Cost of having a baby

[Update] How Much Does It Cost To Have A Baby?

As the last ring of the wedding bell fades away, it’s time to plan your next move as a married couple. Most people would enjoy the first few years of being newlywed and will consider having their first child a few years later. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for it still!

Have you considered how expensive it will be to raise a child? From food, clothing, education, hobbies and healthcare to entertainment and caretaker costs—having a child costs you a lot more than just love and fresh air.

A pan-Asian insurance group had looked into the total cost of raising a child in Malaysia recently and discovered that the figure is close to half a million ringgit for each child!

The report produced by AIA Bhd estimated that it would require about RM400,000 to RM1.1 million, taking into account the cost of delivering the baby, schooling expenses all the way to university fees.

What’s more, according to financial consultants quoted by a local daily, you need to put aside another RM20,000 even before the baby is born as that is the estimated cost of expenses throughout pregnancy up till childbirth.

So how much does it cost to have a baby in Malaysia today? What if you’re considering quitting your job to take care of your child full time? How will it affect your family if there’s just a single source of income?

iMoney offers clues on how to estimate and plan expenses so that the joy of parenthood is not buried under financial stress.

Pregnancy check-up 

Assuming a normal pregnancy, a pregnant mother is required to go for regular check-up once a month and once every two weeks from 36th week onwards. These check-ups at a private hospital can cost an average of RM200 per visit.

Pregnancy check-ups up to 40th week
Estimated cost = RM2,400


Ask any parents and you will find out that the cost of delivery in Malaysia isn’t cheap. According to a poll on Babycenter, 41% of Malaysians opt to deliver their child in a private hospital, clinic or maternity centre. If you fall in the same category and is planning to deliver your child at a private hospital in the Klang Valley, a natural delivery can cost over RM6,500 including hospital stay for both mother and baby, while a Caesarean delivery can cost up to RM20,000, especially if it involves an emergency case including anaesthetics and post natal photo therapy for your newborn.

Natural birth & hospital stay in a private hospital in the Klang Valley
Estimated cost = RM6,500

Medical care for your little one

Your newborn baby will have to go for regular check-ups and immunisation in the first year. These immunisations are scheduled every other month, from a BCG at 0-month to measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination in the 12th month.

On average, these visits can cost between RM70 to RM150 per visit, if you visit a private paediatrician clinic.

Immunisation & check-ups for baby
Estimated annual cost = RM2,250

If your baby is susceptible to flu and cold, be prepared to fork out about RM150 to RM200 per doctor’s visit, as consultation by a paediatrician and medication does not come cheap.


If both parents are working, you will need to prepare to pay a fixed amount every month for the caring of your child. Babycenter found over 80% of parents in Malaysia rely on their parents/relative (41%), or a babysitter/nanny (40%) to take care of their child when they are at work. Some parents are lucky enough to have their parents to look after the child.

However, for those who don’t have this luxury, here is the breakdown of childcare cost.

  • Babysitter or nanny

If both parents are working, you will need to prepare to pay a fixed amount every month for the caring of your child. Babycenter found over 80% of parents in Malaysia rely on their parents/relative (41%), or a babysitter/nanny (40%) to take care of their child when they are at work. Some parents are lucky enough to have their parents to look after the child.

However, for those who don’t have this luxury,  babysitters can cost up to RM1,500 per month or more.  Here is how much it will cost to send your child to a babysitter in the Klang Valley:

Babysitter or nanny
Estimated annual cost = RM18,000

  • Maid service

Others opt to get a live-in maid to take care of the child, especially if they have an aging parent at home too. However, getting a stay-at-home maid can be costly. Agencies generally charge fees ranging from RM14,000 to RM18,000 and a monthly salary to the maid starting from RM1,100.

Live-in domestic maid
Estimated cost for the first year = from RM27,200 (not inclusive of food and accommodation)

Other necessities

  • Stroller and car seat

You will need a good quality stroller that can usually last at least two years to bring your baby out. An average stroller with a baby carrier that doubles as car seat costs about RM1,300 (and we are not talking about those designer strollers). When your baby is slightly older (depending on weight), you will need to get a separate car seat that costs at least RM400.

Stroller & car seat
Estimated cost = RM1,700

  • Furniture

A baby needs different types of furniture, such as a crib, playpen, changing table, high chair, and Jumperoo. If you would like to cut cost, you can buy second-hand for these or get free from your relatives, whom children have grown out of these.

However, if you have to buy everything brand new, these can add up to a big amount:

High chairRM100.00
Changing tableRM150.00

Estimated cost = RM1,250

  • Food

1. Breastfeeding

If the mother decides to breastfeed, then you will need to consider getting a breast pump. Currently, breast pumps in the market range in price from RM400 to over RM800, not forgetting the required storage bottles, chiller packs and other paraphernalia.

Breast pump
Estimated cost = RM800

2. Formula

Baby formulas have different prices depending on the different brands and stages. The earlier the stage, (for newborn) the more expensive the cost. As your child becomes older, the cost of formula milk will reduce. The average price of a tin of formula for a newborn of up to six months old range from RM60 to over RM110 a tin.

parent tip 1

Baby formula milk
Estimated cost for first year = RM2,640

3. Solid food

Once your baby is six months old and above, you can start feeding him or her solid food to supplement milk like porridge, puree food, or baby cereal. This can roughly cost about RM120 a month, depending on the ingredients you choose.

Solid food
Estimated cost for first year = RM720

  • Diapers

There are various brands of diapers available. Some can be cheaper while others can cost you quite a hefty sum.

parent tip 2

A mid-range diaper brand can cost over RM35 per pack. The number of diapers in a pack depends on the size.

A more premium diaper brand can cost about RM60 per pack. These can be used at night as they can last longer without leaking.

Estimated cost for first year = RM1,435 (RM35 X 15 packs and RM60 X 15 packs)

parent tip 3

  • Clothes and toys

Babies grow out of their clothes and get tired of toys fairly quickly. Most parents are advised to get used clothes or toys from friends or relatives. However, parents will still buy new clothes and toys for their babies occasionally (who can resist those cute outfits and toys?). The amount spent on these items really depend on you and your baby.

Clothes & toys
Estimated cost for first year = RM720

To save some cost on toys, you can consider renting the toys places like Rent A Toys. Children get bored easily, so it makes sense to rent instead of buy, especially for expensive toys.

So… What IS the total cost of having a baby?

The figures above are just estimates and some of them are one-time costs while others are recurring. In the interest of providing new parents, and soon-to-be parents an idea of how much they need to prepare for an arrival of their newborn, here is an estimate of the total cost that may be incurred from pregnancy to the first 12 months of your baby’s life in the case of both parents working and if one parent stayed at home full time.

Paid childcare
Non-paid childcare
Arrival of baby
Pregnancy check-ups^
Delivery (natural)^
After birth (12 months)
Immunisation & check-ups^
Childcare (babysitter)#
Stroller & car seat^
Breast pump^
Formula milk#
Baby solid food#




^ One-off cost
# Recurring annual cost

These are estimated costs of the things you will need in the first year of your child’s life for an average middle-income family living in Klang Valley. For example, by opting to go to government hospitals you can help save significantly on delivery, check-ups and medical costs. Keep in mind that the total figure above is not an upfront cost so you can spread this out a little. However, you will need to prepare at least RM12,000 to RM18,000 before the delivery at a private hospital, as you will not know if the mother will delivery naturally or via Caesarean.

Having the right credit card can help you manage your expenses better, not just as a payment method, but you can use facilities such as the easy payment plan or balance transfer to help you spread out the payment for a large amount.

To further help ease the financial burden of Malaysian parents, the government is providing the following tax reliefs to parents:

  • Ordinary child relief– RM2,000 (only for one of the parents)
  • Purchase of breastfeeding equipment – RM1000
  • Child care fees to a child care centre or a kindergarten – RM1000
  • Child education insurance– RM3,000 per parent
  • Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Malaysia (SSPN)savings – RM6,000 (for each parent)

Having a child is a life-long commitment. As they grow older, you will need to consider other costs such as their education and hobbies. However, it will be worth it as Nicholas Sparks, a famous author once said, “What it’s like to be a parent: It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.”


Article updated on May 31, 2019.

Leave your comment