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Home    Newsroom    News Releases    CoxHealth News: January 2009    Breastfeeding is best for baby, best for family's budget
Breastfeeding is best for baby, best for family's budget

The health benefits of breastfeeding your baby are well-known. It's been proven in numerous studies that babies who are breastfed suffer fewer ear infections, lower respiratory infections and gastrointestinal illnesses. But what about the economic benefits of breastfeeding?

Patty Fielding, RN, BSN and board-certified lactation consultant with the CoxHealth Women's Center, says, "Breastfeeding has long-term health benefits for both baby and mom, but it also has a huge impact on the family's financial bottom line."

The average cost to feed an infant formula varies, depending on the child's age and the brand of formula you choose. But Fielding says you can expect to spend $1300 or more in the baby's first year. "Most people have no idea how much they are actually spending to feed their child formula instead of breast milk," she says. "In addition to the cost of formula, you have to consider the cost of bottles, additional visits to the doctor because baby is sick more and income lost when the parents are forced to miss work to care for an ill child."

Breastfeeding your infant is, technically, free. While you can choose to purchase special clothing and supplies, these are not requirements. If mom works outside the home, the purchase or rental of a high-quality breast pump does make breastfeeding more convenient, says Fielding. 

Rental of a hospital-grade breast pump costs $35-$55 a month, including a few bottles for milk storage and feeding. This is still significantly less than the cost of formula feeding. Good quality breast pumps can be purchased for as little at $270, including bottles. The Women's Center offers pumps for rent or purchase, nursing bras and accessories, lactation consultant services and more. 

"We want women to make the choice to breastfeed because it's best for baby and mom. But I hope that knowing it's best for the family's finances will help more women make the decision to breastfeed," says Fielding. 

For information about breastfeeding, resources and breast pump rental and purchase, contact the CoxHealth Women's Center at 269-LADY.

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