Couples have a lot to consider when thinking about starting a family, especially if one or both of them are active servicemembers. These parents-to-be will face all the same issues other new moms and dads must face — such as planning for a baby financially — as well as issues exclusive to the military. Read on for guidance and things to consider when having a baby while in the military.
Planning for a Baby Financially While in the Military
Starting a family can be a challenging yet exciting proposition that includes many expenses, some of which are unforeseen or surprising to new parents. By coming up with a solid budget plan and working toward the goal of setting aside money for savings, you will be on your way to having financial peace and clarity as your family grows.
It is not uncommon for new parents to be financially unprepared. Luckily, it’s never too late (or too early) to learn financial management. One of the best ways to prepare is to consider all the costs of having a child while you are in the military. Consider things like:
- The cost of childbirth — how much will your insurance cover?
- If you’re adopting, what will those expenses look like?
- Will you be relocating to a larger home?
- Will you need childcare eventually?
- How much will stocking up on necessities (formula, diapers, etc.) cost?
- Will you undergo any fertility treatments? If so, how much will you pay out of pocket?
Do some research on your own and ask other military parents for their advice on planning for a baby financially. Then, create a spreadsheet that lists all your current expenses deducted from your current income and add in all the potential expenses you will have after the baby arrives. That will give you a good idea of what you will have left over and how much you should set aside each month.
How Much Maternity or Paternity Leave Does the Military Offer?
Knowing how much parental leave you can take when having a baby in the military is important — especially because that amount has recently changed. The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act requires the military to provide up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for both primary and secondary caregivers.
This means that active-duty new moms who also are the primary caregiver could receive 12 weeks of parental leave in addition to their six weeks of convalescent leave for a birth or adoption. The new law will go into effect in December 2022.
For those whose little one is already on the way and due before that, active-duty mothers are allowed six weeks of maternity leave plus another six weeks of primary caregiver leave. This can be taken consecutively for a total of 12 weeks' leave. Meanwhile, the non-birth parent is allowed up to three weeks of secondary caregiver leave. However, details of maternity/paternity leave vary by service branch.
AAFMAA Offers Services to Help You Plan
AAFMAA’s services help servicemembers plan for the big milestones in life, including having a baby while in the military. Buy the perfect house to bring them home with the help of AAFMAA Mortgage Services (AMS). Make sure they’re taken care of if anything happens to you with the help of our military life insurance.
Whatever you need, we’ve got the tools and resources to help! Contact us today to learn more about how our services benefit military families.