Cutting Baby Formula Costs Safely

In this economic crisis, people are doing everything they can to save-sometimes with dire consequences. Consumer Reports says there are safe ways to save on infant formula.

Late last year, a Florida mother struggling to make ends meet diluted her baby's infant formula. The baby wound up on a ventilator and almost died.

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 Consumer Reports Sandra 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 $1500 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 Sandra Gordon.

A couple of other ways to save-powdered formula costs a lot less than the pre-mixed. 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.

Consumer Reports says if you're able to breastfeed your baby, that's the healthiest option. And, of course, it's also a big money-saver.

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