Tag Archives: saving money with baby

Saving Money with Baby – Breastfeeding

Before I launch into my post, I don’t want to seem as if I’m pushing one feeding method over another.  I voluntarily chose to not breastfeed (after trying for 6 weeks) for multiple reasons – the primary one being my sanity.  I support any woman in whichever choice she makes to feed her child, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.  This is simply a post about how you would save money if you breastfeed.

Daughter Person was fed breast milk (notice I didn’t say breastfed) for almost 6 weeks.  She spent a week in the NICU and I had to pump, which created a *huge* supply/demand issue when she got out, and she would never actually latch.  After watching Dad or my mom feed my daughter because I was pumping instead, I said to hell with it, and we went out and bought formula – and I personally feel that it was one of the best decisions of my life. It also makes me a little more qualified to compare the cost of the two 🙂

Bottles are required for formula feeding, but not for breastfeeding (but you’ll probably still buy some anyway so you can take a break), so I’m not including the prices of bottles in this calculation.

Costs of Breastfeeding

(Optional) pump: $200
(Optional) milk storage bags: $12 for 50ct
(Optional) nursing clothing: $50-$100
(Optional) nursing pillow: $45-$65
(Optional) reusable breast pads: $15
Total optional items: $322 – $392

Notice that all of these things are listed as “optional”? They weren’t for me, but they’re not really *required* to nurse a child.

Costs of Formula Feeding

We were *very* lucky in that Daughter Person did not have any special needs or allergies where we needed special formula. If your child does have such needs, triple or quadruple the numbers below.

We used Kirkland (Costco) brand formula for Daughter Person, $17/canister, and each canister made 262 oz of formula – $0.15/oz.  When you formula feed, you *will* make too much formula at once and have to throw some out, so I’m using the amounts we actually made, not just what Daughter Person actually drank.  Daughter Person also drank very little compared to some of my friends’ children, so these would just be estimates for any other child, and probably on the low side.

From 6 weeks when we ran out of frozen breast milk to about 2 months, Daughter Person drank 2-3oz per bottle, and 8 bottles per day (and night).  That’s 24oz per day for 2 weeks: $50.40

From 2 months to 4 months, she drank about 4oz per bottle, and still drank 8 per day.  That’s 2 months (60 days), at 32oz per day: $288

From 4 months to 6 months, she drank 6 oz per feeding and had about 6 feedings per day: $324

Then from 6 months to a year, she drank about 4 feedings of 6oz each per day: $648  At that point, we switched to whole milk.  We started feeding her solid food at 6 months, and she slowed down on formula consumption at that point.

Some kids drink as much as 8oz or more at a feeding when they get close to 6months, but not Daughter Person, so your mileage may vary.

Total costs: $1,310.40


You could save anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 (or more if you need to use a special formula) by exclusively breastfeeding, so it’s a good economical choice if you have that option.

Saving Money with Baby – Baby Led Weaning

baby led weaning

Daughter Person with her first non-formula meal – peaches

Another way to save money with baby is baby led weaning.  Baby led weaning is much more common outside of the US, but it’s got a growing group of proponents in the US as well.

We couldn’t do a “pure” baby led weaning approach because it made daycare (and grandma) nervous, and so we had to make some purees to send to daycare with her.  But, we never bought a jar of “baby food” or a box of rice cereal, so Daughter Person’s solid foods were just part of our normal grocery budget.  We’d just give her some of whatever we were eating.  Our purchase of fruits increased when we started feeding her solids, but that was about it.

What is Baby Led Weaning?

Baby Led Weaning (or BLW) is when you go straight from breastfeeding or formula to “adult” solid food, skipping the rice cereal and purees that are baby’s most common first foods.  You feed your baby regular food that you’d eat yourself.  There are some differences though – for example, you wouldn’t give a baby meat until they’ve got some teeth to be able to chew it, and you tend to need to overcook veggies so they’re soft enough.  You can find more information about BLW and some recipe ideas online.

Our Experience

Daughter Person turned 6 months old in July, so we had it pretty easy: we started with peaches – plentiful, in season, and most importantly soft.  We sliced peaches up into thin strips, and initially removed the skin from the slices, but we learned very quickly that the skins helped her hold onto the peach slices as she was eating them.  We moved onto pasta, steamed carrots, green beans, avocados, kiwi, mangoes, lentils and beans.  Daughter Person didn’t get any teeth until she was almost 10 months old, so we were semi-limited in what we could give her up until then.  Anything we thought she could gum was fair game (Cheerios are very gum-able by the way).

Once she had her teeth, we started giving her more variety: chicken, beef, pork, slightly less cooked veggies.  She learned to use a spoon and fork pretty early because we gave her the opportunity.  By the time she had teeth, we were just giving her tastes of what was on our plates – spices and all.  Yes, it makes a mess for a while – although I’ve seen pictures from parents who went the puree route and it’s about the same amount of mess sometimes!

Daycare and grandma had concerns about her choking. When they first start eating, they have trouble keeping the food to the front of their mouths, so they look like they’re choking when they’re gagging.  You really do have to learn the difference between choking and just gagging.  They do eventually get the hang of it and stop giving you heart attacks every time they eat.  We pureed some food for her, and sent that in with her to daycare – she really didn’t like it.  One thing our daycare did let us do was highlight on the school menu what she was and was not allowed to have, so we highlighted everything we thought she could handle at the time – and I think she was the only baby in the infant room on the full daycare menu (most others switched in the toddler room 12mth+).


There are some precautions to take while using the baby led weaning approach.  If you or other family members have an allergy, hold off on those particular foods until you’ve gotten the OK from your pediatrician.  Only introduce 1-2 new foods at a time so you can catch any allergic reactions (just like with purees).  Don’t feed them choking hazards (grapes, nuts, hot dogs, popcorn, etc – your pediatrician should have a full list).  Finally, be comfortable with the equivalent of the Heimlich maneuver for babies/young children.  We never had to use it, but it never hurts to be prepared.

We now have a toddler that will eat many things most “kids” won’t eat:  stir fry, salads, and lots of fruits and veggies.  We still don’t give her the choking hazards, except grapes, but otherwise, she eats exactly what we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Sometimes she doesn’t want to eat that particular meal that particular night, but that’s a different story.

Saving Money with Baby – Home Birth

One of the major costs of a baby is the pregnancy and giving birth.  A home birth is an option that some people should consider in order to save money.  Daughter Person was born at home with the assistance from midwives.  They charged $3500 to my insurance company, and I paid $20 – for *everything* from the midwives.  There are some “hidden” costs that you learn about as you go along, but they did not exceed $1200 (and some of it was reimbursed by my insurance).

A home birth is not for everyone.  It’s only available to “normal” pregnancies – anything high-risk means you have to begin working with an obstetrician (twins, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, breech baby, etc).  There is no pain medication available – and I know that’s important to many people.  There is always the risk of an emergency, and you’re not already in the hospital.

There are also definite benefits: you’re at home, someplace you are comfortable and “relaxed” – or as relaxed as possible while in labor.  There is no “going home”, because you’re already home.  I was out and about visiting the afternoon after Daughter Person was born (not the best idea in hindsight, but *shrug*).

Why did I choose a home birth?

It wasn’t for any financial reason – we had excellent insurance, and I would have paid about $500 total for a hospital birth – although, I’ve heard that an epidural is considered “elective” and insurance doesn’t cover it, but I can’t confirm that.  I did a home birth for the simple reason that I *hate* hospitals.  I am extremely needlephobic, and just the thought of getting blood drawn “just because” was enough to keep me from getting pregnant to start with.  Until I found my midwives (Birthcare & Womens Health).  They offer an introductory session every month, and I attended and asked questions.  I could get by with 2 needles total – assuming everything went well, and we decided to take the risk.  The fear of needles was stronger than the fear of labor pain – and for any woman who’s given birth, that gives you an idea of how much I hate needles – I still would rather go through labor again than have blood drawn.

Safety of Home Birth

There are many differing statistics on the safety of home birth – and much of it depends on the skills of the midwives.  As any couple who’s been pregnant can tell you, there are *many* things that can possibly go wrong during a pregnancy and birth, and you can’t necessarily be prepared for all of them – whether at home or in a hospital.  So many women choose a hospital on the off chance of something going wrong – they’re already in the hospital.  Home birth midwives focus on reducing the risks that something will go wrong – that’s why any high-risk pregnancy cannot attempt a home birth.  There are also backup plans in place in case something does go wrong.  My midwives work closely with an obstetrician who will take emergency cases.  If anything had started going wrong, I would have been transferred to the closest hospital via ER.  If I had decided that *I* wanted to be in the hospital for any reason (like pain medication), we would transfer to the obstetrician’s primary hospital.  Luckily, I made it through pregnancy and delivery without any major issues (although there were some close calls).  But home birth midwives are aware of the risks, tell their patients ahead of time and let their patients decide.

Hidden Costs

There are some “hidden” costs to home birth that are not easily available.  The first is that my midwives required that we attend a natural birthing class: $175.  The second is that we have to provide a majority of the disposable supplies: $85.  The final cost is that the midwives work with a birthing assistant (also a nurses’ assistant), and we have to pay for their services.  Our birthing assistant charged $800.  80% of this was reimbursed by my insurance company, but it’s also a cost that we paid up front.  So our total costs including the midwives (assuming no insurance) would have been $4,700.  That’s a lot less than the quoted $30,000-$50,000 average for a hospital birth.

The Experience

One question I get often when people hear that I gave birth at home is “how was it?”.  I won’t go into details, but it was both long, hard and empowering.  I didn’t really notice the midwife checking vital signs periodically, and I was relatively comfortable at home.  I could eat what I want, when I wanted, I could get in the shower if I wanted, I could pretty much do anything I wanted within reason.  After Daughter Person was born I felt very empowered and strong.  I had really done that.  The midwife stayed around until 4 hours after Daughter Person was born to make sure everyone was OK, and then we were left at home as a new family of three.   Not to say that women can’t feel this way with a hospital birth, but that’s my experience.

Daughter Person did have to go into the NICU when she was 3 days old, but not for any reason related to the home birth – she developed severe jaundice and needed a blood transfusion.

I’m happy to answer any other questions you might have about my home birth.  Feel free to comment or e-mail me directly: mom at 3isplenty dot com.