Milk Your Savings

by Sandra Gordon

Besides buying store brand baby formula from day one or switching from name-brand to a store brand like Parent's Choice Infant Formula, here are more ways to save.

  • Buy powdered, milk-based baby formula. The powdered form, which you mix yourself with water, is the cheapest form per ounce. According to the USDA, compared to liquid concentrate, which is pre-mixed with water to the desired concentration, powdered formula is, on average, 25 percent cheaper. Ready-to-feed formula, which doesn't require adding water, is even more convenient because you don't have to do any mixing, but you'll pay 53 percent more for it, on average, compared to powdered formula. You also pay more for a soy-based formula or another special type of formula, so don't buy it unless your pediatrician recommends it. If regular milk-based formula isn't working, talk to your pediatrician. It may be just require a little time for your baby to get used to it, regardless of the type of infant formula you're using.
  • Buy big. You'll pay less per ounce when you buy the largest size of powdered formula such as the 23.4, 24, and 96-ounce packages.
  • Use coupons. Sign up for free baby formula coupons when they are available. Normally you just need to enter your name, e-mail address, and the age of your child or baby's due date.
  • Look for Promotions. It often pays to keep your eyes peeled for promotional giveaways. Instead of formula coupons, Parent's Choice offers free baby formula/samples by holding sweepstakes on its website at www.parentschoiceformula.com. Follow the brand on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter for updated information.
  • Switch to cow's milk as soon as you can. After your baby's first birthday, it's safe to transition from infant formula to 2 percent or whole, full-fat cow's milk, which is approximately 3.5 to 4 percent fat. Cow's milk is less expensive and easier to contend with than formula because there's no mixing. If you're a formula user with a one-year-old, go ahead and start filling your baby's bottle or sippy cup with 2 percent or whole milk. If your baby's not buying it, try introducing whole cow's milk gradually. Over several weeks and months, add a little whole milk to your baby's bottle or sippy cup with the formula you prepare and slowly increase the proportion of milk to formula until your baby is drinking straight cow's milk. Don't buy low-fat or skim milk yet, though, thinking it's healthier for your baby. A baby's rapidly-developing brain thrives on the high percentage of butterfat 2 percent or whole milk contains. Just think: A child's brain grows to 80 percent of its adult size by age three and much of that development happens by age two. After your child's second birthday, though, brain growth begins to subside. That's when it's time to swap whole milk for low-fat or nonfat milk and begin feeding your baby other foods low in artery-clogging trans and saturated fat, such as low-fat or nonfat yogurt instead of the full-fat variety.
About the Author

Sandra Gordon is a consumer products expert, a writer, and a mother of two. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show and as a baby safety expert on The Discovery Health Channel's "Make Room for Baby." A Consumer Reports author, her latest book is Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear.

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