baby formula en-US 10 Newborn Costs That Took Me by Surprise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-newborn-costs-that-took-me-by-surprise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="baby" title="baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you&rsquo;re expecting a little bundle of joy, there are a myriad of costs that you know to expect. Diapers, for one. There are the things that you choose to go without &mdash; a wipe warmer, for example. And then there are the costs that you don&rsquo;t see coming. (See also: <a href="">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a>)</p> <p>Here are some potential needs to budget for when your little one arrives.</p> <h2>1. Extra Special Delivery</h2> <p>Literally nothing went the way I thought it would the day my daughter was delivered. Oh, sure, we had a birth plan all written out, but when it came time for her to make her grand entrance, well, she had other ideas. After 21 hours, I finally ended up in the operating room, having a C-section at 3:00 a.m.</p> <p>I haven&rsquo;t even started seeing the majority of the bills from my actual pregnancy (such is the lag time with our insurance company), but given how stingy our insurance is, my guess is that our three-day stay in the hospital is going to cost a pretty penny.</p> <p>Of course, one never knows how childbirth is going to go, so don't let the possibility of an emergency C-section stress you out as you prepare to deliver.</p> <h2>2. Extra Medications</h2> <p>You might have been planning on a natural delivery and ended up with something less than ideal. Although insurance may cover most of the cost of your pain meds, be prepared to pay a copay for whatever prescription your doctor sends you home with. If you are suffering from post-partum depression, you&rsquo;ll need to carefully take all medications prescribed to you.</p> <p>The benefit of extra meds is that if you don't take them, you can always sell them on the black market.</p> <p>I'm kidding, don't do that. But seriously, what am I going to do with this Percocet?</p> <h2>3. Towels, Blankets, and Linens</h2> <p>&quot;The Hitchhiker&rsquo;s Guide to the Galaxy&quot; covered this pretty well &mdash; never go anywhere without a towel. Or, in the case of caring for a newborn infant, hundreds of towels.</p> <p>I stocked up on a couple dozen plain white hand towels from Costco a couple of weeks before giving birth, more or less on a whim, suspecting that they might come in handy. After her birth I found that I had to nearly quadruple my stock of hand towels and receiving blankets, because we go through at least a dozen of them per day. Newborns are notorious for spitting up, and our daughter is no exception. This isn't a huge cost, probably less than $100, but I sure didn't see it coming.</p> <h2>4. Guests</h2> <p>You may be one of the lucky people who have dozens of friends and neighbors delivering homemade meals to help you through the first few weeks of parenthood. Or you might not know anyone who lives near you and have to provide for yourself. If you planned ahead and <a href="">froze a few dozen casseroles</a>, congratulations on being so organized! If you&rsquo;re like me, and you bought approximately a week&rsquo;s worth of food, you may find yourself ordering out more than you initially planned.</p> <p>Add to this the cost of feeding grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else who might be staying with you during your infant inauguration, and you can see grocery bills easily double. This increased cost is most likely offset by the savings in childcare (since you&rsquo;ll have all that in-home help), but it can still strain the wallet.</p> <h2>5. Gas, Water, and Sewer Bills</h2> <p>Babies love to expel things from every part of their bodies. This is pretty much all a baby needs to do to qualify as a baby. As such, you will find yourself doing billions of loads of laundry during the first week home with baby.</p> <p>Oh, and sterilizing bottles and nipples? You will run your dishwasher, and your kitchen sink, more than you ever thought possible.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re lucky enough to have friends or family staying with you to help out for the first few days or weeks of your baby&rsquo;s life, then you&rsquo;ll likely notice another uptick in the water/sewer, gas, and electricity bills.</p> <h2>6. Formula</h2> <p>I had personally planned on exclusively breastfeeding my daughter. We&rsquo;ve all heard about the <a href="">benefits of breastfeeding</a>, but unfortunately, no one informed my breasts of these benefits. As such, I&rsquo;ve been forced to feed my baby girl formula &mdash; which isn&rsquo;t cheap. We chose the same brand that our hospital used, and purchase the pre-mixed, ready-to-use servings as a convenience measure. This convenience costs us roughly $1.50 per feeding at the current rate.</p> <h2>7. Breastfeeding Accouterments</h2> <p>Even if you don&rsquo;t have trouble producing breast milk, breastfeeding isn&rsquo;t always easy. Many new mothers find that they have trouble getting their babies to latch properly. Finding a good feeding positing and location can also be tough. I had always assumed that breastfeeding would be as easy as holding a baby up to my boobs, but it turns out that it takes a lot of paraphernalia for some babies. Specialized pillows, nipples guards, creams and ointments to soothe sore breasts (some infants are really big chompers), nursing bras, and gel inserts all add up.</p> <p>If you, like me, are not able to produce much breast milk, you might find yourself shelling out big bucks to try to up your production levels. From fenugreek tablets ($1 per day) to prescription drugs like <span>metoclopramide</span> ($30 per month), getting the milk glands to cooperate can be pricey. Add to this the cost of renting a hospital-grade breast pump ($95 per month at my local women&rsquo;s clinic), and the costs can really add up.</p> <h2>8. Everything You Scoffed at BEFORE Baby Arrived</h2> <p>I tried desperately to keep my <a href="">baby supplies</a> to a minimum. I purchased all baby clothes used, in lots, from eBay, getting a full year&rsquo;s wardrobe for less than $100. My husband and I did spend some serious dough on a good car seat and stroller (the kind that lasts up to three years), and we bought an automatic baby swing that my mother refers to as a &ldquo;Baby Cadillac.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a great place to set the baby down when I&rsquo;m working but want to keep an eye on her and want her to stay asleep for a bit.</p> <p>And we bought diapers and wipes and receiving blankets, but we turned our nose up at things like a wipe warmer, unaware that our daughter would shriek like a deranged banshee the moment a room-temp wipe touched her delicate little tush. Slowly warming the wipes in my hands is a bit time-consuming, and watching my baby howl while her teeth chatter is disheartening. Besides, a wipe warmer costs, like, $20.</p> <p>So, I cracked. I bought a wipe warmer. And diaper changes are as pleasant as can be now.</p> <h2>9. Hired Help</h2> <p>You may have pictured your first few weeks as a new parent passing by in a blissful haze of baby kisses and warm snuggles. But sometime around the fifth day of baby, it may dawn on you that you have about seven million errands to run.</p> <p>People will often tell you that attending to your newborn is the most important task and that &ldquo;everything else can wait.&rdquo; Let the dishes pile up in the sink!, they say. Let the laundry go undone, they tell you. The problem with this advice is that you can&rsquo;t really clothe your baby if you don&rsquo;t do laundry. It&rsquo;s hard to swaddle your newborn if all of her blankets are covered in baby barf at the bottom of the laundry pile.</p> <p>There are some tasks that need doing. And if you don&rsquo;t have help from friends and family during the first few weeks, you may find that you need to outsource the tasks to a professional. Whether it&rsquo;s hiring a house cleaner for a couple of hours per week, hiring a gopher for errands, or paying a professional babysitter to watch your baby while you run around town getting your meds, food, and pet supplies, extra help can be a lifesaver &mdash; <em>and</em> a significant cost.</p> <h2>10. Health Insurance</h2> <p>Insuring a dependent can vary from reasonable to outrageous in today&rsquo;s America. My husband&rsquo;s company offers a healthcare plan that covers dependents, but the premiums are much more than I was expecting, and they seem to go up every year. Check with your employer (or, if self-employed, shop around!) to see what kind of coverage both parents have before deciding on a plan.</p> <p><em>Wise Bread readers, what costs shocked you as a new parent?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">McMansion to McCottage: Why Smaller Houses Are Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Frugal Fall Decoration Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Prevent Plant Theft</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Lifestyle baby formula child expenses newborn Fri, 30 Nov 2012 11:00:36 +0000 Andrea Karim 955728 at Why there's no reason NOT to buy store brand baby formula. <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-theres-no-reason-not-to-buy-store-brand-baby-formula" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="baby feeding" title="baby feeding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There’s nothing like starting an article with a double negative is there? Sorry, but it was the easiest way to get my point across. As a father of a 3-year old and a soon to be 1-year old, I’ve suffered the guilt of buying formula that wasn’t name brand. When money was short, we had no choice. But why the guilt? Is it so bad? In short, no. It’s almost exactly the same and it’s half the price. </p> <p>So, what’s the deal? Why the huge price difference and why the guilt-trips? Well, to answer that I’d have to go back around 4 years to when my wife and I first discovered we were pregnant. The second you realize you’re responsible for a life, you start to do the responsible thing. You shop around for the best crib you can afford, decorate the nursery, invest in all kinds of gadgets and gizmos and become a walking cliché for the phrase “nothing’s too good for our baby.” </p> <p>And that’s what lies at the heart of this issue. There’s a reason Babies R Us is growing so fast, and why the baby business is a multi-billion dollar industry. New parents, even old parents, feel that money should really be no object when it comes to a child. After all, how could you even think of pinching pennies when it comes to the life of your most precious addition?</p> <p>I could go through all of the ways the moguls at big corporations factor guilt into every ad campaign and safety study, but I’m sure you know most of them already. But when it comes to infant formula, one of the biggest guilt trips of all is the purchase of store brand formula. You may as well be feeding your baby beer and yesterday’s garbage, the looks you get from people in the supermarket queue are the same. </p> <p>Well, I’m here to say once and for all that there is nothing wrong with store brand formula, and I say this as an ashamed parent who has been buying name brand for over three years. Yes, name brand. The expensive stuff. After my wife stopped breast-feeding with each baby, around the 8-month mark, we have thrown away hundreds and hundreds of dollars buying name brand formula. That was money that could have gone towards all number of things for our babies...and why? To avoid looking and feeling bad, and to feel great knowing we were doing the best for our kids. But no more. It stops today, for today I did my research and found out the truth behind the infant formula cover-up. Let’s start with the most important point.</p> <p><strong>EVERY can of baby formula must meet FDA regulations. </strong><br />It’s called the <a href="">Infant Formula Act</a> . It basically means that the “safety and nutritional quality of infant formulas are ensured by requiring that manufacturers follow specific procedures in manufacturing infant formulas.” In short, whether you buy Enfamil or Target brand, your baby is getting a product certified by the FDA as good and healthy for your baby. And as long as you buy a formula with iron, you’re fine. All you’re really paying for is a fancy label…and at an extra $13 a can, that’s one pricey label.<br /><strong><br />So what are the major differences?</strong><br />There aren’t any. The differences are very minor, and it all comes down to taste and texture. For instance, <strong>Enfamil Lipil</strong> provides a whey-to-casein ratio of 60:40, which is supposed to mimic breastmilk exactly. <strong>Similac Advance</strong> contains no palm olein oil, which supposedly “promotes increased calcium absorption and greater bone mineralization.” And the one my family used (until today) was <strong>Nestle Good Start Supreme</strong>. It contains 100% whey and partially hydrolyzed &#39;comfort proteins&#39;; these little proteins make the milk easier to digest and help with reflux, something from which both our girls suffered. </p> <p>As for store brands, well, their formulas are almost identical. It’s hard to know for sure what they leave out or put in, you need to do a side-by-side comparison on the labels to see which name brand formula they are mimicking. And almost all of them are made by one company – Wyeth. You can check them <a href="">out here.</a> I also saw another company crop up quite a lot in my research. They’re called <a href="">PBM products. </a>Both companies supply infant formula to all the major supermarket chains, and they make a quality product. </p> <p><a href=""></a> <strong>But my pediatrician offers the name brand formula. Why?</strong><br />Money. Pediatricians are hit by a barrage of marketing campaigns, samples and kick-backs in order to ‘give away’ samples of name brand formulas. When we left the hospital the nurse offered us one of two bags filled with formula samples, gifts and coupons. One was by Enfamil, the other Similac. No surprise there, they’re the two leaders of the formula world and can afford to dazzle you with free gifts and coupons in the first few months of your baby’s life. These coupons soon dry up though, and you’re faced with paying over $26 for a can of formula that is being sold next to store brand formula that costs half that price. </p> <p>One thing I have learned is consistency. Whatever you choose, when you find one that works you should stick with it. It’s better on you baby’s digestion. But if you happen to stick with Target or Safeway formula, do it with your head held high and feel the power of being an informed consumer. You’re doing good by your baby and saving money for the future. Now, does that sound like something anyone needs to feel guilty about?</p> <p><strong>Further reading </strong></p> <p><a href=""> </a> </p> <p><a href=""></a> </p> <p><a href=""></a> </p> <p><a href=""></a> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Flashback Friday: 104 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">4 Starbucks Drinks You Can Easily Make Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">12 No-Bake Holiday Treats That Won&#039;t Bust Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">25 Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Food and Drink baby formula Enfamil infant formula Nestle Similac store brand supermarket target Tue, 25 Sep 2007 04:17:36 +0000 Paul Michael 1204 at