If you are a soon-to-be mother, one important decision you have to make is whether or not you will breastfeed your child. Of course, this is a deeply personal decision, and you must decide based on your own feelings and situation. However, there are several financial benefits to breastfeeding that you should consider before making your choice.
Guaranteed way to save $1,000 the first year of your child’s life. For the first four to six months, your baby should only consume breastmilk or formula. If you breastfeed, your only expense will be a little extra food for mom because breastfeeding does increase your appetite. In addition, it may be worthwhile to invest in a breast pump, which can cost around $200, but you could ask for this as a shower gift. In contrast, if you formula feed exclusively, Baby Center estimates that you will pay $105 per month for formula for a total of $630 for the first 6 months. Even after your baby is introduced to solids, you will have to supplement with formula until the baby is a year old, at an average cost of $50 a month, bringing your one year cost of formula feeding to just shy of $1,000. This is assuming your baby doesn’t need to consume any special diet formula.
Potential savings on medical bills for the baby. Breastfeeding has several benefits for the baby including increased protection against viral and bacterial infections thanks to the mother’s antibodies that are passed through breastmilk (Women’s Health). If your baby is sick less often, you will have fewer doctor’s visits to pay for, and if you work, you will not need to miss work to take the baby to the doctor.
Potential savings on medical bills for you. Breastfeeding may help reduce a woman’s risk of getting certain types of breast cancer and ovarian cancer (Women’s Health). In addition, women who breastfeed tend to lose weight postpartum quicker than women who do not breastfeed, which can lead to a healthier mom and cheaper medical insurance.
The savings multiple as you have more children. Even if you do buy a breast pump yourself, if you have more than one child that you breastfeed, you will be able to use that same pump. So, if you breastfeed and pay $250 for a pump, your cost of breastfeeding for the first year is 75% cheaper than paying $1000 to formula feed for a year. After breastfeeding the second child, you have still paid out only $250 for the breast pump, but now you have saved $2,000 by not formula feeding two children, making breastfeeding 87.5% cheaper than formula feeding.
If you are returning to work, your employer should be able to provide you with a private place where you can pump during the day. If you decide not to pump while at work, you could still save money by breastfeeding your child in the morning and at night.
Each women has to make her own decision about breastfeeding, but keep in mind, breastfeeding provides significant financial and health benefits. In addition, when your baby is crying at 2 a.m., it is much easier to breastfeed rather than prepare a bottle.
Did you breastfeed or feed your baby formula? What influenced your decision?
**Photo by Topinambour on Flickr**