If you're a new mom or are expecting a baby soon, you've probably experienced sticker shock at the cost of many of the baby items you will need for your little one. However, moms on a budget and those who really need financial help have a number of resources for getting baby things at no cost.
Finding Free Things for Your Newborn Baby
Free baby stuff is available from a variety of resources, including items for expectant mothers and newborn. Options include free samples, personal contacts, and government assistance programs for those who qualify.
Get Free Diapers
During the first few weeks and months at home, your newborn will go through nearly a dozen diapers each day. At upwards of 40 cents per diaper, you can see how the costs will add up. Fortunately, you have several resources for getting free diapers. Try one of these ideas:
- Register with the major diaper companies to receive free diaper samples in the mail. You'll want to submit your name and address to Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs.
- Talk to your doctor's office and the hospital. Clinics and medical facilities get free diapers from manufacturers, and often, they are happy to pass these free samples on to you.
- Contact Diaper Drive, an organization the helps moms in need get diapers for their little ones.
- Work with local food pantries to find out if they offer diapers. Many food pantries have begun stocking baby items.
Find Free Baby Clothing and Gear
From car seats to strollers and onesies to tiny socks, babies need a lot of gear and clothing. You can find great deals on secondhand clothing at thrift stores like Goodwill, but many of these stores don't accept donations of baby gear for fear of recalls. Whether you're expecting a boy or a girl, your best bet is to try one of these ideas when you're in search of freebies for your newborn:
- Talk to friends and family members who have recently had kids. Often, other moms will give you gently used baby items to use with your little one.
- Join the Freecycle Network to get free, used baby items in your area. You may have to travel a bit to pick items up, but you'll save a lot.
- Look on Craigslist for free baby items. Although this is a classified ad site, many people are willing to trade or give away baby gear they no longer use.
- Ask at your hospital about local charities that help families in need provide for the arrival of little ones. These local charities can help with everything from car seats to sleepers.
- Find out if there are any government-sponsored programs in your local area. For example, New York City has a Newborn Homes Visiting Program that provides free cribs to families in certain neighborhoods.
- Work with an organization like Peace. Love. Swap. to trade items for gently used baby gear. Also, ask about swaps organized by local moms' groups.
Find Formula at No Cost
Although doctors recommend breastfeeding your baby and it can save you a bundle when you compare costs, nursing isn't always the right choice for every family. If you need to feed your newborn formula, there are resources to help:
- Formula manufacturers Enfamil and Similac offers free formula samples, bottles, pacifiers, and even diaper bags. Register with the site to begin receiving freebies.
- Ask for free samples from the hospital and clinic. Although some hospitals have moved away from offering these freebies in an effort to promote breastfeeding, many still do have samples in stock.
- If you have health insurance and your baby needs a special type of formula for health reasons, several states require insurance companies to pay for the product. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a full list.
- If your family is in need, you may qualify under the USDA Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program for low-income families. Under this program, you can receive assistance in providing for your little one's dietary needs.
Focus on Your New Arrival
Having a baby can be expensive and overwhelming, but there are a number of resources out there that can help. Whether your family is in need or you're simply stretching your budget to accommodate a new baby, getting a few free items will give you the peace of mind you need to focus on your new arrival.