Nov 6, 2006

The Finances of Preparing to Breastfeed #2

I had so much trouble breastfeeding Alex during the first six weeks or so of his life that the prospect of nursing my second child looms large on the horizon. I have been reassured by other moms that it will be easier this time around, and I know I am better prepared in every way. I also have the satisfaction of knowing that I nursed Alex until he was 15 1/2 months old. Nevertheless, I find myself dwelling on this topic a lot lately.

One positive thing that stands out is the financial aspect. I think that the first time around, I spent as much on breastfeeding equipment, supplements and consultations as I would have on a year's worth of formula. Before Alex was born, I spent about $40 on an Avent Isis manual breast pump, which I never used. On the day we left the hospital, I bought a Medela Pump In Style Advanced breast pump, which was $350 (comparable to Babies R Us at the time). I spent $25 for a nearly worthless hour with the hospital's lactation consultant when Alex was two days old, and another $80 to $100 for an almost equally worthless hour with an independent lactation consultant when Alex was four or five days old. A few days after that, I spent $180 on a (finally!) fruitful consultation with Ellen Steinberg, who also rented me a baby scale for three weeks for approximately $100. Over the course of the next year, I spent another several hundred dollars on supplements to increase my milk supply, extra pumping equipment, and nursing bras, pads and pillows.

I've read that the average cost of formula-feeding an infant for one year is approximately $1200, and I'd guess that's about what I spent in total to breastfeed Alex. While I will need to pay for some of these things again, I won't have to spend quite so much - I estimate about $200-$300 over the course of a year on new pump parts, nursing pads, and such. So we will actually see some savings due to breastfeeding this time. It's also quite possible that breastfeeding saves us on medical costs, since Alex has been remarkably healthy and hopefully this baby will be also.

I'll post more about the non-financial aspects of preparing to breastfeed #2 in the near future.

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