Sunday, January 22, 2012

Doing the Math....

There has been a lot of disturbing news that has reached my ears lately. A lot of numbers about how much families are being affected by the economic crisis and most sadly, how they are reacting to it.
There have been two studies that have recently come out reporting on what parents are doing and how it is affecting their children. The first to come out stated that 1 in 3 families were struggling to buy diapers and that parents were resorting to reusing diapers. They do this by putting just the wet diapers on a radiator or use a hair dryer, to dry up the gel again and then reuse it on their little one.

The second report just came out recently on how 1 in 8 families is watering down formula because they cannot afford to buy formula.  This is resulting in the babies suffering from a disorder known as "Failure to Thrive". Meaning baby is not progressing mentally or physically the way it should be.

This is disturbing as a parent. I am grateful and feel very blessed that I have been able to breastfeed both of my children and that my husband has had no qualms with cloth diapering.  Yet, as a breastfeeding, cloth diapering mother, I wondered. How much is formula? How much are disposables? I see the prices listed on the shelves at the store, but that doesn't give me any idea of how much it would cost if that were my only option.  So, I sat down with a calculator and a pencil and did some math.

This is just a calculator created scale. I am not part of the AAP nor do I know all of the recommendations for formula feeding. Having said that, here we go...

Prices for formula can run between $12.88 - $24.99 depending on the brand you buy. This is for 12.4oz containers that make 90oz of mixed formula.  According to what I have read, a baby needs 2.5oz per pound of body weight, per day.

The following is a estimation of prices per MONTH using a baby that starts at 6lbs (newborn) and is 24lbs (1year).

6lbs - 15 oz per day : $64.40 - $124.95
12lbs - 30 oz per day : $128.80 - $249.90
18lbs - 45oz per day : $193.20 - $374.15
24lbs - 60oz per day : $257.60 - $499.10

Now say that baby is drinking those amounts for 3 months, that would make the cost of formula for this baby, for the YEAR : $1932. - $3743.6 .
Now lets add in the average amounts that parents spend on disposables, which we know to be between $1500. - $2000. (for two years).
That makes :$6864. - $11487. for disposable diapers and formula for 2 years.

It's so hard to look at those numbers when you know that you can feed your baby for free and spend as little as $86 to diaper your child from birth to potty training.
Green aside for a moment. Think of this economically. As in "What could you do with a few extra thousand in your wallet each year?"  This clarifies why there are government aid programs, such as WIC and why some health insurance companies cover formula. Obviously it is essential when that is the babies only source of nourishment, as the parents have decided that formula feeding is easier.
But when you consider that even though there is government aid out there, parents are still torn between buying diapers and food, formula and utilities.
If every mother was given a breast pump after she had her baby, was taught by a good lactation consultant how to breastfeed and then taught how to pump and store milk. She may never have to buy a ounce of formula. If that same parent put aside the poop fear and used cloth diapers, she would never have to debate between a box of diapers and groceries, clothes for her children, gas for her car. These problems wouldn't be completely gone, but the burden would be lessened.

But....No One makes money off of Breastfeeding and Cloth Diapers the way they do Formula and Disposables.

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