I’m not going to lie. One of the major reasons I wanted to breastfeed my 2nd son was that it would save money. I had gone through a years maternity leave before and knew how tight finances can get. My first born was formula fed and I knew all too well the price a tub of powdered milk!
Don’t get me wrong. I totally subscribe to all of the other bf benefits. I feel it does give your baby the best nutritional type of milk and it can be really good for mum too. I’m not judging anyone who chooses not to feed their baby this way. Trust me, I know from both sides. I tried breastfeeding first time round but it was a real struggle. When only a few days old, and still in hospital, the midwives recommended combination feeding and, inevitably, it wasn’t long until it was just bottle. My eldest son has grown to be a happy, healthy boy. He was a wonderful baby and bottle feeding worked best for him, and I, at that time.
With my second, the whole thing was totally different and I am really glad to say, we did it! We have been exclusively breastfeeding for 9 months now.
But enough of the background, I am sure I can tell my breastfeeding story another time. In this post I wanted to explore the myth(?) that breastfeeding is cost free.
You see, it doesn’t cost anything to produce the milk. Your body is doing all that work for you. But you may find your pennies are going towards these things instead…
◇ Breast pads!
So your boobs are creating lots of yummy milk to meet the needs of your growing baby, but you might be surprised at quite how much milk leaks out when you’re not feeding. Especially if you’re going out for a bit without your baby, or when your baby is crying and your body kicks in to feeding mode.
Breastpads are quite low cost, but you might need to buy q box everytime you do a grocery shop!
◇ Feeding friendly clothing!
My entire wardrobe was in question when I had my baby. Firstly, the weight didn’t exactly drop off so there was a period of time when I was still in between maternity wear and my pre-baby clothes. But add to that tops where my boobs can pop out to feed, and then we’re really struggling. I needed to go shopping!
I did buy some breastfeeding tops which had various ways to release your breasts. From side flaps to lifty up secret sections. I tried them all. But they best items were loose fitting, floaty tops. Adding these to my everyday wear seemed to fit every occasion. Ones where I could wear a vest top underneath and gave my baby the opportunity to feed almost anywhere.
Admittedly, I really missed being able to wear a pretty dress. 😦
And on the subject of dressing…
My bigger boobs warrented another shopping trip. None of my bras fitted anymore. In the summer strapless bras were a no-no! My cute balcony bras were obscene. I needed to cover them up! And with feeding every few hours, bras with a special clip on the cup were a god send.
And as you ladies know, bras, especially decent – and by that I mean comfortable – ones, well, they do cost.
◇ Cover up/shawl
Ok, so in an ideal world we should feel comfortable and welcome to feed our babies anywhere. But sometimes, it just feels a bit more discrete and/or comforting to cover ourselves up a little when feeding. In the early days I felt better covering myself and my baby with a shawl. Now, my son will pull it away anyway, but in those early days when we were getting used to it, a cover up helped. There are various retailers who sell ‘breastfeeding cover ups’ but I bought a beautiful, and long, scarf from a high street store for around £5. Half the price of those with “breastfeeding” in the product description! It worked just the same and squished into my change bag no problem. Oh and I can wear it any old time!
◇ Breast pump
If you wish to take full advantage of your milky mammary glands, you may decide to use a breast pump. Now these can be pricey. You’re looking at around £100+. Even if you decide to hire one, it can quickly add up. The bonus of pumping milk means you can get some you time. You can even go out or get an early night leqving someone you trust to care for and feed the baby. Priceless.
But if you do go down this route, you will need…
◇ Bottles, sterilising equipment, bottle warmer, etc…
Agh. So you still don’t escape all the paraphernalia! Your kitchen gets taken over with all this STUFF! And it does not come free.
Plus you need to get milk storage containers/bags if you want to pump and freeze. Like breast pads, these are relatively low cost but will be a regular buy.
But given all the above, and thinking back to bottle feeding my first born, it must be less expensive overall. As with anything, you can do these things frugally.
Ebay and NCT nearly new sales were great for finding clothes. And shop around! If you are going to buy bottles and all that bumf, check out when stores are running their baby events and will have offers to talk advantage of. Research breast pumps. Ask fellow mummies for recommendations and again, see if there are any online retailers offering discounts. Sometimes you can buy these on ebay too.
Did you breastfeed? What did you buy that should be added to the list? Got any top tips? Please leave a comment and share 🙂