Your New Baby – 9 Ways to Save Money on Newborns
Suppose it’s child #1, the most perfect baby in the world. Of course you buy the very best for your newborn – brand name diapers, scientifically designed baby bottles, professionally done pictures. Of course you take your precious bundle of joy to the doctor for every sniffle, every hiccup, every imperfection.
Now suppose it’s child #9. You buy generic diapers, generic medicine, generic beans. Your child is lucky to have a snapshot on your cell phone – if it’s not broken. You’re an expert on saving money on child care – and could probably write today’s entry yourself.
Save money starting with child #1 with the following tips:
1. Diaper rash. Prevention is the key. Keep your baby dry. Prolonged contact with urine or feces can cause a chemical irritation or burn. Some children are more susceptible – use a thick layer of Desitin (zinc oxide) as a barrier cream. If your baby has taken an antibiotic and isn’t prone to recurrent diaper rashes, a yeast diaper rash is extremely likely, and can be treated with OTC Lotrimin or other anti-fungal cream for about $5. Only if the rash persists is a trip to the doctor necessary.
2. Cradle cap is a thick, waxy build-up of dead skin debris that occurs primarily on the scalp in the first several months life. Brushing the scales free with a baby brush and baby shampoo is often effective. If needed OTC Nizoral 1% medicated shampoo can be purchased for under $20. Only rarely would a trip to the doctor be necessary for this condition. If you’re a first time mother, ask an experienced relative or neighbor first.
3. Infant formula. Buy a store-brand for a 50% savings – up to $600 a year. All U.S. infant formula is mandated by the FDA to have the same nutrient density.
4. Vaccines. Government-run health facilities can purchase vaccines from the manufacturers for about 30% less than private doctors can. Go to your local health department to save at least $100 on baby shots the first year.
5. Well-child visits. Local health departments and WIC clinics often provide this service for free. Call and ask! Save hundreds of dollars on office visits.
6. WIC. This program for Women, Infants, and Children provides free food for at-risk mothers, infants, and children up to age 4. Monthly packages include milk, juice, eggs, bread, cereal and peanut butter.
7. Breast-feeding. It’s better for your baby; it’s better for you. Just think – every calorie your baby eats, is a calorie you lose! Choose breast-feeding and save $1000. WIC has a special breast-feeding promotion as well. Check out their website at:
8. Colds. If a baby under 4 months gets the sniffles, a visit to your doctor is a good idea. For older babies, treat at home or at least ask before scheduling an appointment – an office visit is rarely necessary. The average child, especially one in day care, can expect to have a cold every month or two! Save at least $100 a year by treating colds at home.
9. Baby acne. The best treatment is usually none at all! With time the condition will clear on its own. Creams and other treatments may irritate the skin or clog the pores. Just leave the skin alone and eventually the acne will fade away.
With the money you save hire a babysitter for a night out. Parents need a break, too, and you don’t want to spend your savings on a mental health professional!
Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, M.D.