Attention WIC Infant Formula Moms:
Fill in with Store Brand Formula

By Sandra Gordon

If you are a participant in the WIC program and feed your baby WIC-supplied infant formula, you’re not alone if you run out of formula before the end of the month. According to a recent study published in Clinical Pediatrics,* two-thirds of families in the WIC program are like yours—their supply of infant formula gets depleted before they’re eligible to get the next month’s formula supply. To stretch WIC formula, 27 percent of families report watering down formula or skipping feedings, both of which can have serious health consequences for infants. Never stretch infant formula by diluting it or skipping feedings.

Here’s a better idea: buy a store brand formula like Parent’s Choice to make ends meet. Even though you’re given name-brand formula when you participate in WIC, the Switch Study proves that it’s safe to change to Store Brand Formula when your name-brand supply of formula is gone. And the 50 percent savings** you’ll get by buying the store brand sure beats paying top dollar for name-brand formula, especially considering all infant formulas must offer complete nutrition and meet the same quality and safety standards as required by federal law.

Milk Your Savings

Besides buying our infant formula brand from day one or switching from name-brand to Parent’s Choice Formula, here are more ways to save.

  • Buy powdered, milk-based 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 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.
  • Switch to cow’s milk when the time is right. After your baby’s first birthday, it’s safe to transition from infant formula to 2 percent milk or to whole, full-fat cow’s milk, which is approximately 3.5 to 4 percent fat. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend cow's milk for infants under one year of age because milk alone does not offer enough nutrients like vitamin E, iron, and essential fatty acids required for infant growth and development.

Another option is Parent's Choice Toddler & Older Infant Formula. Our toddler formula is specially designed for infants nine months and older (9-24 months). It also contains calcium for growing bones and is suitable for children who have started a diet supplemented by baby cereals and baby foods.

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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*Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2012 Mar;51(3):238-43
**Retail prices are from a January 2013 retail price survey of national retail stores. Actual prices and savings may vary by store and location.