I need help with food costs at home
If your baby is in neonatal care it can impact on your finances. You might be doing long days in hospital, or caring for other children or family members, and this can all impact on the time you have to shop for food and cook.
You might be finding you are having to buy food on the go a lot more which can often be expensive. Thinking about food costs can feel like an extra pressure.
Young Patients Family Fund
The Young Patients Family Fund is available if you normally live in Scotland and if you are the parent or carer of a baby in neonatal care. It can help with the costs of travel and food while your baby is in hospital.
You can make a claim as soon as your baby is admitted to the neonatal unit, and you can claim for costs from your time on the unit up to 3 months after your baby is discharged.
The fund is available for all families with anyone under 18 in hospital and has replaced the Neonatal Expenses Fund. You cannot claim for the cost of food under the Young Patients Family Fund if the hospital has provided meals free of charge or meal vouchers.
How can I save on money on food at home?
If you are finding yourself unable to shop or cook as normal, you might need a bit of extra support with food at home whilst your child is in hospital.
You might want to look into Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods which are payments provided by the Scottish government to help towards the costs of being pregnant or looking after a child. Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that can be used in shops or online to buy healthy foods like milk or fruit. Find out more on the mygov.scot website.
There are a few other options available, and what is suitable for you will depend on your personal circumstances. You might try easy to use meal plans that provide budget meals.
You may also be able to access support from a food bank, which are available in most areas. There is some more information available on food banks provided by the Trussell Trust below. The Trussell Trust manages lots of foodbanks across the country, but there are often other local providers, for example local churches or charities. You can ask any of the staff on the unit to help find out what is available.
You could sign up to Your Local Pantry if there is one close to you. This is a member-led community offering access to food you choose for a small monthly subscription, which could help you save money on food shopping. Find a pantry close to you and how to sign up on the Your Local Pantry website.
People you know might want to provide support for you while your baby is in hospital and it may be that you would be able to ask them to set up a meal train for you. A meal train is where people take turns to deliver meals to your family while your baby is in hospital so you don't have to think about food shopping, cooking and meal prep. You might want to ask a friend to organise this for you by using the Meal Train website.
Support might come from family members, friends or members of your community like your faith group. It's ok to ask for support like this - people often don't know what you need most and are grateful that you've given them something supportive and practical that they can do.
What you ask for help with from friends and family is up to you. It's very individual and personal so don't worry if this doesn't feel comfortable as an option for you.
Cooking on a budget
There are some useful websites with budget meals available on them which can help keep costs down.
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