Baby formula is one of most expensive parts of raising a baby. It’s difficult for new moms on a budget because this is an essential need. Your baby must eat, so you have to figure out a way to factor in baby formula prices into your monthly budget.
Even though I breastfed all three of my babies there were times I had to supplement with formula. Because my supply was low, pumping was impossible, so anyone watching my babies had to feed them formula.
There was also a time when our daughter was a newborn with jaundice and wouldn’t gain weight, so formula supplementation helped her get back on track to a healthy weight.
The point here is that even if you are a breastfeeding mom you still might have to purchase formula, which is expensive!
Formula is so expensive because there is a high demand for it since all babies must be fed, it takes a lot of research and studies to make formula that’s safe for your newborn, and retailers inflate the price because programs like WIC will cover the full priced cost of formula for low income families.
Read below to find out more about what makes formula so expensive, how to choose the best formula, and how to save money on baby formula.
This post may contain affiliate links.
How much does formula cost per month?
According to the CDC your baby will eat 8-12 times per day during the first few weeks of their lives. Check out the chart below to see how much your baby will eat according to their age.
Disclosure: I am not a doctor, please consult with your pediatrician before determining feeding times, amounts, and best formula brand for your baby.
|Baby Feeding Amount According to Age|
|Baby Age||Ounces of formula||How often?||Average Cost|
|First Few Weeks||1-2 ounces||Every 2-3 hours (8-12 times per day)|
|2-6 Months||5-6 ounces||Every 3-4 hours (5-6 times per day)|
|6-12 Months||6-7 ounces||Every 5-6 hours (decreases as they start eating solids)|
If you do the math here this comes out to more than 5,000 ounces of formula for your baby’s first year!
This equates to about $5,600 for the first year or $466 per month for the average formula for baby.
|Cost per month for popular baby formula brands|
|Cost Per Month|
|Similac 360 Total Care Infant||$641|
|Similac 360 Total Care Sensitive||$655|
|Enfamil Gentlease Baby Formula||$526|
|Enfamil Infant Formula||$531|
|Burt’s Bees Baby Organic Baby Formula||$522|
|Earth’s Best Organic Baby Formula||$576|
|Gerber Good Start Extensive Ha Hypoallergenic Powder||$846|
As you can see, formula costs can add up fast. Which isn’t great news if you are trying to grow a family on a budget. Luckily there are lots of ways to save money on formula and even get it for free to lower that monthly and yearly cost to something more affordable.
Is breastfeeding really cheaper?
First I want to make clear, no judgement here. Some moms can’t breastfeed and that is totally OKAY! You’re baby needs to be fed and whether that’s by breastfeeding or formula the decision is yours and you know what’s best for you and your baby.
If you are in the position to breastfeed and/or pump it can definitely save you a ton of money over formula costs, even if you are supplementing formula.
Here are just a few of the ways you can save breastfeeding
- No need to buy formula at all if you can successfully nurse while you are home and pump when you are away.
- You can easily get a free breast pump and supplies HERE!
- Even if you do have to supplement with formula you won’t have to get nearly as much. You might be able to get away with just getting free baby formula samples.
- Nursing in public now is easier than ever with cheap full coverage nursing covers that you can wash and re-use. THESE are my favorite!
How can I save money on baby formula?
Great news! Not only are there plenty of ways to save money on formula there are also many ways to get it for free! You can find a majority of the free baby samples (formula and other baby essentials) available on this baby freebies list.
Here are some ways to save money on baby formula:
- Clip coupons at home or online.. Check your local newspaper and parenting/baby magazines for formula coupons. You can also find these coupons online at store websites like Smart & Final or coupon sites like Coupon.com and My Savings.
- Sign up for newsletters or free samples from your favorite baby formula brands. They usually will send you a welcome pack that includes full size formula samples. Click the links to sign up for coupons and samples from Gerber, Similac, and Enfamil.
- Another thing you can do is email the company that sells the formula you want to try to see if they have free samples or coupons. I’ve gotten tons of free samples and coupons for my babies this way.
- Buy Nothing groups on Facebook are an amazing resource for new moms. I’ve just heard about them and they have them for just about every city in the US. Just search on Facebook (Buy Nothing “Your City”). These groups are all about giving things away for FREE. You can ask for things you need or list things you want to give away. People can also trade items. I’ve seen many mother’s giving away free diapers and formula in these groups.
- An alternative to Buy Nothing groups are local mom groups on Facebook. Search (“Your City” Mom Group) in the Facebook search to find one near you. Many moms in these groups are looking to trade or giveaway baby items to moms in need. These are usually supportive groups that want to help each other out.
- Ask your doctor or pediatrician if they have formula samples or vouchers for free or discounted formula.
- Look for community resources like WIC that support new mother’s who are low income. You can often get free formula and even supplies for mom that will help you through those baby months.
Formula isn’t the only cost associated with raising a newborn baby to toddler age. Babies can be a huge added expense to the family budget, but they don’t have to be. Find out how to raise your baby on a tight budget!
In this article you learned how to save money on baby formula or even to get it for free. But, what if I told you there were so many other baby essentials you could get for free!? Check out my huge list of free baby stuff you can get delivered to your house for you and your newborn!