Monday, February 16, 2009

Money-saving breastfeeding ideas

Welcome to the February Carnival of Breastfeeding: Money-saving breastfeeding tips

This month we're bringing you posts on the topic of penny pinching while breastfeeding. Be sure to check out the links at the end for the other participants' posts.


I am quite the Frugal Fanny, so I relish this month's carnival on ways to save money while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding in itself is a money saver, but there are ways to make it pay off even more. There are a number of accouterments that seem to go along with nursing your baby, and all those purchases can add up. Here are some of my finest ideas for the budget-conscious nursing mama, which I spent quite awhile compiling:

     1. Nursing clothing: Why spend lavish amounts on a whole new wardrobe when all you really need is easy access? Try on all your favorite post-maternity shirts and use a piece of tailor's chalk to carefully mark two relevant circles. Now take a pair of pinking shears and cut along the lines you've drawn. Voila! (Note: You might need a cardigan now to wear over your shirts.)

     2. Nursing bras: You'll need something to wear under your breezy new nursing shirts, of course. An Ace bandage is nice and stretchy.

     3. Nursing pads: Now's your chance to make your old teenage habit of stuffing socks in your bra useful!

     4. Nursing pillow: You don't want to have to shell out for a Boppy, My Brest Friend, or other single-faceted pillow. Try an innertube instead! If the rubber outer bothers you and you're feeling crafty, cover with an attractive fabric. Since it goes all the way around, you'll have lumbar support as well -- plus, it will double as a pool toy when your baby's older!

     5. Nursing stool: Pile all the stuffed animals and receiving blankets you accrued as baby shower gifts to the appropriate height. Functional and fluffy.

     6. Glider or rocker: These are pricey. I recommend having someone handy remove the handle off a Sit-n-Spin. Then you can place the bottom piece on any chair and swivel soothingly back and forth. It's more portable than a glider -- and more colorful!

     7. Breastpump: Learn to hand express. Then have a dairy farmer show you how to get a good rhythm going.

     8. Make money the old-fashioned way: Become a wet nurse. Then you can write off all the above expenses! (Consult a qualified CPA on where the IRS would like you to itemize your innertube.)

Ok, just a little fun... Though if you use any of the above ideas, you'll have to give me credit!

I really haven't spent very much on breastfeeding supplies, and here's truly how I've done it:

     1. Nursing clothing: Layers and stretchy cottons are your friends!

     2. Nursing bras: Target has some nice affordable ones, though depending on your chest size, you might find quality is worth it to find a bra that fits comfortably. Buying three nice (large!) bras was definitely my most expensive category of purchase, but I do wear one of them every day! If you've already found the perfect non-nursing bra, Mamas Worldwide will tell you how to convert it yourself.

     3. Nursing pads: Get a few reusable pairs (or make your own!) in whatever fabric you find comfortable.

     4. Nursing pillow: I found a Boppy at a garage sale and received a My Brest Friend as a hand-me-down and a Boppy slipcover as a baby-shower gift. These are the kinds of things that are floating around the homes of friends-with-babies, so it should be easy enough to snag one for cheap or free. Or just use a regular old bed pillow or four.

     5. Nursing stool: Mine also was a hand-me-down. I know most people contentedly do without.

     6. Glider or rocker: Craigslist! No shipping fees, and I got a gorgeous, high-quality glider at a secondhand price.

     7. Breastpump: I like my Avent Isis manual pump for occasional use. If you're hardcore, though, you'll save your energy by renting or buying an electric. See what programs your local hospital has, or ask a lactation consultant if she knows any cheap options to use or buy one. If you need a lot of freezer storage bags, you can often buy in bulk online.

     8. Make money the old-fashioned way: Well, I've never made a dime on breastfeeding, but it's been worth it. :)

Best wishes breastfeeding, and congratulate yourself that you're being so economical in these tough financial times. Not that your happy baby cares one way or the other!


Please read the excellent posts from our other carnival participants:

Motherwear's Breastfeeding Blog suggests cheap home remedies for breastfeeding problems
Mamas Worldwide gives pictorial instructions on how to convert a regular bra into a nursing bra
Blacktating gives tips on DIY nursing pillow covers, hand expression, and hands-free nursing pump holders
Breastfeeding Mums Blog offers alternative healing uses of breastmilk
Zen Mommy shares how breastfeeding has inspired her to have a financially healthy lifestyle
Breastfeeding 1-2-3 gives a homemade recipe for a Pedialyte alternative
Milk Act talks about the impact of breastfeeding on wardrobe and food choices

Photo courtesy of Steve Woods on stock.xchng


Elita said...

The inner tube is a great idea! I love my nursing pillow and you will pry it out of my cold, dead hands, but I will suggest this one to my preggo friends.

Missy said...

a bit late on the comment, i know, but for #7 - breastpump - if the mom qualifies for WIC, they may be able to provide her with a pump. (even a nice electric one if she is returning to work or school)

Lauren Wayne said...

Ooo, cool. Good to know!

MrsQriist said...

Yeah, WIC in Oklahoma changed their policy on pumps when my son was 2-3 weeks old. They used to give you a Medela Pump-in-Style if you were nursing, and if you never asked for formula, it was yours to keep free! Now you have to be working or in school to get it. If I'd made the decision to quit earlier in my maternity leave, I'd have qualified...oops.

I don't have a nursing pillow, and I tried one at a friend's and found it to be nothing special (I'm a size 24-26, so that may be why), but I found a slightly curved and plumper memory foam travel pillow at Walmart for $10 that has been a lifesaver. My guy was 10'11", so he was really heavy to just hold from the very start (although most babies are anyway, I think). Thanks for the post :)

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