Femme Economics: The Breasts are Free (Lactation and Lesbians)
At first glance, you may have thought this post was a frugal feminist protest of bras. I can’t do that because I’m a rather pendulous DD cup and if I burned my bras, my breasts would touch the ground in just a few years and that would make it hard to walk.
Instead, I’m here to discuss the cost benefits of breast-feeding for lesbians. This is sometimes a hard topic, as you can see when in 2005, Rosie O’Donnell said to a national audience that she was so jealous of her partner’s breast-feeding their child that she made her stop. Now, Rosie doesn’t have to worry about the cost of formula, but I have known quite a few lesbian couples who opted for formula-feeding only so that both moms had the same bonding experience with the baby. Breast-feeding can be hard skill for some women to learn, but formula is expensive. With formula between twenty to fifty cents to a dollar an ounce and at least 24 ounces a day, It’s amazing the other baby items you could afford in your child’s first year if you don’t use formula.
As you may have read, I had been contemplating going back to school for some fun certification or possibly ditching my creative endeavors and working full-time. Well, I’m sort of doing both. I’m working full time as a nanny and parent coach for the parents of (breast-fed) twins until I receive my certification as a post-partum doula (mom-coach) and lactation consultant. As a frugal-minded queer-cents writer, what strikes me most about breastfeeding, aside from health benefits is the ability to feed your baby without any added cost. It is possible for humans to feed babies even without buying any special clothing, pumps, or accoutrements, though being a pampered nursing mother would still be less expensive than formula-feeding.
It may sound creepy a first, but I would advise moms (and adoptive moms and gay dads) to consider the possible cost-benefit of feeding pricy human milk from a milk bank for a month or two, in order to ensure your child gets a good head-start in it’s immune system. There is plenty of scientific evidence explaining the immune benefits of human milk. Formula is made from cow’s milk or soy, both of which are hard for human babies to process and can cause painful gas and acid reflux.
If a queer woman and her partner want to be a “nursing couple”, one great solution is to use an electric pump on one breast while nursing the baby with one so that the other mom can later bottle-feed. The majority of babies will be comfortable going back and forth if introduced to the bottle after a week or two of breast-bonding. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to start out with a gazillion sterilized and ready bottles. You will be just fine investing in one each of three different kinds of wide-natural nippled BPA and Phthalate-free baby bottles from a health food store and washing them regularly until you figure out which one works for your baby and then get a couple more. An expensive sterilizer is usually only needed for sick and pre-mature babies.
One cost-benefit of breast feeding is a steady and natural post-baby weight loss that comes with feeding a child. Though, you will get to keep eating like a piggy, which could be expensive.
For more great tips on how to save money with a new baby, read Jennifer’s Post!