Feeding Baby on a Budget

When it comes to feeding babies, it can either be really expensive or almost free! Breastfeeding and making your own baby food are the best ways to feed your baby on a budget!

I was very blessed that we had no major nursing issues in the beginning. I exclusively breastfeed my son for the first 6 months and reached my goal of 1 year of breastfeeding! We never had to buy any formula, I don’t know how much we saved because I’ve never had to buy formula but I’m guessing we saved hundreds of dollars!

Of course breastfeeding is free but you do need some ‘supplies’ to help make breastfeeding easier.

Here are some of the essentials:

  • Breast Pads I used disposable nursing pads when I’d go out for the first 6 weeks until my milk regulated {using washable pads at home}. After that I switched to reusables which saved me a lot of money over 15 months of nursing. The best disposable nursing pads that I’ve used for the cost are AVENT Washable Nursing Pads, at $6.99 for 3 pair they are at a great price and they held up great using for over a year of nursing {in fact, I’m going to use the same ones for baby number 2!} Another great option are Bamboobies, they are more expensive than the Avent pads but are a great option! {I loved my Overnight Bamboobies!} {I recommend having at least 12-14 pair of regular pads and 3-4 pair of overnights, you could get by with fewer if you do laundry frequently!}
  • Nursing Cover I always felt more comfortable covering up around others while nursing simply because it made them feel more comfortable {and I had a very active little boy from about 2 months forward!} Most of the time I used a nursing coverthat went over my neck. I also used aden + anais swaddle blankets as nursing covers. If you’re going to spend the money on the aden + anais swaddles, you can skip the nursing cover and use these! I would frequently just tie them around my neck or tuck a corner into my shirt.
  • Breast Pump If you hope to nurse for awhile and plan on leaving your baby for any length of time {such as date night} a breast pump is necessary! I knew I would be breastfeeding most of the time so I purchased a simple manual pump. I went with the Medela Harmony Manual Pump which was around $30! I love this pump, it’s easy to carry with you {for a quick pumping session in the car when you’re on a date}, takes up little space and is so easy to use. It held up great with a year of use and I recommend this pump to mamas looking for an inexpensive pump!
  • Milk Storage Bags If you are going to be pumping with the intentions of freezing your milk, you need to invest in some milk storage bags. Having pumped milk stored in the freezer is great, we still have a shelf full of breast milk that my son is still enjoying!
Approximate costs:
$43.92 {200 milk storage bags}
Total: $161.32 {much less than buying formula!!}

Of course you have to factor in that you should be able to reuse your reusable breast pads for your second baby as well as your nursing cover and breast pump. And, I did not factor in nursing bras, they are essential in my opinion but you have to find what works best for you!

Once baby is ready for solids, the most economical option is making your own baby food. It’s super easy and will save you money!

A month or so before Paxton started on solids, I started stocking up my freezer with homemade baby foods. I pureed homemade applesauce, pearsauce, green beans and carrots and froze them in ice cube trays. I then transferred the cubes of food into large freezer bags and had a large stash of foods to begin introducing to him!

I also made some of his foods fresh such as sweet potatoes and peas that I would cook and the puree before serving him. As he got older, I’d just mash the vegetables we were eating for him.

He only ate maybe 10 jars of baby food. I got a few free with coupons and we were given a few jars. I don’t even want to think about how much we would have spent on baby food paying $.50 or so a jar for a few months!

I found the only things I needed to make baby food were a small food processor, ice cube trays and large freezer bags! That’s all cheap and almost everyone has those things on hand already!

Wholesome Baby Food is a great resource if you are interested in making your own baby food!

Feeding baby on a budget is possible! I plan to do the exact same thing with baby #2 but this time it will cost even less since I won’t have to invest in a breast pump, nursing pads or a nursing cover!

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8 Replies to “Feeding Baby on a Budget”

  1. Wonderful tips. I have often said raising a child is only as expensive as you make it. We have 3 children and plan to have at least one more…I wasn't budget minded or frugal with the first one but over time I have become more and more that way. I don't work and we are begining homeschooling so budget is a must in our house. I just love your blog it has the most partical frugal tips no matter the size of your family!

    1. I completely agree! Now that I'm pregnant with number 2 I'm realizing how little I really need! With the first baby you have so much! We've been getting rid of baby stuff even though we're having another one because it is useless stuff that is just taking up space!! How exciting about homeschooling…we plan to do that and I'm looking forward to those days! 🙂

  2. I nursed for the first 3 months and then got super overwhelmed with the idea of nursing when I went back to work. I am pregnant again and hope to nurse for a lot longer (maybe even the whole first year). But I wanted to tell you that you saved at least $125 a month in formula costs. We used Gerber Good start and had great success with it (at $25 per can for powder). I think that is one of the less expensive formulas – there are a few that are cheaper (Similac and Enfamil) but not sure on their pricing. Certainly not near as expensive as the specialty formulas (at $50 per can). Anyways – thank you for your blog, you continue to offer me encouragement on nursing and making my own baby food. Thank you 🙂

    1. Thanks for the numbers! I had no idea it was that much! And $50 a can for special formula blows my mind!! Best wishes with baby number two and nursing successfully as long as it works for both of you!!

  3. My hubby and I always tell people that say kids are expensive that they don't have to be…if you're willing to put in the effort. Not only is it much less expensive, it's better for the munchkins too!

    1. I completely agree kids don't have to be expensive! And I'm finding that he prefers spending time with us or playing with spoons or toilet paper rolls to his toys which is so much cheaper!! 🙂

  4. I have the same pump you mentioned and it is great! It works better than the older electric pump I was given, the only thing I didn't like was how long it took to get a bottle. But I just never responded well to the pump in general.

    For nursing pads, I'm sure every woman is different, but I only needed about 2 boxes of disposable ones in the beginning and then after they were finished, I just used to use thin folded washcloths for night.

    I also made a lot of our own baby food, but I did not have a food processor and found a regular blender works just fine too! I liked having the baby food jars on hand though for quick and easy storage in the fridge or when I was on the go (I would put it in the cold storage bag that came with my pump).

    1. I typically pumped early in the morning before he woke up and I was full (a benefit of a good sleeper!) And another thought for nursing pads for number two, a good friend of mine uses wool nursing pads. You only need 2 pair because wool only has to be washed every week or so and has antimicrobial properties which cuts down on odor! She also is a heavy night time leaker and said they are working great. I'm thinking I might just buy 2 pair of those to use from day one with this baby and skip the disposables all together!

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