A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics estimated that the US could save $13 billion per year in healthcare and other costs if nine out of ten babies were exclusively breastfed for six months. But according to UNICEF's State of the World's Children Report 2011, 136.7 million babies are born worldwide and only about one-third of them are breastfed exclusively in the first six months. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month, here are five tips to help new moms save money on breastfeeding supplies.
Save Your Receipts Last year the IRS announced that breast pumps and feeding supplies are considered tax deductible medical expenses. Since breast pumps alone can cost hundreds of dollars, this could end up being a worthwhile savings for new moms who can now use pre-tax funds from flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts to cover breastfeeding costs.
Check with Your Hospital
Many hospitals have lactation departments, staffed with breastfeeding experts. If you purchase your pump or supplies through the hospital where you deliver your baby you may be able to get a significant discount. At Christiana Care Health System in Delaware for example, patients are given special deals on breast pumps and supplies.
Talk to Family Members
While breast pumps are considered to be a one-owner product, you may feel comfortable enough to share one with a family member or close friend. Ask other moms in your inner circle whether they have a breast pump you can borrow or buy. Since a new one can cost more than $200 this would be a significant savings. You will have to buy new tubing and shields.
Ask for Freebies
When you deliver your baby, your hospital will likely encourage you to breastfeed. They may even offer free supplies, instruction or materials to help you get started. Just don’t forget to ask. Plus, scoring free expert advice either through your hospital or by using the Twitter hashtag #BFChat is definitely valuable.
Avoid Unnecessary Spending
These days there are lots of breastfeeding supplies, clothing, pillows, cover ups and more. But for centuries women were able to feed their babies without any of these fancy accessories. Keep your spending in check by sticking to the basics. And just enjoy the thought of all the money you are saving by not having to purchase baby formula.
By Alison Storm
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