a close eye on your insurance coverage and reading the fine print. Mine for example, explicitly does not cover home birth (we planned a home birth but ended up induced at a hospital for pre-E) but the same midwife IS covered for my prenatal care. That meant all of my pregnancy appointments were covered and later reimbursed by my insurance. We knowingly paid more because we wanted a home birth so I was ok with that. The fine print that caused us the most trouble is that they basically said “prenatal care is 100% covered…at 80% per your plan rules.” The website has banners on every other page proclaiming that prenatal care is 100% covered, I’m not being hyperbolic. It was really stupid and I still think what they did was probably not legal but it’s over now.
Outside of the medical stuff, we got lots of hand me downs and gifts and really didn’t buy much for the baby. Until about 6 months, I think all but 1 pack each of onesies and pants (NB size since she was born early and was tiny) were gifted or hand me downs. I rarely buy her clothes even now because people love to gift cute tiny person clothes.
Off the top of my head here’s what we have bought to prep/over the first year:
Halo Bassinet (craigslist): $100
Newborn Size Cloth Diaper Rental: $350 (a portion of this was gifted to us and then we got back $300 in store credit and bought regular size cloth diapers with it)
Cloth Diaper supplies: $100 (this is my best guess. We bought 2 wet bags, 2 travel wet bags, 2 packs of cloth wipes to round out what was given to us, 2 spray bottles, 1 spray system for the toilet)
1 can of formula + bottles for a brief time of supplementing: $50ish
Crib + Dresser + Mattress + 2 sheet sets and mattress protector: $450
Baby seat for mealtimes + baby spoons: $50
Teething toys + Medicine: $50
Misc. Clothes & toys: $100
Things that were gifted or handed down to us: Carseat, stroller, pack n play, nearly all her clothes & toys, playpen, blankets, swaddles, bath toys & towels, baby carriers, diaper bag, books (so many books!), borrowed a Mamaroo swing (lifesaver!!), I’m sure there’s more I’m probably forgetting.
Add to that the 2ish weeks that H took unpaid to stay home.
I should mention that we changed insurance plans for the year that began the January after Bobbin was born and that dramatically reduced costs and would have saved us even more if we’d had it to cover the pregnancy, but I didn’t know we’d be trying for a baby when we chose the first plan. Insurance is my biggest thing in terms of costs. The actual infant and various supplies for her has only cost as much as we’ve wanted to spend, so we could have spent more or less but we’re happy with our choices in general.
We tried to avoid buying things ahead of time because we thought we’d need them and instead bought things once we realized we needed them. Since we live in an area with lots of stores, 1 day delivery, a healthy Buy Nothing group, and a wealth of used things on FB marketplace and craigslist this was a great option. We still ended up buying some things we thought we needed in 2am panic, but I think doing it that way still saved a lot of money. Also breastfeeding and cloth diapering have saved us money with the caveat that they didn’t take away from our mental health to make them happen. They are not worth it if they are not that way for you. My insurance completely covered an amazing lactation consultant who helped me through the first 3 months (super hardest part of nursing for me) and now we’re still going strong at 13 months.
Resources I liked: Expecting Better & Cribsheet by Emily Oster - she’s an economist and talks about lots of different pregnancy/parenting choices and helps break down the elements in each decision which helps you determine what is “worth it” for your family. Not always in terms of costs but there are definitely things in there that helped me decide it wasn’t worth it to spend $$ on something. The other biggest resource was honestly the fertility and pregnancy thread on MMM. The collective of wonderful humans there helped me with everything and always have a broad range of experience on things.
My #1 thing for myself and my family was that I wanted to have choices. So I was glad we had several thousand saved and could afford the midwife I wanted, for H to stay home for a while (though I wish he had any parental leave at all, but that’s a different topic). Basically I was glad we had some level of F-U money to work things out, so I highly recommend that if you can swing it.