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Breaking the Myth: Breastfeeding is NOT Free!

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Ok, I have to bust the Myth. I won’t lie I was under the impression as well when I went to breastfeed baby #4, read for it?

Breastfeeding is NOT Free!

Shocker right? There are many reasons to choose TO breastfeed and I’m excited if you want to do it but don’t go into it blindly. There are many ‘hidden’ costs that you need to budget for that wouldn’t need to be in your budget if you are formula feeding. But don’t fret I firmly believe breastfeeding is MUCH cheaper than formula feeding, especially has your child grows and is eating 8 ounces at a feeding!

Breaking the Myth Breastfeeding is NOT Free! 2


Yes, you will need to adjust your wardrobe and you WILL need nursing bras. I did the basics and bought the tank tops from Forever 21 for under $2 and put them under my shirts so my belly was exposed when I would have to lift my shirt to nurse. You will also want to have nursing bras for easy access to nurse. Motherhood Maternity has some of my favorite ones! If you have some bigger boobs I also suggest grabbing a few sleeping nursing bras. I will also include breast pads in here because you WILL leak. I prefer cloth ones so I can wash and reuse. I got 5 pairs of free breast pads using code FRUGALNAVYWIFE1 then just pay shipping.

Nursing Pillow

This is a must with newborn babies. They can get very particular on how they want to be laying while nursing and if they aren’t using the pillow to lay on you will use to get comfortable! Remember in the beginning you can be nursing for 20 minutes or more so make your you are comfortable! Later on, these pillows are used for tummy time as well! Now there are many nursing pillows out there. The most popular seems to be there is the Boppy Pillow. You can score a Free Nursing Pillow by using coupon code FRUGALNAVYWIFE1 and you just have to pay for shipping!

Lactation Consultants

The day after I got out of the hospital I had to have a Lactation Consultant come to my house. My little one wasn’t latching and I was a mess! She was a huge help, got things going, gave me personalized tips for me and more. The cost was $150 for this personalized in-home visit. I also learned breastfeeding mom REALLY do need a breast pump to increase their supply. *TIP* :: Check your insurance many cover lactation consultant visits!

Breast Pump

As mentioned above if you want the best milk supply an electric breast pump is needed in the beginning. Now yes, you can rent one but really it’s worth it to just buy one. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of a breast pump or supply one for you. The Medela InStyle breast pump is the most recommended and also my favorite. You will want to use the pump to increase milk supply, to be able to store some frozen milk for any time you have to spend away from you baby leaving them with a babysitter, and/or if you have to return to work for them to be able to eat during the day.

Milk Storage

Now that you have pumped that extra milk you have to store it using milk bags. Then when you aren’t the one feeding your little one they will need bottles to feed your baby.

Pain Relief

As I mentioned in my post 14 Things I Wish I Had Known About Breastfeeding & What I Didn’t Learn From the Books breastfeeding HURTS! Your breasts have to get used to someone attached tot hem several hours a day. Add in the biting when they start teething it HURTS! There are a few types of pain relief, Lanolin and Gell Pads, I loved the Ameda ComfortGel Hydrogel Pads.

Nursing Necklaces

As your little one become more active they start to do things like pinch. To keep them occupied it’s best to invest in a nursing necklace.

What unexpected costs did you fin breastfeeding?

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Danielle, The Frugal Navy Wife

Hey everyone, I'm Danielle, I am the owner of The Frugal Navy Wife and Roadschooling with The Frugal Navy Wife and Author of "How to Have Your Dream Wedding for Under $1,500".

I am a Wife, mom to 4 kids, homeschool mom, blogger, social media junkie, Frugalista, Book Worm, and Closet Want-to-be Chef. We are a Roadschool family (homeschooling on the road while traveling fulltime).

I grew up learning ways to save from my mom and grandma. I started my own coupon journey when my first child was born in 2009 and started the blog on 2010 when baby #2 was born to share my tips with everyone who kept asking about how I was getting diapers for $1 a pack!

Click here to learn more about starting a blog.


  1. Halie walter says:

    Yes but none of this stuff is necessary. If you work outside of the home you will need to pump. .but insurance covers pumps now. I never bought new clothes, I didn’t pump, I never needed a nursing necklace. So yes. It actually is free. Use a regular pillow instead of a nursing pillow or nurse on your side

  2. I actually had none of these extra costs. Nursing clothes, pillows, and necklaces were far from must haves for me.

    Pain relief tip: Express some breastmilk and rub that on the sore area. Works way better than anything you find in the store!

  3. The only thing I truly needed on this list was a nursing bra. 21 months of breastfeeding my daughter and I never leaked so I never wore breast pads. I had a nursing pillow and hated it. Complete waste. I did see an LC at my pediatrician’s office once ($65), but you can submit those to your insurance for coverage if the LC won’t bill your insurance directly. Your advice on breast pumps is false. The best way to get a good supply going is to nurse on demand and have skin on skin time with baby. Pumps are far less efficient than a baby. My insurance covered one and I almost never used it. Milk storage bags aren’t absolutely necessary. You can pour right from the pump into a bottle. And my daughter never would take a bottle so I never stored milk. I had lanolin on hand, but never needed it. It hurt when she latched, but lanolin didn’t address that. Lanolin is for nipples that are raw. The pain comes from latching until you get used to it. A nursing necklace is the silliest luxury I’ve ever heard of.

    Here’s where breastfeeding truly costs more: the extra calories moms consume to keep supply up. For me that was 21 months of extra calories, not just a year of formula. It also costs you sleep. And worth it all!

    • See everyone is different and I was told to pump after my baby fed to increase nursing supply and build a frozen milk supply. My nipples were raw due to a lip and tongue tie we had to get fixed (which cost money) then she needed CST which cost money, was that the therapy a luxury yes to some but with the pain I was in it was do something or stop breastfeeding so I was determined. Again on the nursing necklace one person’s luxury is something someone else might need. My daughter scratched so we cut her nail then she started pinching, I had a few bruises from it. Then I got the nursing necklace and it kept her attention. Every breastfeeding journey is different, there are some mommas who their 3rd time around it is 100% free. Other’s lie myself ti wasn’t free by a long shot. Every parenting journey is different. We just need to support each other and I wanted to give mom something to ponder as many go into this without all the facts.

  4. I don’t actually buy nursing bras, they don’t give me any support. I don’t buy nursing tops, they are generally not my style. I’ve always layered with tanks, so I already owned them. I don’t need pumps, milk bags, or bottles. I’ve never used anything for pain relief for nursing, if I ever had cracked nipples I used coconut oil – which I already owned. I don’t use a nursing pillow, just a regular couch pillow. I don’t have nursing necklaces, although I do have teething ones I made at a moms group. And my nursing pads are cloth ones, that were a gift, and if I need more I can make some with old cloth diapers. So really, nursing is free for some people. I realize not for everyone, but some of those things like the necklace and pillow, I feel like are frivolous extras.

    • I agree there are a few people that breastfeeding is free for. And honestly my next kid? Will be free or pretty close no that I have items I need. For other it can cost a lot more, like with kids every situation is different. 🙂

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