Have you ever wondered how much money you could save if you decided to breastfeed you baby over bottle feeding it? I have, but I have never actually sat down and worked out the numbers.

So today I have decided to do some research and come up with an actual dollar figure on how much money you can save by breastfeeding over bottle/formula feeding your baby.

Before I start I will list a few assumptions that I have made:

- The average formula can is 900 grams – this is based on my own experience and confirmed by browsing the shops.
- Most 900 gram cans contain about 100 scoops (+/- 5 scoops) –
*The 9 (Nine) looks like a ‘G’ using this font for some reason.* - Prices range from about $15 to $20 – some are slightly more, some slightly less, but the bulk are in this range.
- I am using the directions on the back of an S-26 Gold baby formula can for the amount of formula to feed a baby at certain ages.

## Baby Formula at 0 – 2 Weeks Old

According to my can of S-26 Gold a baby between the ages of 0 – 2 Weeks requires 1 scoop 8 times a day.

- 8 scoops a day
- 56 scoops a week
- 112 scoops in the 1st 2 weeks
- 112 scoops = 1.12 x 900g cans of formula

With the baby only requiring 112 scoops, that leaves us needing only 1.12 cans of formula for the first 2 weeks. So in total that is only about $15 – $20.

## Baby Formula at 2 Weeks – 13 Weeks Old (3 Months)

As the baby gets older the amount of formula increases, and at 2 weeks – 13 seeks the baby requires 2 scoops 6 times a day.

- 12 scoops a day
- 84 scoops a week
- 11 weeks = 924 scoops during this period
- 924 scoops = 9.24 x 900g cans of formula

Now things are getting a little more serious with the child requiring 924 scoops of formula during this period. This equates to just over 9 cans of formula which will cost between $135 and $180.

## Baby Formula at 3 – 6 Months Old

At this age most kids are still heavily on the breast/bottle and the instructions of my formula can say that 3 month to 6 month old babies need 3 scoops 5 times a day.

- 15 scoops a day
- 105 scoops a week
- 13 weeks = 1,365 scoops during this period
- 1,365 scoops = 13.65 x 900g cans of formula

We are pretty much consuming 1 can per week at this rate with a total of 13.65 cans required to feed the child. This will cost between $195 and $260.

## Baby Formula at 6 – 12 Months Old

At this age most kids will be getting into solids and the formula / breast milk will be supplementing those solid foods. The formula can calls for kids that are between 6 to 12 months to have 3 scoops 5 times a day

- 15 scoops a day
- 105 scoops a week
- 26 weeks = 2,730 scoops during this period
- 2,730 scoops = 27.3 x 900g cans of formula

This is pretty much the same amount per week as the previous age bracket, but for a longer period of time. So over the 26 weeks the child would consume 27.3 cans. Costing us $405 to $540.

## Overall Total Cost

In total (using the amounts detailed above) for the first year of a babies life the parents can expect to buy 51.15 cans of 900g baby formula. **This will cost between $780 and $1,040**.

- $15 x 52 cans = $780
- $20 x 52 cans = $1,040

I’m actually quite surprised by that total. I thought it would be a lot more than that honestly (perhaps my math is wrong?). Of course there are also a few other things to consider which I haven’t taken into consideration and they are the cost of the bottles, your time setting up the bottles versus the potential extra food a new mother will need to consume to produce the milk – both of these things are difficult to quantify.

It also doesn’t take into consideration difficulties with breastfeeding or partial bottle top ups to a baby that is primarily fed breast milk where the child consumes both sources of food. Another consideration which my wife and I got caught out with is things like having to get a breast pump due to blocked milk ducts – this isn’t going to be an issue for solely bottle fed bubs.

## Is it worth it?

I’m not going to get into the whole breast is best / bottle feeding a baby debate, I just want to show the cost of using formula to feed a baby so that others can see just what it may end up costing them should they decide to go down that path.

#### Glen Stephenson

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Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way says

I breastfeed my daughter for 1 and half year. Aside that it really do save me a lot, for me, it’s less hassle than bottle feeding. Like during at night, when my baby was crying, I didn’t need to get up to get a bottle feed and when we went out, I didn’t need to bring large bag.

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Glen Stephenson says

They are all great points and I completely agree with them. I know my wife really enjoyed breastfeeding our son and also found it much simpler to do than getting a bottle ready.

Emmanuel says

Here and I mean here in Ghana and Africa at large, breastfeeding is the norm and so the issue of having to save on scoops or not is simply out the equation.

I do hope mothers or to put it in the right context, breast feeding mothers in the diaspora will take it seriously.

Saving more than $150 is a cool thing after all it can serve other purposes as well.

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Glen Stephenson says

I’m happy to save anything more than $1 let alone $150 🙂

Michelle says

My sister had difficulty breastfeeding so she chose to pump instead. Besides the initial cost of the pump (she rented hers and it was covered through her insurance) it was quite inexpensive. She did decide to freeze a lot of milk, so things like the bags do cost money. She pumped and saved enough milk for her daughter a little past her first birthday so she did not have to spend any money on formula, and her daughter went straight to whole organic milk. She saved a lot of money. And you are basing this off of a baby who is able to digest the “normal” formula and does not need a special type of formula that can range anywhere from 8-30 dollars a can.

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Glen Stephenson says

Honestly, I was just basing it off what the instructions on the can said – I’m really not an expert at all.

debt debs says

I am surprised it’s not more either, but then again $1K is some serious money to save if you can get it for free. The ancillary benefits are priceless, so if you can do it, it is very worthwhile as you have found out!

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Glen Stephenson says

I really thought it was going to be like $5K or something, but $1k is still quite a bit.

Kirsten says

I did a similar post in my blog not too long ago. I’m a breastfeeding mom and I bought a nursing pillow, a nursing cover, nursing bras, nursing tops, nipple shields, breast pads, nipple cream and probably other stuff I’m forgetting about. I work, too, so I have a pump and spare parts and like. Michelle mentioned, bags. I also had three lactation consultations to pay for. It’s not exactly free when you sit down and assess, although certainly a nursing mom can cut out quite a few of the things I mentioned,

Glen Stephenson says

When you put it like that – I suspect it isn’t quite as simple an equation as I first thought. The only thing my wife needed when she was breast feeding is nursing bras and a a breast pump.

The bras were about $8 each and the pump was close to $300.

Kirsten @ Indebtedmom says

Oh I tried to make it a simple formula, too 🙂 but it’s probably very dependent on individual circumstances that parents can never really know until the baby comes. I secretly have tended to be anti-formula, but doing my article opened my eyes a bit more.