Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Feeding a baby on 1 income

Breastfeeding is a major topic these days.  It amazes me how the simple idea of feeding one's child is such a debated topic.  I try not to get involved in these contentious topics.  But breastfeeding does fit into our lifestyle nicely.

I would love to say I nurse solely for the health benefits for my child.  It would be nice to say I do it for the bonding experience.  I guess it would even be good to say I do it to help myself lose weight.  But none of those are true.   I breastfeed, in large part, because it is cheap and convenient.

Let's face it, formula is expensive.  I shudder when I glance at the cost on the cans in the stores.  I cringe when I think about trying to fit formula into our budget. 

Right now breastfeeding is easy for me.  However when Madeline was born that was not the case.  I had latch issues, engorgement, over active letdown, I over produced and she was a lazy eater to boot.  That first month was not fun.  I was close to quitting many times, especially at 2 am when she and I were both crying while trying to nurse.  The biggest factor that kept me from formula?  The cost, plain and simple.  We were living (and still are) on one teacher salary.  We had already changed our lifestyle slightly to accommodate the loss of my salary.  fitting formula into the budget had not been considered.  Could it be done?  Well if that was the only way to feed my child of course I would find the money by cutting something else.  But I didn't want to.

Things have gotten much better since Madeline was an infant.  Nursing my fourth child is a breeze compared to what I went through with her.  And still, in those first three to four weeks there are many times when I think formula would be so much easier.  No bleeding and cracked nipples, no engorgement.  I wouldn't be the only one responsible for keeping the baby fed.  I could sleep longer than 2 hours at a time occasionally.  But is it worth the cost of formula?  Not when simply eating a few more calories myself is all that is needed.

There are many reasons that breastfeeding is beneficial.  But when we are working with one salary, the most important reason to me is the fact that it is free.

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