Having a baby can be a very expensive endeavor, but the good news is that there are many free items available for new parents and their babies.
Here are some ways to get free baby stuff:
- Ask your obstetrician for samples. Your OB/GYN office has lots of giveaways from baby product manufacturers. If they don't automatically give them to you, ask for them. From free subscriptions to parenting magazines to diaper and baby cream samples, your doctor's office should be able to give you a goody bag filed with all sorts of helpful items. In addition, most hospitals give new parents a bag full of baby products to take home. These bags are sponsored by companies like Similac and Enfamil and can contain formula, diapers, diaper rash cream samples, insulated packs to keep bottles cold, baby bath soap, rattles and coupons for other free items.
- Fill out forms offering free baby stuff. Parenting and pregnancy magazines are filled with these offers. Even if you are planning to breastfeed, go ahead and fill in those free formula offers. Around your baby's due date, you will get a package from the formula company with samples. Formula lasts a very long time, so check the expiration dates. Even if you breastfeed your baby, you can use formula as a supplement and also use it to make baby cereal when the time comes. In addition, make sure the diaper companies know your due date so they can try to sway you to their products by sending you samples. Free subscriptions to Baby Talk Magazine, which are readily available in most of the pregnancy magazines, will get you through baby's first year.
- Check your mailbox for coupons. Once news of your due date gets out there, you will get offers from portrait studios, diaper companies, baby care books, etc. Don't dismiss these as junk mail -- take the time to look through the offers that you receive! The popular photography studio The Picture People, for example, routinely sends out free portrait offers for parents of newborns.
- Visit websites of baby-friendly companies. There is strong competition among the manufacturers of baby products, so visit as many websites as you can to sign up for free products. For example, sign up at Pampers.com to take advantage of their offers -- and save the reward points on the diaper packages to redeem them for a wide variety of free merchandise for your baby. Join Enfamil's Family Beginnings Club (www.enfamil.com) and get free stuff before and after baby arrives, including a diaper bag filled with formula, a sippy cup and other samples. Other websites that are chock full of giveaways include americanbaby.com and beech-nut.com, where you can get a baby bib among other items. And don't forget about mom -- Ensure's Healthy Moms program will send new mommies a Healthy Mom's Shake and two snack bars.
- Always be on the lookout. Finally, don't forget to look in unexpected places for free items for your baby. Many grocery store bakeries, for example, will offer you a complimentary cake upon your baby's first birthday -- all you have to do is ask for it!