While a new baby is an exciting and life-altering event for everyone involved, the reality of the expense involved in having and raising a child is enough to keep even the most sleep-deprived mom wide awake at night. The good news, though, is there are a number of freebies for moms and the bundles of joys.
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Websites and Social Media
Visit the websites of companies that make baby products, such as food and formula, clothing, diapers and toys. Sign up to receive offers. Many send coupons for free items and samples. You also get notices of sales and offers like free shipping. Many companies, too, use social media sites as marketing tools. Online sites, such as craigslist.org and freecycle.org, are a way to connect with locals giving away baby items.
Your Health Care Provider
Your obstetrician and paediatrician are another good source of freebies, coupons and samples for items like prenatal vitamins, formula and diaper bags. Just ask during your next visit. The clinic or hospital can also refer you to mothers' groups, play groups and support groups for new moms, which can be a way to connect with other parents with the same challenges and questions.
Ask and You Shall Receive
Sometimes the best way to get free stuff is the most direct: just ask. If you're looking for a baby swing or a maternity dress for a dinner party, other moms are a treasure trove of outgrown things they'd likely wouldn't mind to pass along. Ask moms in your neighbourhood, community, place of worship or workplace if they have any unused baby items. Pay it forward, too, as your kids grow.
Barter or Swap
Find or host a clothing swap. Everyone brings unneeded items that have plenty of wear left and leaves with new-to-them items in sizes they need. This works for families with kids of various ages, so everyone can bring and take home clothes.
A babysitting co-op is a group of parents who take turns watching each other's children. Not only is this free babysitting, but it has the added advantage of knowing the parents and their kids, as opposed to hiring and screening a teenager or other stranger to babysit.
The library is a goldmine of "free" (at least until your loan time is up) resources like parenting books, exercise and movie DVDs, story time and Internet access. In some communities, the fire brigade offers free car seat installation. The health department may offer free immunisation and parenting classes or resources. Local shops that cater to moms and babies may offer free exercise classes, cooking classes and guest speakers on topics like breastfeeding or blended families.
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