Formula Feeding Twins: A story about lighting our bank account on fire
May 29, 2019
I started out the month with the great/horrible idea that I would keep all of our receipts and calculate what it costs to formula feed 10 month old twins for one month. Did I do this because I wanted to cause myself an anxiety attack? Well that might not have been the goal but my goodness was it the result.
Let me start off with the type of formula we use. We use Enfamil A+ (which I believe is called Enfamil Premium in the U.S.) and that is not by any stretch a value formula. When I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to be able to breastfeed I was hell-bent on making sure we had a high quality formula to replace it with. There are SO many formula types it’s incredibly overwhelming and honestly I wish I knew more about what all of the differences were. This was the formula that our boys started out with in the NICU at the hospital when they were born and we’ve stayed true to it since.
When we started out we used the “ready-feed” type that was already mixed which was great initially because we didn’t have to worry about preparing it but OH MY GOSH is it expensive. Once the boys got to 3 months we were able to switch to powder which was a lot more affordable than the small fortune we paid for those small bottles. We tried to transition them from ready-feed to powder before too soon and it went terribly – it took a minute for their digestive systems to adjust to the change and trying to go too early….critical error. Be better than us.
I’m sure there is a brand that’s cheaper and probably relatively comparable in quality but honestly the idea of experimenting with different types was so daunting that it just wasn’t worth the mental cost.
When you have twins I really feel like there’s a lot of weighing your options and the value add vs mental cost. When you have something that works for both of your babies it’s so difficult to want to make any changes to it. It’s very much a “if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it” mentality. There’s enough variability already having twins, I don’t feel the need to add more.
Right now the boys have 8oz bottles roughly every 4 hours during the day and they sometimes have 1-2 small top-ups (4oz) at night. They have approximately between 32oz & 40oz in 24 hours (NOTE: we measure in ounces not millilitres and I know that’s probably confusing but it’s easier to count small numbers when you’re sleep deprived 24/7!) I do not know if that is a lot or not a lot of formula per day. There are legitimately zero manuals for babies and it’s just yet again another thing that I’m pretty sure I’m doing wrong everyday.
So, with the formula we buy you can get two “types” – you can purchase it in a plastic tub and then you can purchase two-packs that are refills for the plastic tub:
This formula is on sale sometimes but honestly the amount we save is really minimal overall, usually a few dollars per container. We were lucky this month that Enfamil ran a Mother’s Day sale so we could purchase more in bulk at a cheaper (ish) cost.
All together I can, painfully, say that we spent $454.96 on formula this month. That does not include any of the additional food we give the boys like puffs, purees etc. It also doesn’t include the amount we spend on diapers, wipes or clothes (and twins go through an exorbitant amount of all these things).
I’m positive it’s not a shocker to anyone that having babies and especially having twins is expensive. It wasn’t pleasant having the cost broken down like that but honestly I wish someone had prepared us even slightly for formula cost. Obviously, I understood that breastfeeding was the “free” and ideal choice for feeding the babies and so it never even occurred to me during pregnancy to give formula a second thought. Having to bottle feed twins is incredibly common because it’s so darn difficult to breastfeed multiples and I wish someone had told me that!
It’s definitely a tough pill to swallow when circumstances beyond your control determine that breastfeeding is not an option for you. It’s a tougher pill to swallow when the alternative costs you a literal arm and a leg in order to properly nourish your babies. (*No arms or legs were sold in the writing of this blog*) Ultimately, I’m thankful everyday for formula because it gives the twins what I wasn’t able to on my own but that doesn’t make the cost any less jarring.
Note to self: carry around these receipts for all of the people who (SUPER HILARIOUSLY) make jokes to me that I got “two for the price of one” when I had twins. No no friend, we got two for the price of 5.
Second note to self: Keep track of how much we spend on the babies so we can one day tell them how many dollars worth we have loved them.