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Legit ways to get free baby items—from diapers to formula 🙌

Whether you're a minimalist or a maximalist, a first-time parent or not, your child will need some basic resources to thrive, and it's likely that you'll be the one paying. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average family will spend $233,610 to raise a child from birth to age 17.

Of course, every family has different priorities and resources, and your location is a major factor in determining costs. But, in general, the breakdown of expenses is as follows:

  • Housing is the largest portion (29%).
  • Food is the second largest (18%).
  • Childcare and education is third (16%), and that doesn't include paying for college.

The cost of raising a child will increase with your child's age, but children probably go through the most tangible resources (diapers, formula, clothing) in their first year of life.

The good news is that there are many ways to get necessities for free. From rewards programs to goodie bags to charitable organizations, it's likely you can find a way to get what you need without spending much money.

How to get free diapers

According to the National Diaper Bank Network, one in three families in the United States has a hard time affording diapers. Here are some resources for free diapers.

Eco by Naty

This company sends a free trial box of diapers. You must sign up as a customer at the online checkout.

Honest Company

This company will send you a one-time free sample pack of diapers and wipes, but the shipment will automatically sign you up for a monthly membership of diapers that you will need to pay for unless you cancel it.

To take advantage of the free trial, sign up online, but remember to cancel your membership before 7 days are up or else you'll be automatically charged for the next shipment.

Friends

Ask your friends if they have unused diapers in sizes that their child has grown out of. Babies grow so fast, it's common to have unfinished boxes of diapers in smaller sizes left behind.

Rewards programs

Pampers and Huggies reward customers with coupons. Sign up online and use a phone app to scan every item you buy to redeem points online. Points can be applied toward buying new diapers or other baby gear.

Giveaways

Follow diaper companies on social media to hear about free giveaways. Companies use this like advertising, and they hope that if you like their diapers, you will become a customer.

Hospital

You can count on being sent home with a few diapers after labor and delivery in a hospital. If you need more, ask.

Cloth diapers

Cloth diapers are washable and reusable so can be passed down from kid to kid. You may be able to find gently used cloth diapers on Craigslist or in a local parent Facebook group.

How to get free bottles

Registry welcome gift

Many stores give a welcome gift bag when you create a baby registry with them. These gifts often include at least one free bottle.

Surprise mailing

When you sign up for a store registry, it's common for the store to give your contact information to partner companies who will also send you free samples. Many moms receive free formula and baby bottles this way, though you can't exactly count on it.

Friends and parent groups

Ask friends if they have any bottles they aren't using. Whether their kid grew out of using a bottle, or it's a bottle their baby never would take, it's likely they have some they could easily give away.

How to get free formula

Samples

Many companies will send you free samples if you use the contact form on their website. Companies known for giving free samples include:

Rewards

Enfamil and Similac offer rewards to loyal customers. To qualify, you must sign up with the company online. Every purchase will turn into points that go toward earning free formula or other baby gear.

Doctor's office

Pediatric and OB-GYN offices often get free samples from companies to pass on to their new and expecting parents. Ask your doctors what they have when you visit.

Hospital

Many hospitals can also send you home with formula after you deliver your baby. Be sure to ask if it's free or if it will be added to your bill.

How to get a free breast pump

Every insured, expectant mother in the United States is entitled to a free breast pump, paid for by their health insurance company, thanks to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. This is how it usually works:

  1. Contact your health insurance provider to let them know you are pregnant and you would like to order a free breast pump.
  2. They will tell you when you qualify to purchase the pump (it may be within a few weeks before your due date).
  3. They will likely have your doctor write a reference.
  4. They will direct you to a medical supply company (likely online) where you sign in and order the pump.
  5. The pump will be mailed to you for free.

Is it safe to use a used breast pump?

Breast pumps are medical devices, and it's not recommended that you borrow a used one from a friend.

If you do decide to use a second-hand pump, be sure to fully sterilize the pump before use. You should also purchase replacement parts for the breast shields, tubes and pump valves.

How to get free clothing + gear

Parent groups

Many towns and neighborhoods have Facebook groups where you can connect with local parents and trade baby gear. Search on Google and Facebook for a group in your area.

If you're looking for something specific and don't see it listed, feel free to post that you're "in search of" said item.

Some neighborhood groups also organize "swaps" where people bring baby items they no longer need and take home any new-to-them items they find.

Coworkers

When your coworkers hear that you're expecting a baby, they might offer gently used items they have lying around. It's very common for baby items to get passed around, and people are usually more than happy to let go of something they don't need anymore.

If you're exceptionally close with your coworkers, you could even ask them directly if they have something specific that you're looking for.

Craigslist

This online forum allows direct communication from sellers to buyers for used items. Search listings daily since the quality items go fast.

Baby gift registry

A baby registry is your chance to share with family and friends what new items you've picked out for your baby.

If someone throws you a baby shower, you can share that you've registered at a certain store and people can either find your wish list online or they can print it up in the store.

Some registries (like Baby List or Amazon) are exclusively online and allow you to register for items from multiple stores.

If you have family in multiple cities or older relatives who are more comfortable shopping in a real store, stick with "big box" places like Target and Walmart that are easy to find.

How to get registry welcome gifts

Many stores will thank you for making a registry by giving you a goody bag of free items and coupons. Items may include free bottles and samples of soap, lotion, or diaper cream. They may also include pacifiers, wipes, and diapers.

The following stores are known to give welcome gifts:

Stores may also offer "completion discounts," meaning you get a percentage off the price of anything you buy from your own registry after you have a baby shower.

Budget blogs

The Penny Hoarder website has a list of baby items that you can receive for free and only pay shipping. Items include:

  • nursing cover
  • car seat cover
  • baby leggings
  • nursing pillow
  • baby sling
  • baby shoes

You can also search online for other budget blogs to follow for tips and giveaways.

Books

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library sends a free book every month to kids in qualifying areas. Check here to see if your town qualifies.

How to get a free car seat

It's not recommended that you use a second-hand or borrowed car seat since it may not be in the best shape. And this is one item you really want to be in perfect condition for your new baby.

Car seats expire, and they also become unusable if they've been in any accident. Since you don't know the history of a used car seat, it may be unsafe. So never accept a free car seat if it's previously used.

That said, car seats can be quite expensive. Rest assured that every car seat sold in the United States must meet safety standards, no matter how inexpensive they are.

The following organizations can help you get a free or discounted car seat if you need help:

Free resources for low-income families

Different organizations and government programs provide resources to low-income families. These include:

  • National Diaper Bank Network. This organization provides free diapers to families who cannot afford them
  • WIC. WIC is focused on the health of moms and kids. It provides food vouchers, nutrition support, and breastfeeding support for qualifying families.
  • Cribs for Kids. This organization teaches parents how to keep babies safe during sleep and provides free cribs and other baby gear for participating families.
  • Essential Community Services. Dial "211" in the United States to speak with Essential Community Services. They can help you navigate your needs from health to employment to supplies.

It's no secret that the cost of baby gear can quickly add up, but there are a lot of creative ways to find free samples, rewards, and hand-me-down items.

If you're overwhelmed, remember that babies only truly require a few basics to keep them safe, fed, and warm. Don't be afraid to ask you family, friends, and doctor for help. People can point you in the right direction, offer resources, and encourage you.

Originally posted on Healthline.

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

DEMI™ grow stroller
$799.95, Nuna

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2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

PIPA™ lite car seat
$349.95, Nuna

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3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

PIPA™ base
(included with purchase of PIPA™ series car seat or) Nuna, $159.95

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4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

Diaper bag
$179.95, Nuna

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5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

SENA aire mini
$199.95, Nuna

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With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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