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Breastfeeding and Money Saving

I know, another breastfeeding post.  What can I say?  I read a lot of parenting sites and blogs and breastfeeding awareness is all over them right now.  Besides the health benefits for mom and baby, there is another reason why I think breastfeeding is best.  For Pat and I, it was a pretty big reason.

It’s cheaper.

Yes, we make a number of parenting decisions based on cost.  Not all, but if all other things are equal, we go for the cheapest option.  Now, notice I said breastfeeding is cheaper.  It isn’t as free as we would like to think.  Oh sure, it could be.  All you need is you and the baby.  Realistically it takes a few more items than that.  I think I managed to find ways to not spend too much money on breastfeeding accessories, so I thought I would pass on a couple tips to anyone who may want to read them.

If you aren’t interested, here is a cute picture of Ben peeking out of his crib.  I promise to update on his latest shenanigans soon.

I see you!

On to the tips:

1.  Breast pumps.  Breast pumps are supposed to be supplied by insurance now.  Honestly, I have no idea how this works exactly.  This came about after Ben was born.  I’m sure like most things with insurance this means some people get awesome pumps, some not so much.  It is possible to get pumps used.  I was lucky enough to get one from a friend of my cousin.  Now yes, this voids any warranties on the pumps.  It is considered a medical device and therefore single person use.  You sterilize all the parts before you use it though, so if it is something you are comfortable with, try to purchase a used one or get one from someone who is finished with theirs.  I was able to get extra parts from my sister in law as well.  Score!

2.  Nursing bras and tanks.  I personally found nursing bras and tanks to be, well, a waste.  When you first start nursing it is so much easier and better to just have skin to skin with your baby, so you end up taking everything off anyway.   A really good nursing bra can be expensive.  Same with nursing tanks.  I found it worked just as well to use bras and tanks I already had and just pull them out of the way.  Yes, this does stretch them out over time.  But personally I wear tanks to layer almost every day, so I tend to purchase new ones every year or so.  Getting new ones after my breastfeeding ones are stretched out isn’t an additional purchase.  Also, I didn’t want to spend too much money on items I know I would only need for a short period of time.  After nursing almost everyone needs a few new bras and clothing items.  I would rather save my money for ones that I will hopefully wear for a longer period of time than I am nursing.

3.  Breast pads.  Now, this will not work for all women.  Some women leak a lot, some not so much.  I looked into breast pads, and they can add up quick.  This alternative is going to sound a little, iffy I guess could be a word.  But here it is- paper towels.  Yep, I just folded up paper towels and put those in my bra.  With a thicker bra you can’t tell by looking.  If I had to look nice or wanted to be extra sure I wouldn’t leak, the pads are best.  For just hanging around the house and not wanting to be a mess?  Paper towels work for a lot less money.

4.  Lotions, lanolin, etc.  I got samples of these items at practically every baby event I went to.  Prenatal classes, BabiesRUs events, hospital tour.  They all offered little samples of nipple creams and lotions.  Grab as many of those as you can.   Then wait and see if you need more or prefer a certain type.

5.  Milk storage.  I am fortunate that I am able to nurse Ben ninety nine percent of the time.  As a result I don’t have to worry about storing a lot of milk for him to have when I’m not around.  I did want to have some in the freezer so I would have the option to bottle feed him if the need arose.  Instead of spending money on milk storage bags, I got some ice cube trays and froze them in little cubes.  Fill the tray and pop them in the freezer for a few hours until frozen.  Then take them out of the tray, wrap them in freezer wrap, and store them in freezer bags.  It is a few extra steps, but it is cheaper than buying milk storage bags.  One big thing here is that this probably only works if you don’t bottle feed very often.  Cubes of milk are a lot bulkier in your freezer than the bags which can store flat.  The cubes also only give you approximate measurements.  It worked well for us though.

These are the biggest things I found that helped save us even more money while breastfeeding.  I hope this can be useful to anyone who is looking to save some money while breastfeeding.  I know I am using this post to help myself remember these things if Pat and I decide to have a second child.  Any little bit of savings can help, especially with all the costs a baby brings.If anyone has any additional ideas or tips, please let me know!


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