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Infant Formula: Why I Finally Gave into Generic Brands in Her 8th Month…

Okay, so I am now officially in the “frugal” mom category!

When she was first born, I swore I would not use any generic infant formula. Given the melanin scare last year in China it seemed a big risk. My work with a prominent infant formula brand overseas made me very nervous about this jump too. The ingredients inside generic infant formulas overseas are not apples-to-apples, varying a great deal from store to store, but here in the US, I wasn’t sure. For my daughter’s first six months, I didn’t dare try to question this. I was breast feeding and supplementing with infant formula. She was so fragile I felt in those first six months.

However, my daughter consumes now nearly 36 or so ounces a day of formula as an eight month old. Plus, she is – like her mommy – lactose-sensitive. The price of the branded formula tailored to this tummy issue is roughly $23 a 22 ounce powder can (22 ounce of powder makes a lot more than that of formula because you add 2 ounces of water to every scoop that is less than an ounce I believe, but math is not my forte). My favored infant formula brand really helps a lot with coupons. They really are very good at keeping me armed with savings opportunities. I’m very much a fan of theirs, but the cost was just getting to be too much with my 8 month old daughter’s consumption level.

With the blessing of my pediatrician father and my local pediatrician, I tried the generic formula from Target. She has had no problem with the transition — tummy or otherwise. It compares ingredient-to-ingredient with my favored brand. There really was no risk. I still held my breath for the first week. It just never was a problem. Savings are significant enough that I made the leap. $10 to $11 savings a can for which she goes through roughly 1-1/2 cans a week is $15 or so savings that compounds to nearly $50 added to our family budget for other important items every month.

She still does use my favored brand’s powder sticks (think Crystal Light like package that pours into filtered water – one pack equals 4 ounces of mixed formula). I love this!  It’s really been a life saver for traveling with her because I don’t need to bring a refrigerated pack and can leave the sticks inside her diaper bag for any time.

The generic infant formula powder was just $11.99 to $13 for a bigger can. Their version offers 25 ounces too. This is a full 2 ounces more than the branded formula for a $11 savings.

I feel for infant formula manufacturers. The trend for generic infant formula is blooming here in the US with big retailers like Babies R Us, Wal-Mart and Target, as well as grocery stores all putting their hat in the ring. I’d be educated about your choice in generic anything for your child by doing the apples-to-apples thing with ingredients and looking at each with your pediatrician’s advice. My feeling is that if a big retailer who I trust (e.g. Target) is behind this I will do my own due diligence, but will most likely try this out. The thing is — we need to keep her safe and healthy, but we also need to save for her college fund!

Guilty mom here, but I really had to go generic. It just seemed the smart choice — apples to apples!

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March 10, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. You shouldn’t feel badly for using store brand infant formula! We used Parent’s Choice (Walmart store brand), who is actually made by the same company who makes the Target store brand! PBM Products! I have twin girls, and when we were feeding them, it was so expensive! We went through a can every couple of days! We switched from Enfamil to the Parent’s Choice very soon after we ran out of the samples we brought home from the hospital. My girls thrived on their formula, and I didn’t worry about saving money… We ended up saving nearly $1400 over the year we used Parent’s Choice. That was amazing.
    I know alot of parents worry about using store brand infant formula, because they’re not sure about the nutritional content… Parents can rest easy because all infant formulas are made nutritionally equal. The FDA regulates all infant formula manufacturers… The only thing people are paying “extra” for in that name brand formula is the marketing efforts behind the brand name. It’s just like anything else out there… Market the heck out of it and pass the costs on to the consumers…
    Anyway… I guess my point is, don’t feel bad for switching! Honestly, if it works for you and your little one, it’s worth it!

    Comment by Monica | March 26, 2010 | Reply


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