Safe Ways to Save on Infant Formula

April 7, 2009 7:51:21 PM PDT
In this economic crisis, people are doing everything they can to save - sometimes with dire consequences. Late last year, a Florida mother struggling to make ends meet diluted her baby's infant formula. The baby almost died.

Melanie Hassell mostly uses infant formula to feed her two-week-old. She's found it costs a lot more than it did for her other children.

Sandra Gordon, author of Consumer Reports Baby Book, says don't try to save money by adding extra water to the formula. "If your baby gets too much water, it can lead to what's called water intoxication which can be potentially deadly," said Gordon.

So be sure to follow the directions exactly. And use the scoop that comes with the formula, because scoops vary in size. Although formula is expensive - as much as 15-hundred dollars in the first year - Consumer Reports says there are ways to cut costs. Instead of buying formula at drugstores and supermarkets where prices are highest, shop at mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart or target and get store brands.

"All infant formula sold in the U.S., whether it is a store brand or a name-brand must meet the same basic nutrient requirements specified by the Food and Drug Administration. So if your baby likes the store brand formula, there's no reason not to buy it," said Gordon.

Another way to save - powdered formula costs a lot less than the pre-mixed kind. And milk-based formula usually costs less than soy.

"A milk-based formula is really the best for your child. So unless your doctor recommends a soy formula or a specialty formula, go with milk-based," said Gordon.

And you always want to check the expiration date to make sure the formula isn't too old.

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