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 newborn 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.
- The National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) partners with local diaper banks, donors, diaper programs, sponsors, and elected official throughout the United States to provide those in need with diapers.
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 newborn clothing and 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 free infant clothes and 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 with free newborn stuff. 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.
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 free newborn things 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 American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders provides an interactive state map for states requiring this coverage.
- 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.
Retailers Give Free Newborn Stuff for Registering
There are several retail websites that offer free newborn stuff when expectant mothers join the baby registry. You can sign up on multiple registries to receive free newborn things.
- Target baby registry: You receive a free welcome kit of free newborn stuff and stuff for mom valued at $100.
Walmart baby registry: You can receive a free welcome box from Walmart of baby essential products valued up to $40.
Amazon's baby registry: You receive a surprise box of free things for parents and free baby stuff that's valued up to $35.
Babylist baby registry: You receive their free Hello Baby Box that if filled with goodies for both you and the baby (undesignated value).
buybuyBaby registry: buybuyBaby offers (undesignated value) free samples, coupons, and a copy of their Baby Registry Guide. The big freebie comes after you register and when you refer other people who register. You'll receive $25 off your in-store purchase of $100 for each referral who registers. .
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.