Everyday Baby Products

The Challenge

Does anyone know how to obtain baby formula, diapers or bottle liners at a discount price? I had a baby in November and planned to breastfeed exclusively, but that didn't work out. Now I have to use formula at $3.30 per can and she is drinking at least a can a day. Diapers are very expensive too. I have checked out the 2 wholesale clubs near my home which are BJ's and Sams. They do have discount diapers but they seemed to fall apart very quickly and they were not that much of a discount. They only carry one type of formula and of course as luck would have it it's not what she can drink. If you know of a place I can obtain these products at a better rate (I'd be willing to buy in large quantities) or a place that I can get some great coupons or special offers.
Crystal M.

Editor's note: Although we're happy to provide you with money saving ideas, please don't ever jeopardize your baby's health or safety to save money. Every baby is different. Some brands or suggestions will work for some babies but not for others. Remember, you're the parent. That makes you responsible for your baby's health and safety!

Start With Free Stuff

Sign up for as much free stuff and coupons as you can from companies who make formula your baby can drink. Second, bottle liners are a big waste of money in my opinion. If you can get your baby to switch to a regular bottle that does not require liners you will be much further ahead. If this is not possible, check out the consignment stores, many people bring in partially used boxes to sell as they no longer need them.

Try Cloth Diapers

First read the Dollar Stretcher archives for information about cloth diapers. Yes, cloth diapers! Real mothers who want to save real money use real diapers. I have diapered all 5 of my children in cloth. I think I have saved about $8000 over the years. For $150 you can buy diapers, a pail, and covers or pants to last all your baby's time in diapers. There are many web pages devoted to cloth diapering.
Camellia M.of Houston, TX

W.I.C. Helps

This is a subject that I know a lot about. Has she looked into the program W.I.C.? I am a nutritionist there. You can both be working and may still qualify for W.I.C.

As far as diapers, when you see a good sale, jump on it! Call the diaper company to compliment them on a diaper that you like and see if they will send you complementary coupons or on the other side complain about which ones you don't like to help them improve their brand.

I have found Wal-Mart to be one of the cheapest in formula. Ounce per ounce I is cheaper to buy the powder formula than concentrate of most definitely ready to use.
Diana N of Ere, Pa

"Off Brand" Formula

I too had problems with breast feeding. I was unable to ever produce anything. With our second baby, we used "Parent's Choice." It is made by Wythe, who has been in the formula business for over 75 yrs. It is sold at Wal-Mart. My pediatrician's office checked it out through the FDA, and gave us the okay to use it. In the US, any formula on the market must be approved by the FDA. This formula is one half the price of the brand names. A two-pound can sells for $12.88 (powder). They also make a soy formula. I never had a problem with mixing it.

I also use the Wal-Mart brand of diapers. I have NEVER had a problem with them falling apart. They are comparable to "Pampers". Wal-Mart's "Equate" brand of wipes, again, about 1/2 the price as compared to brand names and they work fine. I tried the "home made" wipes but they never worked out for me.

Computer Resources

After the birth of our daughter (now 2 years old), I, too, was looking for ways to save money and not sacrifice convenience as I work full time. I found the computer to be a very useful tool in my search to save money on baby products. Simply do a search on "baby products" and you should have access to a large variety of manufacturers and retailers of baby products. Next, simply get on their mailing lists.

The manufacturers of diapers and formulas will send a stream of coupons, samples, and special offers straight to your door! You may end up with some extra junk mail, but the savings are definitely worth it. I had so many coupons for the formula that we used that we had coupons left after the formula days were over!

Check with your doctor/pediatrician's office and the birthing center at your local hospital for free samples and special offers from the formula companies. I also found that using powdered formula was much less expensive. I would make it a quart at a time so we always had some fresh on hand.
Lisa S-B

Homemade Baby Food

A way to save money and have a healthier baby is to make you own baby food. It's really easy. Potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, yellow squash, or any veggie you want to try (except broccoli if you child is young - gassy!) can be boiled or steamed easily and then run through the blender or your food processor. You just add enough water to make it like baby food in the store or a little thicker. After you have it just right, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. After it's frozen, dump them in a freezer resealable bag. You now take out as many cubes as you need and your baby is eating fresh baby food that you prepared with your own hands with no preservatives or added salt. One more thing your baby will love is yogurt (store brand - not fancy fruit on the bottom either) and baby cereal.
Heather(still home full time with four kids) in FL

Ask for Samples

Try some other formula brands, check with your doctor if your baby has a lactose or milk allergy condition if you are not sure what she will tolerate. Ask your doctor if he has any free samples each time you visit. The formula reps are usually the force behind a doctor recommending an all-purpose formula, and they bring lots of samples in, too.

Check all the discount stores, like Wal-Mart and Target, and check each store if there are several in your area, some stores are able to set their own prices on some items, so they may entice you in with a cheap formula price but have the diapers priced a little higher.
Beth P.

Three-Pronged Approach

I also spend a lot of money on formula. Some of the ways I have found to save are:

  1. Always buy the powdered cans. It is the cheapest and you can prepare as small or large quantity as you want.
  2. Call the various consignment shops in your area. Many people consign unused formula after their child doesn't need it any more.
  3. Call the formula manufacturer and ask about their coupon program or for free samples. They will usually send you two cans.

Barbara, mom of Nathan, age 3

Homemade Baby Wipes

When my youngest was a baby, a friend gave me the "recipe" to make my own wipes. I used it for over two years. It was wonderful! First, it has to be "Bounty" paper towels (or if not in the U.S., another top-shelf brand). Others just shred.

Use a serrated knife or coping saw (my husband was a carpenter) to cut the roll of paper towels in half. You'll also need a container-- I had a leftover "large-size" store-bought wipes container (the kind that comes in a roll) that had a hole in the lid. I've heard there is a Tupperware container that's about the same size, you'd just have to lift the lid each time.

After you cut the paper towels in half, put one-half aside for the next batch. In the container, mix 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon Johnson's Baby Oil, and 1 tablespoon Johnson's Baby Shampoo (I tried cheaper brands, and they'll mold before you go through the wipes). Stir the liquid mixture well, then place the half-roll of paper towels in the container. Put the lid on, and shake a few times to saturate the towels. Lift the lid and pull the first "wipe" from the middle. They should tear off easily after that. These cost about 50 cents a batch, as opposed to $2.00+ for store bought brands.

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