When I began having children, there was no question that I would breastfeed. The decision was based mainly on medical research about the health benefits of nursing for babies and mothers. A secondary reason had to do with the money we would save on formula. Feeding our first two children my all-natural mother's milk saved us nearly $3000.
I checked the prices of the following comparable brands of formula at Walmart.com: Enfamil Premium Infant, Gerber Good Start Protect, and Similac Advance. These brands are sold in 6 packs that range in price from $82.44 - $87.72, which makes the approximate prices per can as follows:
Enfamil (12.5 oz.) $15
Similac (12.4 oz.) $14
Gerber (12.4 oz.) $14
*One 12 oz. can makes about 88 fl. oz. of formula.
Our Savings During the First 3 Months
During the first 3 months of their lives, my children drank breast milk exclusively. On average, my children were fed 10 times in a 24 hour period during the first several weeks. During each feeding, they drank an average of 2 oz. of milk. By the time they were 4 weeks old, the number of feedings decreased to an average of 8 times per day, and they were eating an average of 3 oz. per feeding. At 12 weeks old, they drank approximately 5 oz. of breast milk 6 to 8 times per day.
Weeks 1 thru 4 - 280 feedings X 2 oz. = 560 oz.
Weeks 5 thru 8 - 224 feedings X 3 oz. = 672 oz.
Weeks 9 thru 12 - 196 feedings X 5 oz. = 980 oz.
Total Fluid Ounces of Breast Milk = 2,212 (equivalent to approximately 25 cans of formula)
Approximate Savings = $363
Our Savings During Months 4 thru 6
With both children, my maternity leave ended after 3 months, so I was no longer able to provide breast milk for all of their feedings. However, they still nursed during half of their feedings on weekdays and for all feedings on weekends. I also pumped everyday during my lunch breaks so that they could have one breast milk feeding each day at daycare. As a result, my children were still breastfed approximately 38 times per week, which is equivalent to 152 times per month or 456 times in 3 months. The amount of that they took per feeding was anywhere from 5 oz. to 8 oz. for an average of 6.5 oz.
Total Fluid Ounces of Breast Milk = 2,964 (equivalent to approximately 34 cans of formula)
Approximate Savings = $493
Our Savings During Months 7 thru 12
Once our children were 6 months old, we started incorporating solids into their diets, which reduced their nursing needs. For the purpose of determining a low-end estimate of how much we saved on formula during this time period, I can say for certain that both children drank breast milk at least 3 times each day. This would be equivalent to 84 times per month or 504 times in 6 months. The number of ounces that they drank each time progressively decreased by month 12, but a fair average would be 6 oz. per feeding.
Total Fluid Ounces of Breast Milk = 3,024 (equivalent to approximately 34 cans of formula)
Approximate Savings = $498
Based on these calculations, our overall savings as a result of feeding our children breast milk comes to approximately $1354 per child.
With our third child on the way, we have been busy preparing for her arrival. One thing that we don't have to worry about, though, are initial added costs associated with feeding her. She will breastfeed like our sons did, and we will again save up to $1,500.
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