Happy Breastfeeding Week here at BabySteals! Nursing mamas will find lots of fun steals this week, so stay tuned for some awesome products! On that theme, for today’s Mom Tip Monday we have a post from Diana Cassar-Uhl, a board-certified lactation consultant, to share some tips on how breastfeeding is the “ultimate BabySteal.”

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You’re having a baby — congratulations! In all of your excitement and preparation, you’re making lots of decisions. One of them: “How am I going to feed my baby?”

If you’re viewing this Steal Network site, it’s safe to assume that you’re a value-conscious mom, and you’re looking for the most cost-effective way to provide for your baby. Look no further than breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding is inexpensive 

I’m not going to say “breastfeeding is free,” because there might be a small expenditure. A visit to an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) if you have doubts or if anything hurts is a worthwhile investment. The $150-$200 for a lactation consult (and the U.S. government is moving to make this fee covered by your health insurance) will save you many hundreds, or perhaps thousands of dollars over the long haul. Can’t afford help? Call your local WIC office or ask your lactation consultant if she has a sliding fee scale.

What else might you have to pay for if you breastfeed? A few good nursing bras will serve you well, but odds are good you’ll need new bras after your pregnancy whether you’re breastfeeding or not. Special clothing? Only if you want to – most moms do great with a t-shirt thrown over a tankini for breastfeeding at the beach, or a cardigan over a camisole for breastfeeding on the go. There are gorgeous nursing fashions out there for when you have a special occasion to attend with your baby, but … you were buying a new dress for that wedding, anyway, right?

Special tools, gadgets, and lanolin

The good news is that if you’re not planning to separate from your baby regularly, you won’t need an expensive breast pump – a small hand pump or yes, just your hands are adequate for expressing your milk if you need to leave your baby for a few hours once in a while. If you’re going back to work or school and will need a better pump, your purchase should be tax-deductible, thanks to new legislation.

You might find pillows, pads or special gadgets helpful. But truthfully, our bodies and our babies were created to do just fine without all the extra stuff. All you need is your breasts and your baby, most of the time! If you need a little additional support in the early days or weeks, say from a pump or a supplementer, your lactation consultant can help you decide what you need and how to use it.

A lot of breastfeeding mothers think they can’t survive without lanolin. While lanolin is a viable way to soothe sore or inured nipples, coconut oil is even better … and after you fix the problem that’s causing the soreness (breastfeeding isn’t supposed to hurt after the initial learning curve), you can cook with what’s left over, or use it for other first-aid in your house. See here for a link about the wonders of coconut oil.

Healthy alternative

Why buy it from a cow if you can get your own milk for free? This is the biggest value in the whole parenting world! Your body is amazing – it grew your baby, now it provides all the nourishment your baby needs to thrive and grow until around the middle of his first year, when he’ll be interested in complimentary foods (but the “main dish” is still your milk). But, you don’t “get what you pay

for” in terms of the value of your milk. It might be at a deep discount, but it’s the gold standard for infant feeding. See this link if you want to compare the ingredient lists between breast milk versus formula.

The best thing about your milk, though, is the packaging. Your baby will be delighted by the warm, soft, yummy-smelling cuddle that just comes, automatically, when he’s breastfed, with no additional effort from you.

But wait, there’s more! Savings galore!

For some families, $1400-$2000 in your baby’s first year (the average cost of feeding your baby with formula) is savings enough, but if you need more savings to convince you, how about:

You’ll likely spend less on doctor’s visits. Expect your breastfed baby to have fewer rashes, ear infections, and digestive concerns than his formula-fed counterparts, saving you money and time on doctor’s visits and prescription medications.

You won’t be shelling out cash on feminine hygiene products for a while. If you’re not already using sustainable products (like a cup or cloth pads) for your period, the monthly savings on pads and tampons will add up the longer you breastfeed. Moms who breastfeed exclusively (those who offer no other sucking devices to baby) might have up to a year without a period. Some moms who partially breastfeed might enjoy that long even if they do offer the occasional pacifier in the car or if dad feeds a bottle once in a while.

You won’t be warming bottles, washing bottles, refrigerating bottles, sterilizing bottles, etc., making your energy bill less than if you bottle feed.  Breastfeeding is as green as it gets – no product to transport, no packaging to discard, and it’s always at the right temperature.

But don’t forget the one thing you do spend — calories. Your body will be working hard to make all that milk for your baby, and the cost has to come from somewhere.  A new, exclusively-breastfeeding mother will use 300-500 calories a day to produce milk for her baby. That’s the equivalent of a 130-pound woman running 3-5 miles a day! Now, that’s an expenditure most moms are very happy to make.

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Thank you Diana for your breastfeeding tips for new moms. Stay tuned for another great mom tip next week! We’d love to hear your ideas so be sure to submit your entry.

What parenting questions would you like answered from our BabySteals community of experts? Click here to ask a question.

Have a mom tip? We’d love to hear from you! Click here to enter a submission.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Steal Network or its employees.