Pumping vs. Formula

the cost

At first glance, purchasing a quality breast pump seems like the most expensive option for convenient infant feeding, but when compared to the continuing cost of formula feeding, it is clearly a worthwhile investment.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least the first year of life and then as long as mutually desired by mother and child. Since infants are fed breastmilk or formula exclusively for the first six months of their lives, we’ll compare the cost of a quality, electric breast pump to the expense of formula feeding for six months.

Estimated Feeding Cost for 6 months

Pump Cost

Personal Electric Breast Pump: $150-350

Formula Cost

Age Feeding size Feedings each day Total oz. per month
1 month 2 oz. 6 336 oz.
2 month 4 oz. 6 672 oz.
3 month 4 oz. 6 672 oz.
4 month 4 oz. 6 672 oz.
5 month 4 oz. 6 672 oz.
6 month 6 oz. 4 672 oz.
Total for 6 months   3696 oz.

22 – 25.7 oz cans of formula will be needed

$26.29 per can X 22 cans = $578.38

Purchasing a good quality breast pump is a great long-term investment especially if you continue to breastfeed after the first six months. Additionally, if you plan to have more children you can use the same breast pump that you purchased for your first child.

There are several extra costs associated with formula feeding. One extra cost is waste – you can’t save unused portions of formula once it’s been prepared. So if your little normally eats 4 oz. at each feeding, but isn’t as hungry on a particular day you may end up wasting several announces of formula at each feeding.

Another unforeseen formula cost is the need to switch formulas. Unlike breastmilk which is designed for (and adapts to) your baby’s needs, infant formulas are mass-produced and are designed to meet the needs of the average infant. So while you may spend $20 + on a can of formula that is supposed to meet the needs of your baby, there is a chance that your baby will dislike the formula or have a negative reaction to it. This means that you’ll have to select and purchase a different formula until you find one that is satisfactory.

Return to: Finding the Perfect Breast Pump

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