Costs of Formula VS Breastfeeding

breastfeeding 1 Breastfeeding is such a beautifully natural thing. It baffles me when I think of anyone saying that it’s a bad thing. The benefits of breastfeeding are tremendous. However, in this post, I will be focusing on one benefit in particular: money.

Before I get started, I would like to clarify a few things real quick.

#1 I do not like formula, however, I am not the waterboy’s mama. I don’t think formula is the devil. ;)


#2 I understand some women can’t breastfeed for many reasons.

#3 I am not bashing formula feeders in any way in this blog. I am simply stating facts and doing the math. Feeding your child formula does not make you a bad mother. NOT feeding your child makes you a bad mother. Unless, of course, you can’t help it. Then you’re one broke mom in need of some help.

So if you have the opportunity to breastfeed, here’s the difference in prices for the first year. P.S. You may say breastfeeding is free (and it can be). However, there are some extra things that some breastfeeding moms decide to get (such as pumps). I will be adding these expenses for breastfeeding.



Similac powdered formula, which is what many moms use, is about $16 for a 12 oz can. This will make fifteen 6oz bottles, or 90oz. That’s about $0.18 per oz.

Now, all babies drink different amounts, but here is the averages for babies that are formula fed only for 6mo, then formula with solids for the next 6mo (according to Similac):

1-2 weeks= 12-30 oz a day (average 21 oz)
3-4 weeks= 18-32 oz a day (average 25 oz)
1-2 months= 20-30 oz a day (average 25 oz)
2-3 months = 25-36 oz a day (average 31 oz)
3-4 months= 24-35 oz a day (average 30 oz)
4-7 months= 28-40 oz a day (average 34 oz)
7-9 months= 21-32 oz a day (average 27 oz)
9-12 months= 21-24 oz a day (average 23 oz)

Lets assume your baby eats the amount right in the middle (average #). I won’t do the boring math here, but your baby will eat about 10,150 oz a year! So divide that by 90 oz per can and times it by $16 a can. $1804 is what you will be spending on formula alone! Most formula moms use more bottles than breastfeeding moms, but I won’t even average that number out. Just in case you’re curious, if your baby was a little piggy and ate the max (a LOT of babies do), your child eat about 11,800 oz which is about $2097! For this example, we’ll stick with the $1804.

So about $1800! No I probably don’t have to tell you that breastfeeding is cheaper, even with a pump. But here goes. Here is how much it would cost for the best brand stuff (like Medela):

Breastmilk: FREE!


Medela Breast Pump in Style Double Pump: $270

medela double pump

Reusable nursing pads: about $30 (for all year)

reusable breast pads

Nursing bras: $50 (for two) (By the way, you don’t have to buy specialty bras. Anything you can bring up over your breast or under your breast easily and comfortably will work. I use genie bras, which are about $10 each. They feel like a sports bra but have more support.)

nursing bragenie bra

Freezer bags:  This varies on how much pumping you do, but on average MAYBE $75, which is way overestimating for most

breast milk bags breast milk storage

Fridge storage: Free from hospital! But if you want to buy your own, MAYBE $20

Add all that together= $445. You could get a ton more stuff with the (about) $1360 you save!

Again… over $1300!!!


3 thoughts on “Costs of Formula VS Breastfeeding

  1. hamonious Jan 07 2014 / 7:41 AM

    Thanks for doing the math!! I was not able to make enough breastmilk to last a year with my first son even with a freezer stash and ended up paying for formula until he was 2! It was so expensive! I am on my 2nd child now and was so determined to pump and freeze aggressively and will make it to one year! I can’t even begin to tell you how much it has saved me!


    • onebrokemom Jan 07 2014 / 2:43 PM

      It is definitely a huge saving! Just a tip, the more you let your baby nurse, the more you should produce. Even if it’s just a little snack between feedings when he’s not really hungry. I am planning on making a post about the myths of breastfeeding and how to keep your supply up soon. :)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s