Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding: A Cost Comparison

There is a ton of material out there on the benefits of breast feeding. There is no doubt for most that breast feeding is the healthiest way for your baby to eat. The contents of human breast milk are completely natural, and specially designed for your baby’s consumption. In most cases, your milk is the healthiest thing for your baby, especially during the first six months of her life.

But there are other advantages to breast feeding, significant advantages. One of the most often overlooked advantages is, quite simply, that breast feeding will save your family money. While we’re not suggesting that finances should be the main reason you make decisions regarding your baby’s health, this is one of those win-win situations where doing what’s best for your baby also happens to save you money: a lot of money. Consider this:

  • A can of formula generally costs between $12 and $25. And the amount of formula your baby needs will increase dramatically as he gets older. A newborn may only take 2 ounces at a time, six to eight times per day. But an older baby will go through a whole can of formula in less than a week.
  • There are numerous other costs to bottle feeding, most notably bottles and nipples. While these are not tremendously expensive in and of themselves, they do add up. Of course, many breastfeeding moms also choose to pump breast milk, thus incurring some of these same costs. But at least with breastfeeding, you have the option of saving these expenses.
  • Breast fed babies get sick less often. While you may not have thought of this as a cost saving item, consider that every trip to the doctor takes money. Even if your baby is fully insured, it takes time.

The cost savings of breast feeding over bottle feeding may not seem like much, but when you add them up, it can quickly become significant. One humorous mother pointed out that she had saved enough money by breast feeding to pay for a home computer.

Most of us would not turn down an extra $25 per week if it was offered to us. We understand that it adds up. The same is true with the savings from breast feeding.