By Michelle Chapman, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Feeding a newborn can cost very little if you nurse, but the tab quickly rises if you ever use formula and it spirals as the child gets older and you start buying baby food.
Here's how parents can minimize the cost of feeding a baby — and get to work on her college fund instead.
THE EARLY MONTHS
Even breast-feeding costs money, especially when the mother needs to pump and store milk. Electric breast pumps run $45 to $300 or more; manual pumps cost $35 to $45. Other accessories — special bras, nursing pads, a nursing pillow and storage containers — can cost more than $200 in all. Spread over a year, that top cost of $500 for a pump and accessories amounts to less than $10 a week.
How to Save: If you choose to nurse, you can save by buying specialized equipment second hand through parents groups or by borrowing it from friends.
If you choose formula, powder is the best deal, even if made with filtered water as some experts recommend. A 24-ounce can of name-brand powder makes about 170 ounces of liquid and costs about $25. That's about $20 a week to start, with the cost rising as the baby grows and eats more. The same volume of liquid formula typically costs $40-plus, or almost $30 a week to start.
To save further, register at formula makers' websites to score free samples and coupons. Once you know which formula works best for you, check parent chat boards to swap coupons.
Also try store-brand powder from Babies R Us, Target Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers, for $15 to $20 a can. Remember that it is held to the same rigorous federal standards as its name-brand counterparts.