Monday, April 2, 2012

Pregnancy Insights: Offers to sign up for

This one is for the pregos, the will-be pregos, and perhaps the just-had-a-baby-and-are-no-longer pregos, but especially for the formula feeders. And if you're neither, feel free to share this with someone who is!

Maybe you've heard of this, but have you signed up for the formula coupons from Enfamil, Similac, and Nestle?

Breastfeeders - WAIT. Don't stop reading. This is for you, too. You may be fully planning on or currently breastfeeding but I beg of you to read this anyway and sign up for these offers! Because you may be planning on breastfeeding, but your boobs or your baby may NOT be, or your boobs or baby may crap out on the breastfeeding.... More on that in a minute.

So there are these deals out there through the three "big" formula companies in which you sign up for free on their website, and they send you these groups of money-saving coupons on their formula. And not like, save a dollar - like, save five or more dollars. And they send them to you for a year! Plus some other freebies, including these diaper bags that have samples and things in them that you get from the hospital when you have your baby. However, the hospitals in my area are breastfeeding Nazis super pro-breastfeeding and refuse to allow the formula companies to leave their bags at the hospitals, so they were not available in the hospitals where I live, but my obstetrician's and pediatrician's office had some on hand and gave me a couple over the years.

And they also send you these other coupons to get free formula samples from your baby's doctor - assuming your baby's doctor works in one of the offices that the formula reps stock with the samples. 

Now, I breastfed the boys for a year. Well, Brandon for 9 months - then my milk ducts suddenly shriveled up and died for some reason. But with all 3 of the boys, at about 4 months, my  supply started dropping off like dead flies. So whether I wanted to or not (I actually didn't care), I had to start supplementing with formula or my baby was going to starve. And I was not about to do the donated breast milk thing. So I can't tell you how grateful I was to have those coupons. I used them to buy the "convenience" formula, too, like the ready-to-feed (RTF) cans and even better, the ready-to-feed to-go bottles that you just pop a nipple on and you're good to go. I kept those in the diaper bag and loved every one of them. Say you're in the middle of the store and your baby starts shrieking to eat, grab a RTF bottle and stuff it in their mouth. Boom. And if you're thinking to yourself, "well, gee, Elizabeth [if you even knew my name] why didn't you just plan the feeding around the trip to the store?" 


Not everything is predictable, least of all BABIES. Or sometimes, most of the time, things take longer than they are supposed to. And then you find yourself in the grocery store with a screaming kid, no place of dignity to breastfeed or no milk in the tatas for it, and no pre-made bottle because you weren't expecting this to happen, what's a mom to do?

Ready-to-feed individual bottles in the diaper bag at all times. Best. Thing. Ever.

So do yourself a favor and just register. If you never use the coupons, then fine, you just toss them. No big deal. But at least you had them just in case. It's a piece of mind thing. I mean, what if baby never latches? What if your boobs don't make milk, or enough milk? What if your boobs or baby go on strike after a few months? What if you decide that breastfeeding just isn't for you? I'm not trying to scare anyone, I'm just pointing out that things can go awry, and have for millions of moms. And formula is expensive. 

Here are the links to the three:

They usually send you a sample can of formula in the mail, too.

They usually send a sample can or two of formula in the mail, also. And one time, we got randomly enrolled in their "special" gold club, and we got coupons for $10 and $15 off formula, PLUS coupons for free tubs of formula, plus other free deals from like, Shutterfly or somewhere. It was AWESOME. Maybe you'll win the Similac lottery, too!

Gerber also sends you coupons for their baby food/snacks/juice later on, too.

A couple of things:

The coupons are in check format, meaning that they are literally like a check made out to you to use at any retailer. So some store checkers will ask for your i.d.! And nobody but you is supposed to use them. And some checkers will have no idea how to process them, which means you have to wait while they call their manager and figure it out. It's really just a coupon and is supposed to be used as such, but they don't know that half the time.

It may take a couple of months for you to get into the system and the coupons to start arriving in the mail.

Register at all three because you never know if your baby is going to prefer a certain brand, and it also gives you more choice.

Costco's Kirkland brand formula is the best deal out there. Or at least it was a year ago. Something tells me that hasn't changed.

If you buy the RTF to-go bottles, check out eBay for some disposable nipples, like these:

Keep those in the diaper bag with the bottles and you are SET. Just be aware that when you search for "disposable nipples" on eBay, you'll also get results for nipple petals, with photos of slender half-naked model-like women with glittery pasties on their otherwise naked, very perky breasts that are resting atop firm, flat stomachs. Which, when you're pregnant or you've just had a baby, makes you feel super awesome. Ignore them, and focus on the other nipples. And slap your husband when he offers to "shop" for them for you.

Join in the fun on Facebook and Twitter!


  1. I got Enfamil checks for $9.50! Crazy, but then the price of formula is nuts, so….

    I’m still going strong on the BF’ing (H is now 4 months old as of Friday). I am hoping like hell that my supply doesn’t drop, or that it dries up. Simply because I LOVE the convenience of not having to warm up bottles. *And I’m cheap*. I can definitely see the benefit of the RTF bottles though.

    I signed up for the all three of those sites when I was pregnant. Make sure you check the expiry dates on the cans though. I didn’t need the formula before it expired, but I was able to donate them to a friend who could.

    Why would you not do donated milk? Just curious (I’m a donor ).

    1. $9.50 is AWESOME! Yeah, I'm cheap, too, and the price of formula was a huge motivator to keep breastfeeding! Plus, I believe in it. And I liked the convenience of it, too... once all the "kinks" got worked out.

      The donated milk thing is just not something I've been able to get on board with. I totally get that it's screened and pasteurized and considered totally safe, but I just don't think that it's so critical that I would put another person's body fluid in my child, especially when there is a perfectly safe alternative that millions of babies have survived off of. And yes, I know that I put animal body fluid in my kids...what's the difference... I get it! Like I said, I believe in breastfeeding and breast milk, but am not so gung-ho about it that I am opposed to formula. But to each their own. I'm sure the moms who receive your milk are grateful!

      I produced so much milk in the first couple of months with each child that the lactation consultants asked me to donate. But I instead just froze it and used it later, when my supply dropped off. I had nearly 2 freezer doors full of stored milk! I hope your supply stays up. There are things you can do to keep it up if you notice it dropping off, but none of them worked for me, at least not long-term.

    2. I don't think I'd use someone's donated milk either if my child wasn't a preemie and still in hospital and needed the extra kick they get from breastmilk. I never thought of the animal body fluid aspect... lol. I like to tell myself that my milk is used ONLY for preemies for whom it is critical (yes, I just used the word "whom". I need to be shot at dawn).

      I have so much frozen milk in my freezer too. It's ridiculous. I think of it as insurance. It means I'm less stressed when I have low pump day (Mondays are not great after BFing all weekend) because I know I have back up.

      I've been taking fenugreek and drinking the most foul tea known to woman to "support" my supply.

      What are the things that you tried?

    3. No one should ever be shot for using proper grammar!! :))

      Yeah, the preemie thing is perhaps the exception for me, but thankfully I never had to worry about it. Almost did with the 2nd - almost had him at 31 weeks but they were able to stop the labor for 6 more weeks, thankfully. But my boobs would have been up to the task of feeding him via the breast pump, no doubt!

      Anyway... the fenugreek is one thing I tried and it made me sick as hell AND gave me "intestinal issues"... I think you can figure that one out! AND THEN, it didn't even up my supply. Bastards.
      I did the whole drink some beer (good, heavy hopped beer) and that would only work for like, the next morning. I'd be way fuller, but by afternoon, I'd be back down. Not that I was opposed to drinking beer all day long to keep up that supply, but you know, the practicality of that isn't quite there. Plus, I didn't want to put on beer pounds. ;-)
      I did the extra pumping and extra nursing in an effort to "tell" my boobs that more milk was needed, and they either wouldn't get the memo or only played along for a day, then crapped back out.
      I've heard that eating oatmeal regularly helps, but I never tried it.
      I think that's it... if I think of anything else I add them!

  2. Also, since the formula checks are "checks", I've paired coupons with them and received extra savings. I've had to tell a few cashiers in my day to process the checks as "rebate checks" (at Target they need to press K4...sad that I know that.) Another cool thing is, and I've done this with 2 kids, is if my child 'likes' one formula but not another, swap the free formula/checks on craigslist for ones you use with another mom. I'm all for breastfeeding too - I'm on my 4th infant and still going strong, but I choose to pump and save, and also supplement with formula. It helps me get out of the house for more than 1 hour at a time.

    1. That is AWESOME that you know the code for the Target registers! I love it! And that's a great idea to pair the other coupons, way to go - that's my kind of mom! :)

      Good idea, too, to do the craigslist swap!

      Oh, yeah, the freedom that came from supplementing, or packing my pump with me while babysitter bottle-fed was amazing. I am going to do a series on breastfeeding and pumping so you may see this again down the road, but I had the double-electric pump with the battery pack and have even pumped in a moving vehicle (someone else was driving and it was nighttime) while my mom watched the kids! It was worth it for a night out. That pump was a godsend.

  3. I didn't even sign up for then and received coupons and samples in mail. I held on to samples (just incase) and then donated to church once we knew we didn't need. still have some as my son is only 8mon.

    So my dad herded goats when he was a boy, wait stay worth me, and he told me they would give the goats garbanzo beans in order for them to produce more milk. I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous but when ever I have hummus or chickpea soup I honestly get an oz or 2 more. only lasts for next pump but better for me an baby than beer.

    1. That is an AWESOME tip, Vanessa! Thank you for sharing it, and I'm going to share it on the Facebook page as a tip of the week tomorrow. I know lots of moms who are looking for any help for their milk supply. Thank you!

  4. I'll thank my dad :) he'll get a kick out of it. I've been reading ur blog and responding on my phone and the auto correct spelling feature is killing me! I can actually write coherently, I swear

  5. I'm currently a cashier at Walgreens (for the third time in my life). Those formula checks do freak cashiers out. Nobody knows what to do with them. The thing is, they're supposed to be processed like any other check (at least at walgreens, they are). We process them by entering the amount of the check, placing it into the check reader and pressing the check button. Then the remaining balance is to be paid however the customer is paying for the rest of their items.


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