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    Frugal Moment: Bottle Feeding on the Cheap

    February 21, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    The title may sound a bit foolish, considering that formula feeding can rarely be considered cheap! Cheap is traditional breastfeeding {straight from Mom–no pumps, no bottles, no freezer storage all mean no cost}. But I’ve mentioned more than once that I have to supplement. And when one supplements as much as I do, it can get costly. This post is about how I make it as cheap as possible.


    Bottle Shopping

    This time around, I had to switch bottles. The type I had been using was discontinued, so I couldn’t buy new nipples. However, I was able to find Playtex nursers at a second-hand children’s store. The four-ounce size was fifty cents and the eight-ounce size was a dollar a piece. I also found a nice drying rack for two dollars! The nipples on the bottles appear to have never been used, so I didn’t have to buy new ones, either.

    If a second-hand store doesn’t have them, it still might be worth it to try Craig’s List or Ebay. Buying gently used bottles saved me a bundle, and no one is the wiser!


    Formula Shopping

    Bottles are the initial cost, but formula is the real, substantive, ongoing cost. Formula is pricey to say the least. But my daughter is seven weeks old, and I have yet to pay a dime!

    It all starts in the hospital. Hospitals love to send home formula with a new mom. If I make friends with the nurse, I will usually get more than the standard amount {which varies from hospital to hospital}.

    Next, pediatricians have tons of samples in their offices. I ask for more at every well-baby visit. I’ll confess it’s a bit of an inside job because my aunt is a nurse where we go. She brings a huge bag of sample-sized cans every time we’re at her office! But I am sure that if a mom asked for more than one can at my doctor’s office, she would get it, so moms shouldn’t be afraid to ask.

    Also, I have thought that if I ever ran low, I would ask friends to ask their doctors for samples. All of my friends with new babies are breastfeeding exclusively, so they could easily get a sample and then bring it to me.

    It is hard, however, to get many samples for specialty formulas used when babies have severe food allergies {formulas like Nutramigen and Alimentum}. A friend of mine had a baby that could only drink Nutramigen, and her health insurance didn’t cover it. So, she found a whole flat of it once at a second-hand children’s shop, which saved her about fifty percent! She also bids for it on Ebay, coming up with some great deals.

    The last solution is couponing. I know what type of formula I use, so I sign up for the little club organized by the formula marketers. It’s free, and I am constantly receiving coupons in the mail for three to five dollars off the regular price.

    In buying formual, going to the grocery store or a place like Target should be a last resort, in my experience. One can save a bundle if one creatively hunts for good formula deals.


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