Bottle vs Breast: 13 Ways Breastfeeding Can Save Money

breastfeeding baby

Babies are expensive. Not just expensive, but really expensive. It doesn’t take long for most couples to determine that they need to save money wherever they can, and many probably wish they knew before hand what nonessential baby items they could have not wasted their money on. When it comes to stretching your hard earned money with a new baby, breastfeeding can be a great way for women to save. While breastfeeding is a personal choice and one that not every woman is able to make, those who do choose to breastfeed will have the opportunity to save money in a number of different ways.

Don’t Have To Buy Formula

Mothers that breast feed end up saving a ton of money on formula. Baby formula can be pretty expensive and it’s estimated that one year of formula can range between $1,500 to $3,000. That’s quite a lot of money. By breastfeeding, you can cut out at least $1,500 in a year by not buying formula.

Don’t Have To Buy Bottles

If you’re not buying formula, you also don’t have to buy any baby bottles. Bottles themselves might not be expensive, but you often also have to buy bottle nipples, disposable liners, and a bottle brush and nipple brush. And chances are, you’re not going to be buying one or two bottles, but at least a dozen, if not more. You’ll have to replace the bottle and its accessories, and those costs will add up over time. By breastfeeding, you can avoid all those costs.

Bottle and Formula Accessories

Not every new parent is going to go out and buy a bottle sterilizer, bottle drying rack, or powder measurer. Many of these items are useless kitchen gadgets that take up space, but there are still quite a few people who will spend the money on them. Those that breastfeed won’t need to worry about spending money on any of these items. Any additional bottle or formula gadgets won’t fall under your necessities.

Breastfeeding Equipment is Tax Deductible

The government just recently ruled that breastfeeding equipment is tax-deductible. Breast pumps and breastfeeding equipment can be somewhat expensive, so it’s great news that you can now claim this equipment on your taxes. If you have a flexible spending account through your employer, you can also use your pre-tax medical money to buy your equipment. So if you decide to breastfeed and are worried about the cost of the equipment, just remember that the IRS has approved it as tax-deductible.

Insurance Companies Cover Breastfeeding Equipment

Additionally, some insurance companies will cover the cost of your breastfeeding equipment. Not all insurance companies will do this, and it might even depend on the type of plan you choose, but it’s definitely worth investigating. If your insurance companies does cover the cost of breastfeeding equipment, that’s money you don’t have to worry about spending. Why would you pass up that opportunity?

Breastfeeding Helps Women Lose Weight

After having a baby, many women will try to shed those extra pounds they put on while they were pregnant. Sometimes this involves buying a membership to a gym and sometimes it involves buying exercise equipment for your apartment. However, breastfeeding can help women lose around 500 calories per day. So not only are you saving money on formula and bottles, but you’re also saving money you might have otherwise spent to work-out.

Save Money on Clothing and Laundry

Newborns who are fed formula are more likely to spit up, ruining both their clothing as well as yours. Some of these stains you won’t be able to get out, and you’ll have to throw the outfit out instead of sending it to be cleaned. More spit-ups also means more laundry, and whether you have your own washer or have to go to the laundromat, the cost will start to add up. Buying detergent is a small cost until you’re buying double or triple the amount. And laundromats are already expensive, so why rack up those additional costs?

Health Benefits for Babies

Babies who are breastfed tend to have stronger immune systems as breast milk carries many positive antibodies that boosts that immune system. Babies who are breastfed are also at less risk for certain respiratory illnesses and other newborn diseases. As a new parent, you’re going to want to do everything you can to make sure your child is healthy and strong. A healthy child means less money spent on medications and further precautions so that they don’t become even sicker.

Save on Doctor’s Visits

To go along with the previous point, since breastfed babies tend to be healthier, you’re saving money on doctor’s visits. Even better, you’re not only saving for their newborn years, but their entire childhood and teenage years. Kids with healthier immune systems are less likely to catch the bug that all the other kids are getting in school and so on. Therefore, you can end up saving a ton of money on doctor’s visits.

Health Benefits for Women

Breastfeeding doesn’t only provide health benefits for babies. It also provides a bunch of health benefits to mothers. Women are less likely to develop diabetes or certain types of cancer (ovarian and breast, mainly). Not only is this great health news, but it means you’re also saving yourself money because any disease requires a big life (and fiscal) change.


While the saying often goes that time is money, this can especially be true with a baby when time seems to be at a premium. It takes time preparing and warming up formula, packing bottles for day trips and making extra trips to the store when formula accidentally runs low. Not having to prepare food for the baby can save a significant amount of time for mothers of babies.

Energy Costs

Using formula instead of breastfeeding comes with a number of additional energy costs. While these costs may not seem like much on an individual level, they can add up to thousands of dollars over the years. These include the above mentioned extra washing cycles, extra trips to the store to buy formula and even the energy cost of warming the formula.

Environmental Cost

While environmental costs may not save you money directly, they can be important to those trying to be environmentally conscious. Women that breastfeed create less waste than those that feed babies with formula since there is no need for all the extra packaging that comes with formula and the equipment needed for the formula.

In the end, there are huge advantages (both health and financial) to breast feeding which should make it the preferred choice when possible.

(Photo courtesy of sdminor81)

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14 Responses to Bottle vs Breast: 13 Ways Breastfeeding Can Save Money

  1. Tara says:

    Breastfeeding is highly overrated. It’s like a cult following and they make you feel bad if you don’t breast feed your baby. There is nothing wrong with formula and every woman should feel perfectly comfortable choosing formula over breast feeding. There is no reason for people to hold their values to others that they don’t even know.

  2. ABB says:

    Great article. Loved all your reasons that breastfeeding saves money. You are in good company–the Surgeon General has some similar information in her Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding—>
    Thank you!

  3. cptacek says:

    lol, Tara. The author did not mention anything about if someone “should” or “shouldn’t” breastfeed. She just sited costs associated with formula feeding. Can you dispute anything she said in the article?

  4. Minny says:

    I understand how Tara feels. It can seem to come over a bit ‘preachy’!

    Why do you need equipment for breastfeeding? It is easier to express by hand and you can sterilise bottles in the microwave.

    Spit up – I breastfed both my babies for three months each – the first was a never ending spit up machine and the second never did. Nor did the second when he went onto formula.

  5. Minny says:

    I know what you mean Tara – we have them here in the UK, the breastfeeding mafia! Not all women who breasfeed are like it but there is a hardcore.

    I wasn’t keen but did it for three (ish) months. My sister in law was one of these hardcore – did she give me a hard time. She fed her babies for 18 months, then kicked off because my two had been able to stay with their grandparents and hers couldn’t! In fact, because she had kept them so close for so long she was unable to leave them with anyone for any length of time until shey started playschool. She had a dreadful time then!

    Ooh, bit of a rant there!

  6. donna says:

    My cousin breastfeed her baby at the same time she bottlefeed him also . It’s a good thing that the baby is mixed feed for sometimes while on travel and the baby is hungry , you just have to bottlefeed him . No hassle on covering up your breast just to feed him up .

  7. Gail says:

    I breastfeed also but as for spit up, my kids were fountains too. But the spit up didn’t stain so maybe the formula makes a worse stain.

    There is a huge benefit to the babies to be breastfed but after a year or so, no reasons that I know of to continue. I was at a meeting of home school mother’s one day and one mom brought her 3-4 year old daughter. The little girl would wander around the room while chewing on an apple, would wander over to mom, pull up her shirt and take a ‘drink’ for about 2-3 seconds and then wander off again until she wanted more. Mom had stains all over her shirt at the nipple area on both sides so it was obvious that this was an on-going thing of theirs. No reason that the little girl didn’t have a cup of water to drink along with her apple since mom wan’t nursing her in the traditional sense. She was just being used as a drinking fountain. I was repulsed and as I said I breast feed my boys, but I had stopped long before they had enough teeth to chew apples no less!

  8. Gail says:

    As another thought, I see no reason to be militant about breast feeding or not, but it is only the non-breast feeders that seem to take offense when someone tries to promote breastfeeding. I don’t know why, especially if you have determined for yourself that the best thing for your finances and your baby is formula. And this is something that truly should be thought about seriously as there is a huge financial savings to breastfeeding.

    My ex-MIL decided on her 5th baby that she should try breastfeeding so she locked herself in the bathroom, sat on the toilet and tried to breastfed ONCE. Of course, in that kind of situation is wasn’t going to work. However, as I would feed my boys they wanted me to disappear into the bedroom and hide out even though I was very careful to keep myself covered at all times, but just the thought of what I was doing embarrassed them. She was always certain that my kids were starving to death because I couldn’t tell just how much they were getting so if she ever babysat them and I left a ‘just in case’ bottle of expressed milk, she would pop it in their mouths as soon as I left even though I had just finished feeding them. My last boy was 30# by his first birthday so obviously not starving.

    I think some just don’t understand breastfeeding because they haven’t done it. Even 2-3 months is good because of the immunity factor that can be provided to the baby because breast milk is better than formula. It is perfect food for a baby. I certainly wouldn’t condemn a mother if she didn’t as I would assume she weighed all the factors before deciding which she would do. I was too poor to make any decision but to breastfeed, but that was me. Times are different now.

  9. Michelle says:

    OMG thank you Gail! No where in this article does it say YOU NEED TO BREAST FEED. And there is no valid argument on the planet that formula is superior. Everyone can agree that breastfeeding is better for the baby, its just moms getting defensive, which is unfortunate.

  10. Michelle says:

    No where in the article does it say “YOU NEED TO BREASTFEED”.

  11. Robin says:

    Overrated???? Cult???? I think people who don’t even try are doing their children in injustice. Yes formula is fine, I grew up on the stuff, but why wouldn’t you want the BEST for your baby? Some can not breast feed and that is fine, buy why wouldn’t everyone at least give it a shot. Your body makes the perfect food for your baby not some manufacturing company!

  12. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    I will start with the fact that I’m a HUGE supporter of breastfeeding, however, this article is quite misleading.

    There are many things that you need to buy to breastfeed your child (although, this may be more likely for women that work outside the home).

    Breastpumps are VERY expensive…and if you have to go back to work the more power you need to be able express quickly.

    If you are pumping you have the same bottle expenses, plus all the storage supplies for expressed milk.

    Also means you spend the same time sterilizing equipment…and I guess you’ve never had to take a breast mp apart after every single use to clean and sterilize it all!

    Baby’s health vary either way…I have two kids that both had allergies so they were on special formulas. The oldest had respiratory issues until we had to have her tonsils and adenoids removed at age 2.5. Her baby sister had ZERO medical issues and has hardly ever had to go to the doctor outside of checkups. My sister exclusively breastfeed both her girls. Her oldest had ear infections constantly and her youngest has stomach issues with gas and going to the bathroom.

    Breastfed babies can have sensitive stomachs too, especially as it relates to different foods the mother eats, so laundry expenses aren’t different.

    Having a baby and no sleeping and barely being able to feed yourself make you you lose weight lol!

    Energy costs…as i mentioned laundry costs the same. I never went to the store to JUST buy formula. Ay person that properly plans their weekly meals will have all supplies available. And I never once warmed my children’s formula. I left filtered water out on the counter and always used room temperature water. Never heated it. If I had pre made formula I ranit under hot water for a minute and came to room temp. Not thousands in energy costs.

    Any person that is concerned about the environment can RECYCLE formula cans and containers. My kids have been off formula for 3 years. We still have containers we use for storing stuff in the pantry, storing art supplies and much more.

    The key is breastfeeding is the most health option for baby. It is also an amazing bonding experience. I worked hard to do it and it was good for the time I was able to, but both my kids got sick from it and had to be on special formulas. I was thankful that my sister went on to have babies so I at least had someone to pass all my breastfeeding supplies to. The comments from Tara and Robin are why people get defensive! I think every parent has to feel passionate about how they care for the their children. It is not a cult! However, Robin, also immediately jumped to the you’re too lazy accusation, which can put people off. I long ago had to let of the guilt those types of comments caused me. I had to look at the fact that I worked with a consultant and did everything I could to continue breastfeeding, but it was not agreeing with my children. Rather than starving them I had to provide the next best thing. I have two, beautiful, healthy and smart little girls. Whatever we did to get here was exactly right for us.

  13. Farm says:

    Another thing that breastfeeding helps save money is that breastfeeding moms does not need to buy pads/tampons, because they don’t get their periods.

  14. Amanda says:

    Just going to preface this with saying that I am pro breastfeeding if you can, but this article is misleading regarding costs. As was mentioned up thread, a lot of women, even stay-at-home moms, do need to pump and there is cost and time and work associated with that. And unless you plan to never leave your house, you will probably need to invest in at least a couple of nursing bras and tops. I’m in Canada and I have not found any cheap nursing wear (Walmart and Target don’t carry them here).

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