The Economic Advantages of Breastfeeding

This week we’re talking about the plethora of amazing benefits of breastfeeding in honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2016.  The theme this year is Breastfeeding, a key to sustainable development.  This concept encompasses many aspects of breastfeeding including the economic impact on families and the community at large.  There are many economic advantages of breastfeeding because, simply put, breastfeeding saves money.  Here’s how…

The Economic Advantages of BreastfeedingMost moms would agree that breastfeeding is “priceless” and it is virtually costless too.  All that is truly necessary are willing and dedicated moms and babies.  At the family level, breastfeeding is less expensive than formula because there’s no purchase necessary.  In most cases, mothers can produce enough breast milk to sustain their babies for the recommended 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and at least one entire year of breastfeeding.

Of course we would argue that nursing bras are great assets to help make breastfeeding easier and some mothers find breastfeeding more comfortable with nursing pillows, breast pads and nipple cream.  Some moms may need to visit a lactation consultant or purchase a breast pump, both of which can be pricey at first glance but may actually be free.  We’ll get to that in a minute.

On the flip side, it is estimated that formula costs between $800 and $3,000 a year, depending on the brand and specific needs of a baby.  Plus, there are added costs of bottles, bottle and formula accessories (cleaning supplies, nipples, caps, water, drying racks, measuring utensils, etc…) and the energy cost of getting formula from a store.

Those are all obvious cost savings, but there are many more ways that breastfeeding saves money.

Since the Affordable Care Act breastfeeding expenses are often tax deductable and some are covered by insurance companies.  Many insurance policies cover the rental or purchase of breast pumps as part of preventative healthcare initiatives.  They may also reimburse for lactation consultations.  If your insurance company does not cover these items, don’t be deterred by the sticker price.  Breast pumps and other breastfeeding necessities are tax deductable and can be purchased with pre-tax healthcare flex spending accounts.

All of this is fabulous news for your wallet, yet there are even more economic advantages of breastfeeding for you, your community and the nation.

As we all know, breastfeeding is the healthiest food on the planet for babies.  It is so healthy, it can save lives.  With its immune boosting capabilities, breast milk prevents many illnesses and diseases.  Analysts estimate that if 90% of moms exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months, the U.S. would save around $13 million in healthcare costs.  Some of that would be savings for your own pocket, some for your employer and some for the country as a whole.  These healthcare savings include doctors’ visits, medications, hospital stays, surgical procedures and much more.  And they aren’t only for babies.  Because breastfeeding has health benefits for mothers too, moms are also included in these medical cost-savings. Plus, mothers have to miss less work when they or their children are not sick as often, which can increase earning potential.

The economic advantages of breastfeeding are quite astounding when you think beyond just the immediate impact of breastfeeding vs. formula.  Breastfeeding truly saves money on many levels.  Happy World Breastfeed Week!

Sources: and SavingsAdvice

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