Yes, there is a cost of not breastfeeding. It comes in many forms from the cost of formula, to the cost of sickness to the baby and to the mom, to the cost to your company or the medicaid system for the illnesses caused by not providing what your baby needs through breastmilk, to the cost of emotionally feeling like you did not achieve your desired path.
First, the cost of formula.
1. The cost of a consult without insurance can be anywhere from $80-400 depending on where you live and the standard cost of a consult with an IBCLC in the area where you live. The cost of formula at 3 months of age for one week with a standard formula (not a high cost organic formula or one with special antifussiness pricetags) can be calculated by using a site like babycenter. or on the
Or you can do the math yourself. At about $25-27 for one formula container which should yield about 150 ounces of formula (8.7 grams powder yields one 2 ounce bottle, 657 grams in a container) your 3 month old who is consuming probably 30-40 ounces a day will eat their way through at least 2 of these a week. So in a matter of 1.5 weeks you have paid for at least one consultation by an IBCLC to solve your breastfeeding challenge.
At $50 a week for formula (or probably more) you could have rented at least 3 hospital grade pumps for that month to maintain your supply for a baby who is not latching well. (general cost of hospital grade pump rentals for supply maintenance for the exclusive pumper or full time working mom is between 45-80 a month) .
At $50 a week for formula you could buy multiple packages of lactation cookies by orMilkmakers .
At $50 a week for formula you could have multiple pill form galactagogues from companies like or e .
Second, the cost of healthcare for a formula fed infant with no formula intolerance reaches far beyond the cost of a consult. First one must consider health risk to the infant. Infant's who are not breastfed are at risk for multiple childhood illnesses that include obesity, diabetes, autism, and ear infections to just name a few. Third one must consider the health risk to mom by not breastfeeding. By breastfeeding mom reduces her risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression. A more indepth list can be found in these articles. and , and .
I could also review the risks to mom separately but I think they are laid out pretty well in the articles mentioned above. Overall, I think anyone can clearly see the value in a lactation consultation either prenatally, within a few days postpartum, or when trouble arises. I also think it is pretty clear what the cost of not asking for help or searching out your local breastfeeding resources is both short term and long term to both your wallet, your health, and more importantly your infant's health. Yes, there are some who can not breastfeed whether for physical, anatomica, or psycho-social reasons, but in general almost everyone can make the attempt and have some level of success even if it is only for the first few weeks or months.
Get out, get help, and don't hide behind your front door!!
Your local IBCLC or La Leche League is waiting for your call and is more than willing to help you overcome your challenges!
For more info in the Las Vegas area please contact Lisa at or your local Breastfeeding Coalition or your local La Leche League at