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Families of multiple births face significant financial hardship according to a major new study by researchers from the University of Birmingham. 'The Effects of Twins and Multiple Births Families and Their Living Standards', which is supported by the Twin and Multiple Births Association, found that families with multiple births were more likely to report a drop in their income level following the birth of their children. They were also twice as likely as families of singletons to report difficult financial stress.

Here are a few alarming statistics from Twins Magazine, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christa Reed.

"A higher percentage of twin births are C-sections, which means a longer hospital stay and possible complications for the mother. One set of premature twins costs the health care system approximately $130,000 from birth to discharge."

"On average, twins use approximately 200 diapers per week; as they get older the number of diapers decreases but the size increases. In the first 12 months, parents can expect to use approximately 5,500 to 6,000 diapers."

"If breastfeeding, mothers need to budget for a little more food to maintain 1,000 calories a day. Using infant formula, families can spend on average at least $45 per week on formula, when buying in bulk or around $2,340 per year."

So where does the money go? Here are the top nine financial shocks that parents face when they add a child to their family.

1. Medical expenses: Medical care for mother and child is a potentially significant expense facing new parents. The cost of delivering a new baby can range from $5,000 to $8,000 for a vaginal delivery to more than $12,000 for a cesarean delivery. If there are complications, those costs can increase dramatically. New babies require numerous well-visit checkups and immunizations.

2. Maternity leave: Although most short-term disability insurance policies cover the time Mom is out of work due to recovery from child birth (or complications during pregnancy), the average policy only pays a portion of your gross income for a set number of weeks (usually four to eight) after birth. If your maternity leave extends beyond the stipulated time, or if Dad decides to take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it will be at no pay unless you use vacation or sick leave.

3. Child care: If both parents work outside of the home, they need to be prepared for probably the biggest financial shock facing new parents -- the cost of child care. Depending upon where you live, child care expenses can range from $5,000 per year for family day care to more than $20,000 per year for a live-out nanny.

4. Diapers and wipes: The average baby goes through ten diapers a day. If you use disposable diapers, that’ll cost you about $2,000 by the time your little one is potty-trained! Add to that the cost of cleaning their little bottom with a wet wipe or two at each diaper change and you’ll be adding about $100 to your monthly grocery bill. Even using cloth diapers can be expensive if you use a diaper service.

5. Formula and/or breast-feeding expenses: The cost of formula shocks just about every new parent. The general rule of thumb is that a baby needs about 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight per day.

6. Baby gear: Many new parents don't realize just how much "baby gear" is required to care for and entertain an infant. Crib? Changing table? Rocker or glider? Car seat? Stroller? Baby swing? Monitor? Bouncer seat? Doorway jumper?

7. Clothing and shoes: "Babies outgrow clothing at an amazing rate, so they need a new wardrobe every few months.”Plus, they never get to wear some of the gifts you get because by the time they get to be the right size, it's the wrong season for the clothes!"

8. Baby food: Once babies reach 4 to 6 months of age, they start eating baby food in addition to drinking breast milk or formula.

9. Life insurance premiums and attorney fees: Review life insurance policies and increase them so that each spouse has adequate funds to raise each child to age 21, should something happen to one of them.

Experts have estimated that the cost of raising a baby to age 18 costs between $125,000 - $250,000 and that’s not including college tuition. In a baby’s first year alone, a family can easily spend between $9,000-$11,000 (for diapers, formula, baby furniture, clothing, baby gear, etc.). If the mother has to go back to work, childcare can cost as much as $3,000-$4,500 in the baby’s first year, not to mention the higher insurance premiums for adding an additional person.


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