They may be tiny, but babies come with a massive price tag. Between the hospital bills, diapers, formula, onesies, day care, nanny ... well, you get the picture.
But that cost is also affected by geography. And if you live in Washington, D.C., you're paying the most, according to a new survey from WalletHub.
The U.S. capital took the top spot for the highest average annual infant-care costs, followed by Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Alaska.
D.C. is ranked No. 1 in baby-friendliness, though, and has the most pediatricians and family doctors per capita, landing it in the 27th spot overall in the ranks of best and worst states to have a baby.
So where are parents getting a price break? That would be in Mississippi, where the average yearly cost of baby is the lowest, followed by South Carolina, Louisiana, South Dakota and Alabama.
Of course, we can't all relocate to cut back on baby-related expenses. So here are some tips to control costs, no matter where you live:
Make a budget. Luckily, you have about nine months to prepare for your bundle of joy's arrival. Besides baby-proofing every square inch of your home, use that time to create a budget so you can set aside funds for these anticipated expenses. Will you or your partner take unpaid leave? Start saving extra for those months where your income will be less than what you're used to.
Think of everything. Sure, you've accounted for the crib and stroller, but what about third-trimester treats and sleep remedies? Prepping for these often-overlooked new-baby expenses now can cut down on surprises later.
Research health insurance. If both you and your partner have your own health insurance plan, examine both policies to see which one makes the most sense — and offers the most savings. Your coverage may also inform where you decide to give birth, so it's good to have all the facts.
Prepare for tax time. April may be months away, but start researching child-related tax credits and deductions ASAP, so you know where you can get a refund. One benefit to consider is a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which lets you set aside pretax dollars for expenses like day care or babysitters.
Tap your network. Whether it's your friends and family or online new-parent resources, do some digging into creative ways to save on everything from diapers to formula (sign up for subscription on sites like Amazon, for example, and be on the lookout for clothing swaps). When you reach out, you'll discover that a mom somewhere went through the same thing, and she has tips for you.
This publication is not intended as legal or tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.