Available in audio format at: https://open.spotify.com/show/2WlVplDIv0WUiaRwpfIOj5?si=oX3K7E_3Tlq33TyOPqInfQ

This blog is written by someone with Dyslexia (ME!) so please overlook errors in spelling and punctuation if you can! Thank you

Let me start by getting your brain to where mine is.  There are instances where formula feeding is necessary and/ or chosen.  This is not written to shame anyone, especially those who for whatever reason had no other option but to formula feed their baby.  I am happy to hear your story if that helps you, I do actually do debriefs with families if they ask for it for dealing with the things that come up when you’ve had nowhere else to go but formula as a method of feeding your baby.  This article is for the person questioning why anyone would need breastfeeding support let alone pay for it or see it as an investment or money saving option. 

My Post It note idea for this article says “how much does my fee cost ÷ how many feeds occur in the first 6m, 1yr, 2yrs cost effective?”  that is where this work below originates from.  I want you to feel secure in your decision to invest in my services and that’s how these calculations and words come about. So, here we go…

To begin with I’m going to break down formula cost per year to feed a baby.  To do this I researched (10/1/21) the first UK formula that came up in my google search, it’s a well know brand and holds a high shelf position in the super market. An 800g tub is £14.99

I then used data on feeding frequency and amounts for the first year to get the following numbers from the manufacturer:

Up to 2 weeks – 6 feeds per 24 hours X scoops per feed, 3 = 18 scoops (each scoop is 4.5g) = 81g per 24 hours      2 weeks = 14 days = 81g X 14 days= 1134g powder required.

2-4 weeks – 5 feeds per 24 hours X scoops per feed, 4 = 20 scoops (each scoop is 4.5g) = 90g per 24 hours              2 weeks = 14 days = 90g X 14 days= 1260g powder required.

4-8 weeks –  5 feeds per 24 hours X scoops per feed, 5 = 25 scoops (each scoop is 4.5g) = 112.5g per 24 hours       4 weeks = 30 days = 112.5g X 14 days= 3375g powder required.

8-12 weeks –  5 feeds per 24 hours X scoops per feed, 6 = 30 scoops (each scoop is 4.5g) = 135g per 24 hours        4 weeks = 14 days = 135g X 14 days= 4050g powder required.

3-4months –  5 feeds per 24 hours X scoops per feed 6, = 30 scoops (each scoop is 4.5g) = 135g per 24 hours         4 weeks = 14 days = 135g X 14 days= 4050g powder required.

4-5 months –  5 feeds per 24 hours X scoops per feed 7, = 35 scoops (each scoop is 4.5g) = 157.5g per 24 hours    4 weeks = 14 days = 157.5g X 14 days= 4725g powder required.

5-6 months –  5 feeds per 24 hours X scoops per feed, 7 = 35 scoops (each scoop is 4.5g) = 157.5g per 24 hours    4 weeks = 14 days = 157.5g X 14 days= 4725g powder required.

7-12 months –  3 feeds per 24 hours X scoops per feed, 7 = 21 scoops (each scoop is 4.5g) = 94.5g per 24 hours    5 months = 150 days = 94.5g X 14 days= 14175g powder required.

Total grams for a year of formula powder – 37494g

37494g ÷ 800g (one tub) = 47 tubs of formula required.

47 tubs X £14.99 (per tub) = £704.53 for one year of powder for making up formula.

(this doesn’t include bottle, teats, sterilizers, water, boiling the water, needing to make more if one spoils and my calculations miss 5 days as I’m using the 30 days in a month calculation.  This makes this calculation conservative)

To work out how cost per feed:

Up to 2 weeks –  6 feeds per 24 hours X 14 days = 84 feeds

2-4 weeks – 5 feeds per 24 X 14 days= 70 feeds

4-8 weeks – 5 feeds per 24 hours X 30 days= 150 feeds

8-12 weeks – 5 feeds per 24 X 30 days = 150 feeds

3-4months – 5 feeds per 24 X30 days = 150 feeds

4-5 months – 5 feeds per 24 X 30 days = 150 feeds

5-6 months – 5 feeds per 24 hours X 30 days =150 feeds

7-12 months –  3 feeds per 24 hours X 150 days = 450 feeds

Number of feeds in the first year of life = 1354

Cost per feed: £704.53 (cost of 1 years’ worth of formula)÷1354 feeds in the first year = £0.52 per feed in the first year of life.

As I sit here writing this it occurs to me, you could use my services EVERY OTHER MONTH for a year and still have saved a significant amount in comparison to the cost of the formula milk power.

On we go to the calculations of breastfeeding and my current fees.  At the time of writing this we are still in a global pandemic, I introduced a ‘pay what you can’ option at the start of this between £45 and £75, I increased the bottom end to £50 but will still, when requested, work at a different price, situation dependent.  I am acutely aware that everyone’s situation is changing rapidly so this is why I introduced this.  Not all IBCLCs do this and this is ok.  So that this article has a chance of other IBCLCs relating to it I’m going to use two prices in my results below.  Firstly, £75 my top line fee and secondly, £150 two consultations with me or 1 with some of the higher priced IBCLCs ——Side conversation quickly here about price points.  There’s sometimes quite a lot of conversation about this in the IBCLC circles I am in.  When I started as an IBCLC I priced myself cheaper than my local IBCLCs, I figured at the time this was in respect of those around me and their experience, but I know it wasn’t taken that way and now on the other side I can see how that might be perceived.  I increased my prices around 6 months in to practice once I realised the level of work needed and the time that took me per client and I had begun to get a little frustrated at what that was earning me… (I’ve either just ended my career with that line or gained some respect who knows! Fingers crossed) The main point here is that the IBCLC credential is actually incredibly expensive and difficult to achieve and maintain, the ongoing costs with continued education, insurance, data protection fees, website and marketing fees etc. and the fact we are masters at our trade, means the IBCLCs charging £150, £200, £250, £500 Are. All. Worth. Every. Single. Penny. There’s a price point for every member of society.  Some people perceive price points as the amount of experience someone has, some see it as a placing on the scale of how qualified they are some work out the costings of their offering and price according to that and there’s probably a mountain of other interpretations of price and what that means.  A price is a price, if it doesn’t work for you find someone else, ask if there’s a payment plan available, ask if they know of a colleague perhaps with a relief fund who can offer you a consultation “paid for” or actually if you can, pay the price, my experience thus far shows me it is worth it especially if that person is an IBCLC lactation consultant —— ok back on track…  I’ll explain below what the costing and price per feed looks like in comparison to formula feeding for a year. I’m also going to cost 6 months of breastfeeding and 2 years alongside one year.  Why 2 years? Well, 2 years is really where most children will breastfeed up until or often beyond if we went with the flow of it all. The World Health Organisation recommends 2 years or beyond in their wording CLICK HERE to see this recommendation.  Many families I work with get to at least 2 years of breastfeeding, so it makes sense to have this comparison.

OK, so here we go:

1 year of breastfeeding:

365 days ÷ 2 = 182.5 days.

We know babies feed / need to feed around 8/12 times in 24 hours so I’m going to calculate these two halves’ using 8 times per 24 hours and 12 times per 24 hours.

185.5 days X 8 feeds per 24 hours = 1460 feeds

185.5days X 12 feeds per 24 hours = 2190 feeds

1460 + 2190 = 3650 feeds in the first year of life.

£75 session with me to help solve breastfeeding issues with ongoing support

75 ÷ 3650 = £0.02 per feed

£150, 2 sessions with me or 1 higher priced IBCLC

150 ÷ 3650 = £0.04 per feed

Again, like in the formula milk power calculations above, this is without the extras needed, in terms of breastfeeding it might be purchasing/ renting a pump and milk bags, perhaps you need some bottles and teats for the occasional expressed milk feed if you are separated from your baby and possibly the extra cake you may purchase…

Little reminder formula is £0.52 per feed.  A saving of £0.48 per feed with the £0.04 above data.

6 Months of breastfeeding:

365 ÷ 2= 182.5 (6 months of days)

182.5 ÷ 2 = 91 (half of 6 months for the next calculation for 8-12 feeds in 24 hours)

91 X 12 = 1092

91 X 8 = 758

1092 + 758 = 1850 feeds in the first 6 months

£75 session with me to help solve breastfeeding issues with ongoing support

75 ÷ 1850 = £0.04 per feed

£150, 2 sessions with me or 1 higher priced IBCLC

150 ÷ 1850 = £0.08 per feed

2 years of Breastfeeding:

We know year 1 is 3650 feeds per year

The second year your baby/ child will feed less frequently (although I know not all children get this memo) so I’ve calculated the second year as 8 feeds in 24 hours taking in to account colds and those little just because feeds this is probably as accurate as one can get. So, the second year is 365 X 8 = 2920 feeds in the second year.

2 years of breastfeeding is around 6570 feeds.

£75 session with me to help solve breastfeeding issues with ongoing support

£150, 2 sessions with me or 1 higher priced IBCLC

75 ÷ 6570 = £0.01 per feed

150 ÷ 6570 = £0.02 per feed

To summarize all of the above. 

Formula feeding for one year is around £0.52 per feed

Using the services of an IBCLC once to help resolve breastfeeding issues allowing you to continue breastfeeding with ongoing support equates to around 2p per feed if you pay them £75 and around 4p per feed if you pay them £150 and breastfeed for a year.  If you breastfeed for 6 months then each breastfeed at the consultation price of £75 is around 4p per feed and around 8p per feed if you pay them £150.  If you seek support from an IBCLC and breastfeed to the WHO recommendations of 2 years or beyond at £75 consultation fee it is around 1p per feed and £150 around 2p per feed. 

So, there…. That’s lot of maths.  I dislike maths but this felt like an important comparison.  I hope it’s been eye-opening for you too!  Again, not one to shove in the face of a difficult ‘no option but to formula feed’ family (I could write a whole other blog about the actual cost of formula and how it is unfairly priced but for now we have this) but one to show to the family thinking £75 for a consultation to see an expert in the field of breastfeeding is too much, and we are emptying your pockets. When I work out what £75 is for the around 5 hours at least I put in per client I’m being paid £15/ hr, I book you in, I research your situation beforehand, I spend an untimed amount of time in a consultation with you (average around 1.5 hours but has been far more if needed), I write a report especially for you and your situation, I become your ongoing cheerleader if you want or need me, I answer your evolving issues via email, I process and look after the information you’ve given me.  In using my services, you also inadvertently receive the option of the thousands of expert brains in the field of lactation, I’ve spent countless hours connecting and working with some of the most well-versed lactation experts around the world and if I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does and probably someone who’s gone through the same thing too! 

An IBCLC is the neurologist of head trauma, the Rheumatologist of stiff joints, the haematologist of bruising.

We are the top of the triangle for expert breastfeeding support.  We have the oversight of the whole area of our scope to get to the root cause of your situation and support you through it.   And that is why seeing an IBCLC Lactation consultant is an investment. (and no, they aren’t rinsing you for your money)

Why seeing an IBCLC Lactation consultant is an investment. (and no, they aren’t rinsing you for your money)

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