Conveniently, the natural parenting way is often the easy way—and the cheap way. That’s true with breastfeeding, babywearing, and cloth diapering. If parents are thinking of baby feeding method as a choice, comparing breastfeeding and formula feeding side by side, there is no comparison. Pay or don’t pay. It’s an easy choice to make. The easy way turns out to be both better for mothers and babies and the least expensive for everyone.
Costs of Baby Feeding
The cost of formula can vary wildly from powdered formula in a can at about $1,400/year to high-end lactose-free organic formula for about $5,000/year. Add $100 of bottles and equipment, and this can become quite an expensive proposition.
The cost of breastfeeding can vary from just a few breast pads for a mother who isn’t going to pump at all and doesn’t wear special clothing to $400 or more for those who buy pump, bottles, nursing bras, nipple cream, and so on. The high end is really for those who are going to be away from their breastfeeding babies for extended periods of time, so a great electric pump and milk storage system for several hundred dollars will help to keep their milk coming.
I bought a manual pump and a few bottles (a babysitter kit), nursing bras, and a few nursing shirts for a total of about $100. That was for my first child. With my second child I used only the nursing bras and nothing else. I was past the stuff stage by then. As with most parenting decisions, you can often choose to skip most of the stuff and do just fine. Every baby list includes a stroller, but just choosing a baby carrier can cut down on costs and help you get much closer to your baby. Same with breastfeeding. A few tools carefully selected to meet the needs of your lifestyle and you are ready to build the close, healthy relationship you and your baby need.
Keep in Mind the Cost of Good Nutrition
Sadly, in our society of industrialized food choices, making sure that a breastfeeding mother has the best nutrition to feed herself and her baby can actually cost more than buying subsidized industrial foods. Consider these costs, but I don’t see how improving nutrition for any mother, no matter how she feeds her baby, could be counted as a negative.
On the upside, if you are one of the many people who made “improved health” a New Year’s resolution, you can help yourself meet your goal at the same time that you help your baby.
Today is day #14 of my new Save Green Habit: run the stairs every day.
Yes, I’m more than halfway, and I’m still running. I asked each of my family members how they are doing. My daughter is knitting every day. She’s making a sampler pillow with the new stitches she’s learning. My son has been reading and doing Kung Fu weekdays only—no Mandarin language as he had intended. My husband has forgotten to turn off his computer for the past few days, but my check-in reminded him and he’s just turned it off.
A big part of successfully meeting your goals is being accountable. It helps to have a cheerleader checking in on your progress. No one wants to say they just gave up. My son is my check in person. Every time I stand at the bottom of the stairs and take off my shoes (easier to run barefoot), he says, “Are you still running, Mama?” I am, and it helps to know that he notices. I want to make a difference for myself so he will want to make a difference for himself.