Friday, February 26, 2010

Affording Consumables

With a new baby, even for the most advertisement susceptible yuppies, the biggest expense will probably not be the Eddie Bauer Crib, the new child-friendly car, or the 'green' shabby-chic decorated nursery. Even families that spend thousands of dollars on 'wants' for their new bundle of joy will wind up spending even more on the necessities: diapers and baby food (formula, cereals, etc). So for those of us who have no choice but to buy our cribs from consignment sales, decorate the nursery with hand-cut construction paper silhouettes, and sometimes share our bedrooom with the nursery while we bunk at our parents' or in-laws' place, the task of paying for all those consumables can seem daunting. Here are some freebies and tips for making the the bite easier to bear.

Every baby uses diapers. You can get away without formula if you have the luxury of being able to nurse all the time, and you can extend your baby's cereal-less months from 3 to 6, but diapers are a must. If you want to buy the name-brand (Huggies, Pampers, Luvs), ALWAYS use a coupon. You should never pay full price for name-brand anything. There is usually at least one in the ad insert of the Sunday paper. If you opt for store-brand, I personally prefer Kroger, but experiment and find which one gives you the least trouble and the fewest leaks. Not all diapers are made equal.
Sign up for Enjoy the Ride Rewards-- Enter a rewards code whenever you buy Huggies, earn codes for taking surveys, and redeem codes for diapers, lullaby downloads, gift cards, etc.
Free Huggies Pure&Natural

Many, perhaps even most, mothers start out planning on breast-feeding, but are forced to at least supplement with formula due to pain, work schedules, etc. Even if you must go back to work after 6 weeks, you can attempt to keep your formula costs at a minimum by continuing to nurse at night. Most doctors insist that store brands are not as nutritious and are more difficult to digest than the name brands (Similac and Enfamil), so be sure to ask for lots of samples. Ask for samples WHENEVER you see a doctor: At ultrasounds and prenatal appointments, at the hospital after delivery, at the 2-week checkup, at your 6 month OBGYN checkup, at the 4-month checkup... Every time you see a doctor, do not walk away without a sample can of formula.
The Strong Moms Website: sign up and get free samples of Similac formula, as well as $5 checks for the purchase of formula (these will roll in and you will NEVER have to pay full price for formula)
Free Parent's Choice Formula (Gentle)-- Yeah I know, it's not name brand, it's the cheap kind. But it's free.
Free Parent's Choice Formula (Milk-Based)
Free Member's Mark Formula
Coupons for formula, etc from Gerber (About once a month they'll send you a packet with parenting information, 4 checks for $2 to $12 off formula, and coupons for either pacifiers, bottles, nursing pads, baby food, baby spoons, juice, cereal, etc, depending on the age of your baby)

Baby Food
You may feel like starting your baby on solids as soon as possible to reduce the cost of formula, but studies show that waiting until your baby is at least 4 months old, and feeding only iron-enriched rice cereal until the baby is at least 6 months old, greatly reduced the chances of him or her developing allergies, obesity, and gastrointestinal distress later in life. Once your baby is on veggies and fruits, you can use a food processor or blender to make your own baby food, but until then, stick with the rice and oat cereal specifically designed for babies!

Free baby food starter kit from Beech-Nut (includes cereal and jars of baby food-- I just got mine!)
Free next steps baby food from Beech-Nut
Coupon for $1 off Beech-Nut cereals (just click print)
Coupon for $1 off Beech-Nut Baby Food (just click print)

Also, if you are having ANY trouble affording things for your baby at all, check out WIC and see if you qualify. The program, called Women, Infants, and Children, helps middle- to lower-class mothers pay for food for themselves and their infants and children. It can be a HUGE help with helping you and your bundle of joy to meet your nutritional needs, and it is open to a wide strata of income classes, so even if you DON'T qualify for food stamps or other government aid, you may still qualify for WIC. Check it out!