Friday, 13 March 2015


I calculated today that if I had formula-fed Squirmy from birth to 6 months I would have spent about R2000. Maybe more but let us say R3000 tops. Formula for 6 months and some bottles.

So far in my two and a half month breastfeeding career I have wracked up the following costs:

  • 3 lactation consultant visits due to initial breastfeeding and later breastfeeding issues: R1350
  • 2 frigging breast pumps (should not have bought the second but could not get the manual to work well at first. Now I love it and hate the electrical, ugh) : roughly R2000
  • GP visits for thrush and mastitis: R1050
  • Breastfeeding pillow which I now do not use cos Squirmy gets upset when we sit up: R300
  • Physio visits for thrush and clogged boobs: about R700
  • medications for mastitis (antibiotics, probiotics, anti-inflammatories) and thrush (oral gel, diflucan baby probiotics, gentian violet): I don't even know. Thousands and thousands.
  • Bottles. We bought 6 cos we have had to supplement. Plus we have a Medela one that is supposed to avoid nipple confusion but the baby now won't use it: about R1000 More? No idea?
  • Formula - only used two cans so far but had to supplement at various times - R120
  • Various nipple creams and ointments: maybe R500
  • This week's ultrasound and cyst draining: R3140!!!! (yes I wanted to sob when I heard this. I only have hospital plan medical aid).
There is probably more. I am not even going to total the costs. Moral of the story, if you are having trouble with breastfeeding, do not think that formula feeding will be more expensive. It will not be. Breastfeeding is free for some people (I hate them). But for others, and there are many like me, it is insanely fucking expensive and I now question my sanity for continuing and spending all that money and very possibly having to stop in the near future and blowing all that money so that my little one maybe gets to share my immune system. For only 3 months. 

Breastfeeding is for the rich and the lucky. 


Damaria Senne said...

Wow! That much!! URGH!!

I generally read that breastfeeding is free, but I guess that's when everything goes smoothly. We don't talk much about when it doesn't go smoothly. I wish a lot more new mothers would read about your experiences, so that they can learn from it.

po said...

Damaria there are sooo many people out there who have had problems like me. I know this because I google all my issues and find people with the same issues. That said, so many people do not have these issues too. My mom breastfed all 3 of her kids with ease and this probably has been my motivation to keep trying. If my mom did it then it must be hereditary that I can do it right?? No, so wrong. But if it was not for the insane pressure from the world health organisation etc I would have given up long ago. I was googling some formula information trying to make a good decision about what formula to get for when or if we need it and had to read a page long disclaimer about how breast is best and it just made me want to cry. I freaking know breast is best but it seems like no one wants to say that sometimes breastfeeding fails spectacularly and formula is just fine! I really did not need to have that disclaimer in my face that day as I was heartbroken and guilty enough. I wish they would lay off that. Everyone knows breast is best.

Damaria Senne said...

It's so interesting to me to see how our backgrounds and environment affects our perspectives on this issue. All Mma's kids reacted badly to her milk. Not that she had plenty to start with. I think like you, she struggled with a whole range of issues. So I grew up on the concept that while breast is best, Mom may not be able to breastfeed, or baby may not do well on Mom's milk, so I shouldn't take being able to breastfeed as a given (assumption that the problem may be genetic. Not sure whether that's true or not). Health professionals didn't do allery/dairy tolerance tests then, so I don't have the specifics, except even today, I use only small amounts of milk to bake and one of my siblings does not use milk at all. So ja, breast is best SHOULD come with a caveat. And there should be a lot more support for moms who can't breastfeed than there is.. and the assumption that she doesn't WANT TO breastfeed has got to go.

po said...

Wow Damaria, that is so interesting. It is so nice that you got that balanced view of the whole issue right from the start. I told myself when I started this that I would not get hung up about breastfeeding or let it upset me. I actually assumed I could not breastfeed as I have such sensitive nipples. But yup, I let it get to me! I think the thing is he grew so well and got so chubby for the first 6 weeks before everything went wrong the second time. I keep wanting to get back to when we were doing well, even though only one of those weeks was pleasant because he cried for much of the other weeks or I was in pain. I agree that people who can't or don't want to breastfeed need support in feeling ok about it. I belong to an online birthclub and all the formula moms keep having to post their reasons for not breastfeeding as if they need to defend themselves :(