Thursday, April 22, 2010

cost of breastfeeding

First of all, I'm not anti-breastfeeding. I am pro-baby feeding. There are fewer and fewer breastfeeding moms these days, and more and more formula feeders. This has given rise to a debate on the merits of brestfeeding. Many studies have been done. I've heard many arguments in favor of breastfeeding, some that I don't believe are particularly true. The main one that is not true is that breastfeeding is free. It's not free.

Nate had latch issues. He will only take a bottlle. I was going to have to pump when I returned to work, so I already had a good pump and a collection of bottles. I thought, "No problem. I can pump and he'll still have milk." I hoped to be able to pump exclusively until he started solids. But I have supply issues. I pumped for 3 months before my supply was too low for it to be worth it. My average output was about 14 oz per day. Nate eats twice that, so we had to give him formula, too.

Here's what I spent to provide that little bit of breastmilk for my son: Medela Pump in Style Advanced - $215 (retail $280); nursing pads - $11/box, 3 boxes; nursing bras - $35 for 3 (retail $34/each); nursing tanks - $17, plus 3 free hand-me-downs (retail $17/each); case of mother's milk tea and bottle of fenugreek (to boost my supply) - $27. Total: $327; total retail price: $510.

January - March is 90 days. With an average of 14 oz per day, I estimate that I pumped 1260 oz of breastmilk. That cost me 26 cents per oz, and the retail value was 40 cents per oz. Ouch.

Sam's Club formula has a calculator on their website to show how much you'd save compared to a name brand formula. Since all formula is required to have the same ingredients, there's really no reason to not use generic, unless your baby has a very sensitive tummy and can only handle a certain brand. The calculator shows that a 6 oz bottle of Sam's Club formula costs 30 cents, that's 5 cents per oz. Formula is cheap.

Had I been able to keep it up, it would have cost less per oz. Also, had I been able to supply 100% of his dietary needs, it would have cost less per oz. Assuming he keeps having 28 oz per day for the first year, figuring in the need to continue buying nursing pads and lactation support supplements, my price would be 4.9 cents per oz, retail 6.7 cents per oz. Other merits of breastfeeding aside, even as a frugal shopper, it's only a tenth of a cent cheaper per oz than formula, if continued for a year. Certainly not free.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

why bird-brained means dumb

Not long ago, I heard some chirping or squeaking in the laundry room. We've had mice, as I've mentioned before. It sounded more like birds, though, so I thought it would be no problem. (Do you sense the foreshadowing?)

I have a wonderful husband. He works noon to 6, so he's home in the mornings. This morning, he decided to do laundry. When we both got home, he told me that the laundry was taking a really long time to dry. So, I suggested checking the exhaust hose to see if there was lint buildup or something blocking it.

Our laundry room is a long narrow hallway, with the door in the middle of the long wall. Open the door, the washer is on the left (outside wall), dryer on the right (inside wall). The space in the middle is about the same size as a washer or dryer. Dad rigged up the exhaust hose to run from the dryer to the outside wall.

Rodgers pulled out the dryer, climbed over, got behind it (that was quite an ordeal), and disconnected the hose to look inside. It was completely clear. He climbed back over and leaned over the washer to disconnect the hose from the wall. We immediately saw why the dryer wasn't drying.

There were so many feathers, we were afraid there was a whole dead bird in there, but no, just feathers.

And eggs. :'( Little baby bird eggs.

He got the whole nest into a plastic sack.

There are the eggs again. Disturbingly, my first thought was, "Well, I could boil them and make balot..." I never even ate the real balot while I was in the Philippines. I don't know why I would think that.

That's a lot of nest.

What we've learned from this experience is: If you hear chirping outside the laundry room, make sure no birds are building a nest in the dryer vent. If you don't live on the first floor (we're on the second floor), take off the hose and look because, seriously, there might be a bird nest in there.

The end.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


You gotta take pics in the bluebonnets.

This is when I realize that I need a tripod. We couldn't take a picture of all 3 of us together. There are better fields of bluebonnets, but this is the closest patch to home that's not in the middle of a highway.

Last Sunday, Nate picked up a toy for the first time and put it in his mouth. More often, he succeeds in getting his hand in his mouth, but not the thing he picked up. He's working on it, though. His babbling, which started 2 weeks ago, has changed. He doesn't have such long monologues anymore, but he'll engage in conversation for a longer period of time. Also, he's saying "kkkkkk" more than "boo" or "goo" now.

We had been dressing him in 0-3 month clothes. The separates still fit him, but I've given up on trying to cram his legs into the sleepers. He only has a few 3-6 sleepers so far. They seem so big because he has such a skinny tummy. But, that's what he's wearing to bed now. Play clothes, he's wearing some 0-3 and some 3-6. People (who haven't met Rodgers) are always asking me if my husband is a big man. Nope, we just have a big baby.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I am a genius.

Rodgers and I have our phone numbers registered on the Do Not Call list. This prevents a lot of telemarketing, but occasionally, we still get phone calls from numbers we don't recognize. I sign up for coupons and samples of baby stuff, and many times I have to give my phone number. I figure having some unwanted calls is worth the free stuff. (I've had no luck with answering and asking to not be called again. Just like I can't get Old Navy to stop emailing me when they're having sales on maternity clothes.) We don't answer unknown phone numbers, and they don't leave a message, but they do call back. If I don't know your number and you won't leave me a message, I'm never going to answer when you call me. But, it's still obnoxious when the phone rings.

Today, I had an epiphany. I stored the latest number that's been calling me. And I set the ringtone for it to "silent." Now when they call me, my phone will neither ring nor vibrate. If I happen look at the caller ID when they call, it now says, "Don't answer." It's so peaceful.

::dusts off hands:: My work here is done.