Pumps are pricey items - and even if you are fortunate to obtain one through your health insurance plan, all the accessories and parts can add up quickly. Feeling overwhelmed by the whole pumping process can easily happen, but here's a breakdown of the benefits:
Costs to Get Started
A new, double-electric breast pump from a top manufacturer will cost between $250-$300. Some women share breast pumps because you can easily switch out the tubing for your own and the pump itself never touches any milk or people. You'll also need shields ($16), valves ($8), membranes ($7), and most likely nipple cream ($10). Most women also purchase an adapter to help them pump on the go ($18).
Your total just to get set up is already about $320 - and you haven't even pumped yet. The milk needs to also be collected, and a starter kit for milk storage can cost upwards of $30 depending on your brand choice. If you're building a stash for the babysitter or for returning to work, you may also need a way of organizing the milk in your fridge or freezer ($15), freezer packs to keep the milk cold while you're transporting it ($5) and a cooler bag to hold the milk with the freezer packs ($7).
The total has now reached almost $350 - you've started pumping and realize you have more milk than you dreamed of (score!!!) Your regular freezer isn't holding you milk and you don't want to give up precious storage space for frozen veggies - so you explore the option of buying a deep freezer for your garage - JUST FOR YOUR MILK! It really is a dream come true, right? Buying a small chest freezer ($200) will help you feel more confident that your milk will be maintained at a consistent temperature and you can safely be assured your baby will have breastmilk months after you stop pumping.
Throw in some nutritional supplements for additional fenugreek and/or herbal teas ($10) to help maintain your milk supply and the final total is roughly $560 - which seems like a lot of money considering you're providing the actual nutrition for your baby.
Let's compare this with the cost of formula. The cost per month for formula will vary with several factors - most importantly how much your baby would eat per feeding -- but the average cost for formula feeding is typically $90/month (per WIC). If your baby has a sensitivity and requires a specific type of formula the cost could increase, but it could decrease if your insurance plan helps you cover the cost of formula.
Both pumped milk and formula will require bottles - so we are not considering those as added costs in this comparison. For one year, pumping would cost approximately $550 and feeding formula would cost approximately $1080.
When we look at the cost of the pump versus the cost of formula - it's a simple less is more approach. Combine that cost savings with the health benefits of breastmilk -- strengthened immune system, fewer respiratory illnesses, decreased diarrheal disease, reduction in ear infections, decrease in probability of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), reduction in eczema and skin allergies, plus decreasing the risk of childhood cancers. These health benefits are for the child alone. The breastfeeding (and/or pumping) mother also benefits with decreased rates of uterine, ovarian and breast cancers as well as lowering the likelihood of developing osteoporosis later in life.
Healthy, growing babies and healthy, happy moms make the breastfeeding relationship work. We at MomsPumpHere know it's not about the money -- but please don't be discouraged to use your pump if you think it's too pricey.