Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Coupons, Baby Food, and a Milk Allergy

I sure hope you don't get tired of reading about my great finds with coupons! :) I posted recently about a great deal I found at Target which was partially due to the coupons I had in my coupon stash. While specific finds I post about aren't always going to be current, the point I want to make is the following: you really can save money with couponing. I wasn't convinced of this at first, but as I've collected my coupons I've proven myself wrong.

My recent shopping trip to Walmart was another example of how I was able to stock up because of some coupons I had in my stash. Here is what I got for a total of $10.17 (before coupons).
  • Beech-nut Multigrain Cereal - $1.72
  • Beech-nut Let's Grow Arrowroot cookies - $1.78
  • Beech-nut Let's Grow Banana cookies - $1.78
  • 2 Beech-nut Let's Grow Tummy Trays (Turkey Vegetable) - $1.72 x 2=$3.44
  • Beech-nut Cinnamon Raisin Granola Stage 3 Baby Food - $0.82
  • Beech-nut Whole Grain Cereal with Raspberries Stage 3 Baby Food - $0.63

I had two coupons for BOGO (buy one get one free) of the Let's Grow line of products. I also had a coupon for a FREE container of cereal (up to a $2.00 value) as well as a coupon for two FREE jars of baby food (up to $1.50 value). My coupons for these products totaled $6.61.
  • 2 BOGO of the Let's Grow products. I bought a total of 4 Let's Grow products so I got 2 of these items free -$1.72 x 2 = $3.44
  • 1 FREE container of cereal - $1.72
  • 2 FREE jars of baby food - $0.82+$0.63 = $1.45
So, my price for all seven of these items after coupons was $3.56 ($10.17-$6.61).

On a somewhat different topic (but not completely), we're pretty sure that Ella has at least a milk-protein intolerance (if not an allergy). Ella has been on formula for a long time (maybe someday I'll write about why I'm not nursing, but I won't bore you now). We tried many different types of formula . . . she spit up terribly on all of them. I started adding cereal to her bottles (because I had read that would minimize spitting up). We discovered she did best on soy, but she still spit up a lot. I discussed this with the pediatrician, and he suspected she was lactose intolerant because I'm slightly lactose intolerant and she did better on the soy formula. He also said he expected her spitting up problem to get better as she got older; after all, some babies just spit up a lot. Months went on, and Ella was still spitting up - A LOT. I was always covered in spit up and smelled like soy formula (which smells disgusting, by the way). I figured this spitting up was just normal, although the other babies around Ella's age didn't seem to have this same problem.

Then we introduced yogurt to Ella . . .she loved it, but the spitting up was 10x (ok, maybe only 5x) worse than before. We tried a few different times, confirming that the yogurt was the cause for the increase in spit up. I talked to the pediatrician at her next appointment, and, after describing the issue with the yogurt, he mentioned the possibility of a milk protein intolerance or allergy. He suggested we try different dairy products to see how she reacted to them. One day we noticed that Ella got a rash on her face where cheese had touched her face. We also noticed an increase in the spit up when she ate anything with milk in it, but this spit up was just above her "baseline" of spit up she always had. Then I read about Gerber cereals. And I read that Gerber cereals contain milk-protein even though it is not listed in any way on the ingredient list. We'd been adding Gerber cereal to Ella's bottle from a young age to help with the spit up problem. We stopped adding Gerber cereal to her bottle. Ella has virtually quit spitting up. She is like a completely different baby in that regard. Now, as she's trying all sorts of new table foods, I'm careful to pay attention to if something might have milk in it. Now, to tie this in to my post about the Beech-nut products . . .

This was my first time buying the Beech-nut brand of baby food products. I was really excited about purchasing them for Ella because I had read that they didn't have any type of milk protein hidden in their products (if it is in it, it is listed). We gave Ella the Beech-nut cereal at lunch today, and she didn't have any issues spitting up this afternoon. Tonight we gave her some of the cookies (I'm not sure which ones, my husband gave them to her), and the spit up came back in full force. :( I honestly don't know if the issue was with the cereal or the cookies (or possibly both). I suspect the cookies because of when she spit up, but I'm not sure.

This process has taught me something as a new mom: if something doesn't seem right with Ella, it probably isn't. I was really concerned with her spit up, but was told it was normal by the pediatrician. To his defense, I really don't think I was categorizing the spit up properly, but I didn't know at the time. What I've been calling spit up is probably more accurately described as throw up, but I honestly didn't realize it. Now I know . . .

(Side note: The price of jarred baby food is one of the reasons I chose to make Ella's baby food (well, most of the time!). Check out my blog about making her baby food.)

****Update**** My husband looked at the Arrowroot cookie box . . . below the ingredients, in red lettering no-less, it says it contains milk. I have no idea how I missed this before . . . I looked carefully (or so I thought) at the ingredients list in the store. Oh well, now I know! The banana cookies, however, did not contain milk and Ella loved them!