The Hidden Costs of Breast Feeding

So with another baby my wife is back to breast feeding.  I find it rather amusing now again when people comment that breast feeding a baby has no cost.  When in actually it does have some related costs.  After all breast milk isn’t formed out of thin air you know.

So what costs are involved? Here is a brief list:

  1. Nursing bras. Good ones cost about $40 each and my wife has four.  She used some sales and gift cards to reduce our cost to $120 rather than the full $160.
  2. Nursing pads. To protect those bras from leaks.  Cost is about $0.40 a day.  You might be able to get this cheaper with coupons so keep an eye out.
  3. Food. Nursing woman need about an extra 500 calories a day to produce the breast milk.  Given the average female diet is around 2000 to 2500 calories per day that means an increase of 20 to 25% of their normal food intake.  You will notice this on your monthly food costs.  I would estimate this is going to be around $40/month for us.
  4. Water. Lots of water.  Depending on your costs you might actually notice this on your water bill.
  5. Optional items. Such as a nursing pillow for comfort (about $40), and perhaps a new chair if you don’t have a good one in the house.  Additionally some nursing shirts might be useful depending on what you have in the closet.  My wife highly recommends nursing sleep wear ($30) for comfort while getting what little sleep you can between those first few weeks of feeds in the middle of the night.

Despite all these cost breast feeding is still cheaper formula, but it isn’t free.  The exact cost is going to depend on how long you nurse the baby.  Many thanks to my wife who provided most of the information for this post.

2 thoughts on “The Hidden Costs of Breast Feeding”

  1. And if you plan to work or will be away from your baby for more than a few hours while breastfeeding, don’t forget to add the cost of a breast pump, bottles, and freezer bags. My basic, low-end electric pump was $130. Still cheaper than formula, and you can’t put a dollar figure on the amazing health and emotional benefits!

  2. My wife had a voracious appetite while she was breast feeding our daughter. And despite the huge meals she was eating, she managed to lose weight. Breast feeding consumes a lot of calories = lots of extra food in the house!

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