Breastfeeding is not just a healthy choice, it’s also an economical choice. And the longer you breastfeed, the more the savings add up. As babies mature, they eat more. If you’re bottle-feeding, that means your expenses grow along with your baby. Nursing, by contrast, costs no more at six months than it does at six days.

In a 1998 study, Dr. Marta Sovyanhadi of the Long Beach, California, Department of Health and Human Services estimated it costs a mother only $90.36 in extra calorie intake to breastfeed an infant for the first six months.

You also are saving in healthcare costs for your baby. Studies show breastfed babies get sick less often, need fewer doctor visits, and are hospitalized less often than formula-fed babies. For working mothers, that means an added savings of less time lost on the job.

The chart below shows what not having to buy bottles and formula saves you, based on how long you nurse. *By breastfeeding you are saving well over $1,000 the first year. That’s money you can spend on other things, like education, savings, or a special treat to make nursing even easier!

* Figures include the average cost of brands of premixed and powdered formula available in grocery stores here in Northampton, Massachusetts, as well as the purchase of four bottles and nipples every two months.

Cost of Formula and Bottles Month Cumulative Nursing Savings

1 $102

2 $196

3 $320

4 $443

5 $567

6 $691

7 $815

8 $938

9 $1,062

10 $1,186

11 $1,309

12 $1,433