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Think college is pricey? You'll be shocked to find out how much infant necessities can be!

Written by: Olivia Davis


For many of us in the states, seeking financial support to cover the cost of post-secondary schooling is nothing short of burdensome. With the existing stress of student loan debts and tuition, it makes sense that college is the most costly expense in a child’s life, right? Well, you may be surprised to find out that you spend more on your kids when they’re young! 


The Cost to Supervise

Infants are pretty high maintenance—a fact that tends to be overlooked by many people. They require a lot of attention and supervision, and many mothers have work obligations that interfere with the time they can spend with their babies. Because of this, infants will more than likely be sent to childcare facilities during the day. Here, they are expected to receive the same level of supervision, as well as designated times to eat, sleep, and play around. The main difference? Childcare facilities don’t operate for free.

According to a 2024 article from the TOOTRiS News and Education Center website, the Economic Policy Institute concluded an average of around $9,000/year is spent on childcare services for infants. That same article later noted that this cost exceeded the amount spent on most 4-year public universities by roughly $5,000—meaning the amount spent on childcare services is nearly double the amount spent on tuition!


What About Their Needs?

Supervision is only a fraction of this childcare equation. In most instances, concern lies in the affordability of the products a child needs. Nutrition, clothing, and hygiene are the top three physical priorities within a baby’s life, as these needs continue on far into adulthood. Things like diapers, wipes, and baby formula can rack up a great deal of money.  A 2023 article posted by Investopedia suggests that parents should aim to spend $1000/month, as they are projected to buy around 3,500 diapers a year. In a perfect world, this would mean $12,000 spent each year on diapers alone!

Let’s compare this to the needs of a university student. While it’s unlikely college students will have to worry about buying diapers and formula, they still have supply needs of their own. The Education Data Initiative website established that the average cost for textbooks and supplies for most public 4-year colleges was only $1,220 annually. In short, the cost of college supplies only makes up around 10% of the cost of infant supplies.


Efforts to Make Change

Over the years, the U.S. Government has made numerous attempts to improve the affordability of childcare. One of the more recent attempts was the Child Care and Development Fund of 2024—a bill designed to lower childcare costs for families whilst improving adequate pay for childcare providers.

While this bill is definitely a step in the right direction, there is still more that needs to be done. Everyday members of society are equally capable of impacting how our government perceives the demand for affordable childcare. I urge you to reach out to your local Congressman. Ask them to support this bill—and similar legislation—to help ease the burden of financial stress caused by unaffordable childcare.


Reach Out to Others

Fortunately, there are some notable businesses and organizations that prioritize advocacy for children. If you’re looking for additional information to help, here’s a list of a few websites to look into:



If there are any other websites that you as the reader can suggest, please feel free to leave a comment!

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