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Mar 032013
 March 3, 2013  Posted by  Family, Hot Deals, Kids

Of course, for new babies, breast is best (and free). But if you want or need to use infant formula, go with the store brand.

Store-brand infant formulas, labeled with the names of retail-store brands such as Target (Up & Up), Walmart (Parent’s Choice), CVS, Babies R Us, Sam’s Club (Simply Right), Kroger (Comforts), Toys R Us (Babies R Us), and Walgreen’s (W), are as nutritionally complete as national brand formulas, yet cost roughly 50% less, which can add up to a savings of $1,000 or more per year if you formula-feed your baby without supplementing with breast milk.

Infant formula is regulated, so by law, store-brand infant formula has to be as good for your baby as the national brand. According to the Infant Formula Act of 1980, an amendment to the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, all formula sold in the United States must meet the same nutrient specifications set at levels to fulfill the needs of infants. Although infant-formula manufacturers may have their own proprietary formulations, brand-name and store-brand formula must contain at least the minimum levels of all nutrients specified in FDA regulations, without exceeding maximum levels, where those are specified. The Infant Formula Act essentially standardized the nutritional content of all infant formula. Skeptical? Compare nutrition information labels of brand-name and store-brand infant formula and see for yourself.

Store-brand formula is less expensive because the manufacturer doesn’t spend nearly as much on marketing as national brands. For example, you won’t be given free samples of store-brand infant formula in the hospital after giving birth or in your obstetrician’s or pediatrician’s office. The cost of those free name-brand infant formula sample packs is ultimately passed along to formula-buying consumers who become brand loyal.

For every type of name-brand formula available, there’s a store-brand equivalent. If your baby starts out on brand-name formula because you’re using up freebie formula, don’t feel you have to be brand loyal for your baby’s sake. Go ahead and switch to store-brand formula. For more information, visit the Store Brand Formula website, which offers a $2 coupon for store-brand formula.

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Sandra Gordon

Sandra Gordon is the author of nine books, including Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products. Besides helping new parents gear up for less, Sandra blogs about shopping for ShopSmart magazine and writes about health and nutrition for major magazines and Websites, such as Parents, Arthritis Today, Self, Your Teen, and Vitality. Sandra grew up learning about saving money. Her Midwestern mom, a home-ec major, ran an efficient household, which included couponing, rebating, eating lots of leftovers and laundering Ziploc bags to reuse them. Sandra isn’t quite as frugal but she does have the good-deal gene.

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