Economics of Breastfeeding

Those of you who have known me for any length of time already know that I’m pretty cheap. Actually, I prefer the term “thrifty,” but that’s a discussion for another post…

Anyways, when I made the decision to breastfeed, the cost of formula primarily drove my decision. I honestly didn’t know much about the wonderful health benefits of breastfeeding or how special it would be to snuggle/bond with my baby through feedings. But, again, these are topics for future posts!

So, because I’m so *thrifty* and I love a good deal, I decided to do the math & find out just how much I’ve saved by breastfeeding.

For the first six months (until solids are introduced) an average baby consumes 32 oz of breast milk or formula in a 24-hour period. once solids are introduced, that amount may drop some, but milk should still be the primary source of nutrition. An average infant between 8-11 months consumes appx. 20 oz in a 24-hour period.

So, the average (although, let’s face it, T is above average!– Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) infant consumes 9,480 oz of breast milk or formula in the first year of life. That’s a lot!!!

Enfamil Infant Formula costs $25.00/tub, depending on where you buy it… According to the back of the package, it makes appx. 167 oz. So, 9,480 divided by 167 is 57 (when rounded up, since you can’t buy a partial tub of formula). At $25/tub, the total cost for 57 tubs (roughly one year’s worth) of formula is……..


Keep in mind that this is for BASIC infant formula. If your child is gassy or has a sensitive stomach, the cost only goes up. For instance, a year’s worth of Enfamil Gentlease Infant Formula would cost roughly $1,853. Generally speaking, the makeup of breast milk is gentler and easier for infants to digest, so even fussy/gassy/colicy infants can still digest breast milk relatively easily.

Even when you factor in the cost of (optional) breastfeeding accessories… $300 for a breast pump, $100 for 4 nursing bras and $10 for reusable nursing pads (aren’t these adorable? I just ordered 4 pairs!!) I’ve still saved close to $1,000 by breastfeeding T for his first year!

That’s enough to buy a new washer & dryer, or take a family vacation, or pay T’s hospital bill… See, it pays to be cheap… Er, THRIFTY! 😉


About thedairyqueenmama

First-time Mom & second grade teacher from the great state of Louisiana. Loves coffee. Hates traffic jams.

Posted on June 27, 2011, in Breastfeeding, Thriftiness. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. you are something else girl!

  2. I love this, Lauren! I, too, became very passionate about breastfeeding after J was born. Before he was born I felt like breastfeeding was a beneficial choice and an economical choice, but I had no idea of all the benefits until he was here and even still I am just in awe of the way God designed it all. You are doing great! I am proud of you! Oh, and another benefit of breastfeeding is less sickness for baby so the savings just continue! 🙂

    • Kassi! I know exactly what you mean, it is AMAZING that God created us to feed our babies… I understand now why new moms are so sensitive to their babies’ cries. God made us this way so our kids won’t starve! I’m constantly reminded of how brilliant God is when I think about how He designed our bodies!

      • I agree! Quite an amazing system that God put in women’s bodies. Interesting post. I never calculated the savings before!

  3. Oh, wow. Thanks for this. I had no idea what the actual savings were.

  1. Pingback: Yes. I’m Still Breastfeeding. And Also, I’m Still Snarky. « The Dairy Queen

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