Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Monday, February 22, 2016

#Microblog Mondays: That's Not What I Was Looking For, Thanks





Arrrrgggggghhhhh. That somewhat sums up my feelings when, in a moment of advance planning and financial wizardry, we tried to calculate up what our costs would be while I'm out on maternity leave whenever that comes to pass.

One of those costs is formula, since while I know you can induce lactation, for me it is just not a good idea (physically, emotionally, emotionally, emotionally, physically, emotionally)...I'm done expending energy into wrangling my body into doing things it clearly doesn't want to do. So formula is how we'll be feeding Mystery Baby.

Silly me, I searched "How much does formula cost per month?" and was met with:

- "So, if we do a straight multiplication here, we find that over the first year of life, average formula to feed an average baby costs $1,733.75, while the cost of breastmilk is $0."
Ah. Thank you. The numbers seem a bit off, and I wasn't really looking to compare to breastmilk, since for me, NOT ZERO. (And for anyone, since don't you have to eat more to keep up with the calorie burning? Indirect cost, but still.)

- "Financial costs of NOT Breastfeeding" A lovely article sponsored by a breastfeeding organization that then proceeded to tell me how HARMFUL formula is and how much I will be harming my baby's health and immune system and emotional well-being by formula-feeding. NOT what I was looking for.

- "I would have tried harder to breastfeed if I had known just how expensive formula was going to be"
Wow. Just wow. Like there's not enough guilt foisted upon those not breastfeeding, now it's about trying harder. For some people (not even including myself), trying harder does not result in better results, just more frustration and guilt and horrible feelings.

- "Breastfeeding Basics: How much does baby formula cost families?"

Nope, see no bias here at all. None.

I did find one post that was phenomenal and pointed out fallacies in the way that the cost of formula is calculated by those who have a definitive breastfeeding agenda:

- http://www.theitbaby.com/wordpress/2013/11/08/how-much-does-it-cost-to-feed-a-baby-formula/ How much does it cost to feed a baby formula?
This one was phenomenal because it pointed out that very few babies eat formula (or breastmilk) exclusively throughout the first year. For 4-6 months, yes, but then it's balanced out by solids or cereal, some of which (most of which) you can make yourself for very little money. Eeeenteresting.

Don't get me wrong -- I would have loved to have breastfed my baby if my body wasn't such a total traitorous saboteur. I think those who do breastfeed are fantastic and if you can continue on and it isn't an issue, good for you. But my goodness, didn't the bias just seep out of the search engine when all I was looking for were some basic statistics for the way I choose to feed my baby, if by "choose" I mean "because I'm not willing to go on another fucking protocol and force my body into producing a meager supply and buy donor milk of dubious origin and cry and cry because I can't feed my baby adequately and yet again my body has failed me and our family, cry cry cry then sink into that deep dark hole again but this time I have a tiny human to care for." Or I could formula feed, bond with my baby without that added anxiety (because I'm sure I'll have anxieties aplenty just transitioning to new motherhood so abruptly), and quit forcing my body to comply with things it can't do effectively, thus enjoying my bonding time with my baby better.

Just thought the bias was interesting, when all I wanted was to price out average formula costs per month. I so look forward to all the judginess I will face as a formula-feeding mom, when I am finally given the opportunity to be out there with my bottle and my fake breast milk that is apparently going to ruin my baby forever. Good times, good times.

30 comments:

  1. As someone who did breastfeed, I can talk first hand about the costs. Between the pump and pump parts, the cost of storing breastmilk, the cost in sleep deprivation and bottles (there were 2 babies at once and tandem feeding was never 100%). So it's not $0. And we did supplement with formula as my supply wasn't enough to feed them exclusively.

    Here's the thing: you are feeding your baby, plain and simple. As long as you are not actively feeding them rat poison or chunks of lead, you're doing an amazing job. So ignore those who judge and seek out those who will support you, regardless on how you chose to do so. Because those who criticize loudest tend to be the ones who feel the most guilty about something. And this shouldn't be a reason to divide.

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    1. Oh my gosh, you totally had me chuckling with the "not actively feeding them rat poison or chunks of lead." It is amazing to me, because I just wanted costs. If I'd wanted to compare, I would have put that in the search. But it's like you can't AVOID the comparison and the division on this issue once you type "formula" into the search engine. I feel good about my decision, but it still sucked to see the amazing bias and need to compare the two options up against each other instead of leaving each one to its own info. Thank you for your thoughts!

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  2. You absolutely do need to eat more when you are breastfeeding. It's not zero cost. A commenter pointed this out to me last year after I related how I fainted one night after bf'ing. The fainting wasn't 100% caused by bf'ing but it probably was a factor. Sorry that your google searches tried to guilt trip you. Everything has a bias!

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    1. Apparently, everything does have a bias! I shouldn't have been so surprised, but I was surely disappointed. Constant comparison, when all I wanted was cold hard facts on the one option. Holy cow, you fainted? That's crazy. Although it's got to take so much out of you to provide complete sustenance for an infant... The human body is so amazing when it does what it's supposed to do. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  3. Ughhh, I'm sorry you had to go through this guilt trip. The judgment is definitely out there, unfortunately. You're feeding the baby, that's what matters.

    I'll confess, I still get pretty defensive about formula feeding my daughter...and it really wasn't a choice thing (she wouldn't latch, my body wouldn't produce). So I hear you - a nice, neutral resource would be helpful!

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    1. Oh, yes, a neutral resource would be great. To be fair, I did type in "breastfeeding" later and while it didn't bring up formula stuff, it did bring up a couple articles questioning whether it's really the end-all be-all it's often touted to be, so that was interesting. It felt more like a both-sides thing rather than what I got when I looked up formula costs, which was IT COSTS YOU YOUR SOUL! :)

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  4. Ugh. Sorry you had such trouble just trying to get some basic information. That's the problem with Google, sometimes it lacks filters and you have to wade through a bunch of junk first.
    I am pro-breast feeding when you can/when it works, but I have also used formula. It took me a few kids before I truly figured out how to be really good at breastfeeding, so I can't imagine trying to make your body do it BEFORE you even have the baby. That just seems like torture and super stressful, and could potentially take away from you enjoying those precious early days with your newborn.
    Cost of formula really depends on several things: brand, type (regular vs soy vs super speciality ones), and whether you get powdered or ready to go cans. Products have changed since the last time I used formula, but it's something you probably want to research and decide on now, as far as brand/formulation goes. That way you can work on signing up for and collecting coupons if you pick a brand name. They all have coupon clubs you can sign up for online and you generally get a free sample and coupons every month. I know stores like Walmart also has their brand of formula that's priced cheaper. I would presume Formula is regulated and it is all mostly the same across the board, but I don't really know.
    To figure out cost, you can do some Math if you feel so inclined. Before they start solids, babies generally drink 2.5 x's their weight in formula/breastmilk a day, in ounces. So a 10lb baby would need 25 ounces a day give or take. (To figure out how much they need at each feeding divide that by number of feeds. Usually 3 hours part for formula babies, but in the first weeks could be less than that.) Anyway, that will give you an idea of how much formula you will be using, again depending on if it's powder or ready mixed.
    Definitely do your research and price it out because the price can vary a lot depending on where you buy it. I don't know if stores like BJs or Costco carry formula, but BJs is one where they let you use coupons, too so if they Cary formula you could save a lot that way.

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    1. In the first week less than that, and by less, I mean less time between feeds. So more like every 2 hours vs. 3.

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    2. Whoa, thanks for the amazing amount of information! I appreciate it so much. :)

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  5. Push to shove, I suppose I'd be pro breast feeding IF it works. Once certainly shouldn't be stressed (if / when) it doesn't. And absolutely shouldn't be shamed or guilted INTO it. That is just horrible.

    I didn't breastfeed. 35 years ago, I didn't feel any compulsion to do so. I did what my mother told me to do, which is what she did and what her mother (and older sisters) before her did. Carnation milk. Water. A couple of of vitamin drops.

    You have to make the best choice for your family. Period. I hope you get the information you seek without much more of the side-eye.

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    1. Thank you... and how I love the image of my laptop giving me a nasty old side-eye with my search results... :)

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  6. Here's a good article that dispells some of the "breast is best" myths and exposes some of the risks induced by our breast is best culture.

    http://www.skepticalob.com/2016/02/to-the-mother-struggling-to-breastfeed.html

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    1. Thank you, this is really an interesting article! Another perspective to take into account. I felt like the term "lactivists" pointed to a bit of bias of her own, but it balances out some of the other perspectives I found when searching for formula costs. Grain of salt with everything, I suppose, but I love how this OB/GYN gives another perspective that alleviates guilt and the "just try harder" mentality that is so harmful.

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  7. We have been doing some similar research and we were shocked to see how many formulas have hf corn syrup as a main ingredient. We also learned that the hospital won't let us pick our formula - we have to go with one of the traditional versions. It's also interesting to note that they didn't used to have corn syrup, the switch was made when corn syrup took over the world. That said, we know lots of baby's who were exclusively formula fed and they are lovely, smart and healthy.

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    1. Interesting, I hate corn syrup and so that is so super disappointing to me. Why corn syrup? (Other than corn syrup's world domination...) Argh. I haven't done much research in actual types of formula yet because I did hear that hospitals may prescribe you formula based on your baby's GI needs, and so I'm going to wait. But how disappointing if they only work with the corn syrup kind. I agree, I know formula fed babies too and they don't seem to be horribly maladjusted allergy-ridden attachment-disordered children to me... ;-)

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  8. Sometimes, I feel - Googling does not give the right answers. You do what's best from your angle and leave every thing else. Ignore mantra :)

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    1. So true. You could tell who paid for premium placement for sure, or who poised themselves for whatever the acronym is for "get me the most links/hits possible" quotient. Thank you for your wisdom!

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  9. I know this isn't the point, but here's our math: 6 $26 tubs per week is our average. We get name brand. Tar.get always has a sale of some sort where you get $10 back if you buy three. Often there are $6 off target coupons (the ones that come when you check out); En.famil and S.imilac send $5 coupons regularly. It might be cheaper at a Cost.co or similar store, but I really like getting the $10 target gift cards. I'd say on average you're spending about $100-$125 depending on how good your coupons are that much. Our average has stayed pretty consistent since A was 2 months old--he's just now, at almost 8 months, starting to decrease his daily intake of formula after introducing solids at 6 months. Formula fed babies do great!

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    1. Oooh, great tips! We have several samples so far but have no idea what Mystery Baby will go for...And asking for samples at the pediatrician! Stroke of brilliance! We have Ama.zon Pr.ime, and so are going to sign up for their subscription service for diapers and I wonder if the formula savings are comparable. But $10 Target gift cards sound pretty good, too! I'm glad for the personal experience that formula fed babies do great. :) Thank you for the tips and boost!

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  10. Oh--every time you go to your pediatrician, ask for samples. They don't offer samples (they don't want to be formula pushers). A good friend who couldn't bf gave me that tip. Love it. Also, my pediatrician said all those anti-gas formulas are really just marketing, they haven't shown any real difference.

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  11. Aagh...Mel has some great posts on the "breast is best" hue and cry. I'm sorry you got agenda when you were looking for into.

    Do you have a Costco near you? We joined when our daughter was born, prompted by the need for formula, diapers, and wipes.

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    1. I will have to check that out! I also was pointed in the direction of Fearless Formula Feeder, especially this post:
      http://www.fearlessformulafeeder.com/2016/02/fff-friday-please-dont-ask/
      Lovely. I think we do have a Costco...I think we have some comparison shopping to do! Fun things, pricing out all these essentials. I will check out Mel's posts. Yup, very frustrating to get agenda when I just wanted average cost without the guilt or hype.

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  12. Formula feeder over here! To be honest, I didn't look at cost. It cost what it cost to feed the kids. Did I want it to be less expensive, sure. But we found deals, we changed our eating habits to pay for the formula, etc.

    One thing I did do was make my own baby food. Every last bit of it. They ate exactly one jar of premade food. It was something within my control, whereas breastfeeding was not. It saved a lot of money. It made me feel like I was involved in the process. It was my breastfeeding do-over. Plus we could make the food at night and on weekends and freeze it. Josh could do it, too. Put your energy in a better place and choose something within your control to make your own. And tune the rest of it out.

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    1. It's so funny, because the cost itself isn't what we were considering...the cost is moot because it's really my only option. I just wanted to be able to budget and prepare for what it will cost when we definitely do it, and it sucked to have an agenda shoved at me instead of the facts and average costs I was seeking to plug into Bryce's handy-dandy spreadsheet... :(

      Making your own baby food sounds great! We are planning to that, in part to know exactly what's going into that tiny belly and in part because it's cheaper. I love that you called it your breastfeeding do-over. Love it. Now to go practice the tuning-out of all the bullshit out there... :)

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    2. I had friends who'd did the DIY baby food thing. A lot of times, they'd just throw the same kinds of fruits or veggies the rest of the family was eating into the food processor for the little one.

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  13. Not cool. When it works, breastfeeding is a great idea. But it doesn't work for everyone for a variety of reasons. It'd be nice if people just let others figure out what worked best for them and chilled out.

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    1. YES! I love that, just let everyone do what's best for them and leave your nose out of it. I don't know why people's noses get so entrenched in things pertaining to women and care for babies or care for bodies. Wouldn't it be a lovely thing if everyone just minded their own business? Thanks for the cheer!

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  14. The mother/non-mother divide can be huge, as you know. But then it seems there are all the divides within the ranks of mothers too. Breastfeeding/non-breastfeeding, helicopter/free range/tiger moms, working/SAHM, etc etc. Seems ridiculous, doesn't it! Who has time to be that judgemental?

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  15. Long story, but while I was able to breastfeed our younger two for about a year each, I was only able to nurse the eldest for two months. I did much the same as Mel - though I didn't make the baby food, I bought all natural, organic everything in a hormonally-fueled attempt to make up for my "failure." *sigh*

    While I'm happy so much attention is being given to the normalization of breastfeeding, I truly feel the scales have tipped WAY over, since people now judge women who don't. Oh, and ironically, our eldest (21 - the other two are 18 & 15) is the only of our three who isn't overweight. Go figure.

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