Budgeting for Baby: The Cost-Saving Benefits of Breastfeeding

September 3, 2013

Of course, there are many benefits of breastfeeding to consider for both mom and baby, but what about cost? We all know that starting a family means a significant financial commitment – in other words, babies are expensive. No matter what your budget is like, it’s important to plan ahead and prepare for the lifestyle change that a new baby brings.

Whether you’re about to welcome a little one into the world or thinking about your current breastfeeding journey, you might be wondering how much breastfeeding costs. But first, take a look at the cost of not breastfeeding:

Powdered formula, the least expensive type of formula, usually costs between $20 and $30 per large can and formula-fed babies will likely need about 1-1.5 cans of formula per week. Feeding formula means spending $80-$150 or even upwards of $250 per month if your baby requires special formula due to allergies or other special nutritional needs. This means that in one year, your family could spend $960 (low end) to $3,000 (high end) on formula.

Compare that to breast milk – perfect, complete nutrition without having to mix bottles or carry extra feeding gear – which is totally free. The Surgeon General of the United States notes that following optimal breastfeeding practices can save $1,200–$1,500 in the first year of your baby’s life when compared to buying formula. With that in mind, even spending a couple hundred dollars on a breast pump and supplies winds up costing considerably less than purchasing formula for your baby. We all know about the health benefits of breastfeeding, but don’t forget that healthier infants can also require fewer doctor visits, which lowers healthcare costs (and less time out of work for mom + dad). You can find more of the Surgeon General’s cost-saving benefits of breastfeeding here.

We can also take a look at the big picture. A study published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the United States could save $13 billion per year (in direct and indirect health costs) and prevent almost 1,000 infant deaths if 90% of families chose to breastfeed their babies exclusively for 6 months.

Breastfeeding saves money (and lives) while creating a lifelong bond between you and your little one.

0721 - infographic for blog 35261_Cost-SavingBenefits_r2

What made the biggest impact on your decision to breastfeed?

**Infographic added 7/21/2015

24 thoughts on “Budgeting for Baby: The Cost-Saving Benefits of Breastfeeding

  1. Mom of two boys says:

    I had to pump with my first since he would not latch on, so my pump definitely was worth the cost and paid for itself. Now I am breastfeeding my second and going strong at 10 months!! Every single time I wanted to give up I just think of the benefits I am giving my son and the expense I am saving my family!!

    • That is so wonderful to hear! Great job breastfeeding for 10 months, mama. Keep up the fantastic work!

      – Kathy

  2. Hi ladies(:! I am currently pregnant and wanting to breastfeed. I bought a medela pump in style and I am soo excited in this new journey. I am due Sept 9th.! Is there a medela site I can use for extra help?! Or any samples?!

    • Hi Whitney,

      Congratulations, what an exciting time! You can find tips for preparing to breastfeed while pregnant here: http://bit.ly/1RU8kP8. Our website also has a variety of other resources for you: http://bit.ly/1CWV0CT

      If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out! You may also want to like Medela on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter, too (@Medela_US). Hope this helps!


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