Can I Afford a Baby?

There's no denying that babies are cute, but they can also be quite expensive. In fact, according to raising a new baby in the first year on average costs more than $10,000, including formula, diapers and daycare. Fortunately, for expecting parents there are strategies you can take to prepare for your new addition and make parenting affordable.

Reduce Debt
Managing debt should be the first item that should be on all expecting parents' to-do lists. As a new parent, you'll need to make room for unexpected costs and if you don't make debt reduction a priority now, it could fall through the cracks down the road. If you need help, check out the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and meet with a local credit counselor. It's free.

Don't Move
Don't assume you have to find a bigger space right away. One of the biggest misconceptions of being a first-time parent is that you need a separate room for the baby. But an infant can safely and easily sleep in a bassinet for the first three to six months.

Save, Save, Save
It's also essential to start saving, if you aren't already. Six to nine months worth of savings is ideal, but put aside however much you can every week or every month to help you at least through your maternity leave.

Review Health Care
Review your insurance policy to know whether pregnancy care is even covered by your health care provider. Sit down with your human resources manager at least six months before your scheduled delivery to understand on how much you'll be paid during your maternity leave… if at all!

Don't forget to throw a big big baby shower! "Baby showers are a great way to get those high-ticket items you need but let someone else pay for it. You can register for a breast pump or an excellent carrier and that way you don't have to bear the cost of it alone," says Karen Paperno, owner of Brooklyn baby boutique Boing Boing.

While having a baby may be a financial challenge, the good news is you have at least 9 months to get your ducks in a row and enter parenthood stress-free. If you have any personal parenting tips of your own, share them with us! Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh, using the hashtag #finfit.