If you have a baby on the way, you likely already know just how expensive some of those essentials can be. But did you know you can get most or all of them for free? Dealing with a huge financial setback, due to a high risk pregnancy has taught me how to prepare for the baby with very little to spend. Here’s how myself and my partner got most of our baby’s items for free.
Listia is a free auction-style site that doesn’t actually require real money. You use credits to bid on items that people list. When you sign up for free using my Listia link, you get 1000 bonus credits for free to start with. We actually won a ton of baby items for free using Listia. In fact, a large portion of what we got for the baby came from here. To earn more credits after you run out, you can do a variety of things, such as doing simple tasks, taking surveys, or listing your own items for auction. Items can be new or used and you choose what you bid on. You can also buy credits. But I would only recommend doing so for items that are worth it and would cost less that way than it would to buy them the usual way.
Just to give an idea, some of the things we won for free include a Tommee Tippee electric bottle & food warmer, hand knitted baby socks and gloves, newborn onesies and pajamas, crocheted booties, lots of various infant clothing, a sock monkey, baby books, parenting books, breastmilk storage/feeding bottles, brand name baby bottles, baby prewalker shoes, cloth diapers, breastfeeding cover, car seat strap covers, baby car magnet, car seat/carrier toy bar, and more.
Just a small dose of the many free baby items we've won on Listia
(more ways to get free baby stuff under the gallery)
Contact Product Companies
Sometimes people don’t think of this one. But did you know that if you simply ask companies for a sample, many will give you one? I’ve found it even more successful if you have a baby on the way. Companies like to get new parents to try out their items because if they like them, that’s repeat business. Simply contact them on social media or via their website, explaining that you’re a new parent (if you’re a writer or blogger and/or have a large social following, that helps even more) and would like to try out their product.
Some will say no, but many will say yes and get you something in the mail. We’ve gotten response from cloth diapering companies, baby bottle companies, leg warmer companies, car seat cover companies, and many more. Some might ask for a simple review on Amazon or your blog. Some might ask you to post a picture via social media. Some may not ask for anything at all. Just remember, if you do a review, it’s the law to disclose that you got the item for free.
Government & Other Assistance Programs
If you qualify for WIC, medicaid, or other government assistance, ask about the free car seat program. Many states will provide one to each baby born to a qualifying family. Some will distribute the car seat at the hospital when the baby is born. Others have specific distribution locations. Be sure to get all the details before your little one arrives. There are also often local food banks and other charitable organizations that give out free baby items, such as car seats, clothing, strollers, nursery furniture, and more. Some divisions of Catholic Charities have been known to help in some of these areas.
Craigslist Free Section
Did you know that the for sale section in Craigslist also has a free section? People often post completely free items there. We check all the time to see if there’s anything available that we need. One really awesome item we got on there is a normally pricey 3-in-1 swing, infant seat, and rocker. We got it completely free. All we had to do is drive to the person’s house and pick it up off their porch. Yup, that’s it. We sanitized and cleaned it, then replaced the batteries, and it works just like new.
(more ways to get free baby stuff under the image)
Free Baby Sample Sites, Promo Codes, and Clubs
Don’t forget to join clubs for all of the companies you may use if they have them. Enfamil, Similac, and Pampers are three of the more popular ones. Also, there are many sites that offer free baby items if you pay shipping.
If you enter promo code “babyleggings6” at the following sites, you’ll get the items for free. You just pay S&H.
Free Car Seat Canopy ($50 value)
Free Udder Covers Nursing Cover ($35 Value)
Free Nursing Pillow ($40 Value)
Free Seven brand baby carrier/sling ($40 Value)
10 pairs of free Breast Pads ($35 Value)
2 Belly Button Maternity Bands OR 1 Belly Button Body for free ($40 Value)
5 Baby Board Books ($40 Value)
You can also do a search for “free baby samples” to find a bunch of sites. Just be careful when you enter your information that these are legitimate sites. There are many scams out there that are only trying to harvest your info.
(more ways to get free baby stuff under the image)
Amazon Baby Registry
This one is kind of a given. Most people with a baby on the way have a registry. Amazon is the easiest way to make one, as the Amazon Baby Registry is designed so that you can add items from any online page, not just Amazon. It’s also completely FREE and they give you a welcome box of FREE surprises for the baby and parent/s. This alone is worth using the registry. Our welcome box had things like baby wipes, an Avent bottle, breast pads, bath items, pacifiers, and more.
Your friends and family likely want to help anyhow. If you’re having a hard time, this is a simple way to let them know what’s needed. We actually created ours as a way for us to organize and we greatly underestimated the generosity that would ensue because of it.
We never expected anyone to help, but the generosity of family and friends has been overwhelming (in a good way). I wouldn’t consider this “free”in the usual sense, as most people create these for the same organizational purpose we did. However, because others may be purchasing some of the items, it should be on this list.
Quick tip for the registry: When you purchase items elsewhere, add them to the registry and then mark them as purchased. That way, you and other people always know what you need and what you don’t. This makes it so much easier to plan for the baby.
"Mommy, Mommy! My arms are itchy!" Your toddler is standing below you tugging at your pant leg with persistence. You look at her arms and discover she has some sort of rash. To avoid risky scenarios as much as possible, parents can learn more about common houseplants that are poisonous. Here are some of the most common poisonous houseplants to keep away from kids.
An amaryllis is a bulbous herbal houseplant. The flowers are funnel-shaped and vary in color. The poisonous part of the amaryllis is the bulb. If ingested, it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and salivation. Children may be attracted to the amaryllis for its stunning color and shape.
The azalea is a flowering shrub with round clumps of blooms. They can be white, pink or yellow in color. They bear two types of leaves. All parts of the azalea are poisonous. When ingested, these houseplants can cause salivation, loss of energy, depression, nausea, paralysis in the arms and legs, coma, breathing difficulties, weakness and more. These flowers are bright in color and have a unique shape.
The caladium has heart-shaped leaves and can be green, red, orange or white, depending on the species. Some other names for caladium houseplants include mother-in-law plant, heart-of-Jesus, caladio, cananga and angel wings. All parts of the caladium are poisonous when ingested. The caladium causes major irritation to the lips, mouth and throat.
The calla lily is a houseplant with long stems or stalks and leaves shaped like arrows. They bloom in white or green. The leaves are the poisonous portion of calla lily houseplants. Irritations to the skin can occur on contact. Ingestion causes an extreme burning feeling to the lips and mouth. While toxic, the calla lily is often considered a very beautiful flowering houseplant. Thus, children may naturally be attracted to its beauty.
The cyclamen can be both rounded and heart shaped. This houseplant has flowers which come in red, pink or white. The roots are the poisonous area of cyclamen houseplants. Ingestion can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, paralysis and convulsions. Skin irritation from contact may also occur. Children may be attracted to the delicate size, vibrant colors or unique shape.
Also commonly called dieffenbachia, the dumb cane is a tall leafy plant. The leaves are large and can have ivory colored patches. The poisonous part of the dumb cane is the leaf. If chewed on, the leaf will cause intense pain and cause the mouth to swell. Children may be drawn to this poisonous houseplant because of the design on the leaves or the fact that the leaves are big and easy to grab.
Eucalyptus plants belong to the evergreen family. The leaves are rounded and can be a dark green or red tone. The leaves and bark of the eucalyptus tree are poisonous. Contact skin irritation can occur. Also, ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and coma. The oil from a eucalyptus tree is toxic.
The Jerusalem cherry or coral can be in the form of shrubs or herbs. These houseplants are often spiny or hairy. Black, orange or red berries grow from this plant. The entire plant is poisonous if ingested. However, the berries are the most potent. When ingested, the Jerusalem cherry causes throat irritation, fever, diarrhea and gastric irritation. Children may be attracted to this poisonous houseplant because of its colorful berries. To children, they may resemble edible berries.
This is generally a climbing vine. Most have large heart-shaped leaves. Contact with the philodendron can cause skin irritation. Ingestion of philodendron plants can cause burning to the lips, mouth and throat. Some children may be attracted to the clutching or climbing aspect of vine houseplants, such as the philodendron.
Also known as rosary pearls, these are tropical houseplants bearing red berries. Ingestion of broken seeds causes a delayed reaction of vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, major abdominal pain, burning in the throat and lesions in the mouth and esophagus. The rosary pea can cause death. Because the peas look edible and are bright red, resembling cranberries, they may attract children.
Being sure that the plants in your house are not poisonous to children can save you stress later and even avoid tragedy. Read up on educational materials and consult with poison control centers to better understand which houseplants are safe to have around children and which are not.
California Poison Control System
Poisonous Plant Resource Sheet For Childcare Providers (State of NC)
by Alicia Bodine, Contributing Writer
1. Insurance/Price: Does the physician take your insurance? If not, what are his or her rates? Are the rates high or low compared to other doctors in the area? If they are too high, that might be an indication that the doctor cares more about money than he does about his patients. You really want to find someone who charges the going rate or less. You will also want to ask how much the doctor charges for certain tests and extras. It is better to be prepared than to sign on with a doctor (having no insurance that is) and then find yourself in a big debt.
2. Hours of operation: What are the doctor's office hours? Will there be someone to take your calls if the doctor is not available on weekends? Does the doctor have hours for patients in his care who are in the hospital? This is important because if you end up needing to stay at the hospital you will get whatever doctor is on call.
3. Years of Experience: How long has the doctor been in practice? Where did he attend college? Where did he complete his apprenticeship? If your doctor is brand new, just out of college he hasn't had much life experience yet. I would not advise taking this kind of physician on. You should wait until a physician has had a decent amount of years working under or with a veteran doctor.
4. Referrals: Do you know anyone in town who goes to this Doctor? What is their recommendation? Make sure you talk to at least 10 individuals to get an overall feel. Also find out how long the individual has been a patient so you can gauge whether they have had a chance to get to know the doctor or not.
5. The Doctors Demeanor: Does the doctor explain things in a way you can understand? Does the doctor talk down to you or like you are equals? Does the doctor seem happy to see you or are you just another number? Think about what kind of person you enjoy interacting with. Does this doctor have those qualities?
Making the decision to choose a primary care physician should not be taken likely. In an ideal situation you want to have a good relationship with your doctor. If something were to go wrong you want to know ahead of time that this doctor will be able to handle it, make the proper diagnosis, refer you to the right specialists, and do it in a kind manner. Use the above questions to guide yourself in choosing the right doctor for you.
This article previously appeared on the Yahoo Contributor Network
Some mistakenly think that healthy skin comes naturally for a baby. In a sense, it does. But, to keep infant skin healthy, proper skin care techniques should be applied. I am a mother experienced in infant skin care for several children, as well as keeping my own skin healthy. I feel my experience could be useful to many parents interested in baby skin care. Over the years, I have gained knowledge through trial and error, the advice of doctors, and also through research.
Getting Started With Healthy Infant Skin Care
Before starting to care for your baby’s skin, do a product inventory. Read labels of cleansing products, lotions and moisturizers, and laundering products. Check for unnecessary chemicals and fragrance. Products that promote healthy infant skin should include mainly water, moisturizers, disinfectants (for cleansing products), and vitamins and minerals. Beyond that, there shouldn't be many other ingredients. While fragrance is included in many baby care products, it often is not good for promoting healthy skin care. Some babies are sensitive to fragrances, dyes, and other chemicals. Even those who are not should be limited to their exposure. I personally do not use any commercial baby products and opt for making my own, due to difficulty finding any that do not contain harmful chemicals.
Cleansing Your Baby’s Skin For Optimal Health
The first step to maintaining healthy skin for an infant is properly cleansing the skin. A baby should not necessarily be using the same cleansers as an adult. Some of those can be harsh on a baby's skin, causing it to dry out or get irritated. Dry or irritated skin is not healthy skin. A good baby cleansing product should contain a cleanser or disinfectant, possibly a moisturizer, water, and vitamins or minerals. Other ingredients should be minimal or non-existent. Soft cloths made of 100% cotton are best for applying cleansers to infant skin. Plain, fragrance free glycerin soap with only oatmeal and almond oil (not to be confused with almond extract or scented essential oils) is a good choice. It’s actually quite easy to make your own.
Moisturizers For Infant Skin Health
Moisturizing is another important step to healthy skin care in infants. Many babies naturally have soft skin, but to maintain that soft, healthy skin, frequent moisturizing is necessary. Using just any moisturizer is not necessarily better than none. The harsh ingredients in some of them can be detrimental to healthy skin care for a baby and can actually deplete moisture. If you can’t make your own products, check labels to be sure the ingredients consist of a proper moisturizer, preferably some vitamins and minerals, as well as purified water. I personally recommend simple coconut or almond oil infused with pure (unfragranced) vitamin E oil.
Bedding and Clothing Play an Important Role in Infant Skin Care
Often overlooked are the garments babies wear, as well as their bedding. Anything that comes in contact with a baby's skin should be considered in maintaining healthy skin care habits. Be cautious of the fabrics used to make the bedding and clothing. Also, pay attention to the laundering products used. Avoid products that contain chemicals, fragrances, and dyes. Natural laundry detergent is best for maintaining healthy skin care in an infant.
To avoid wrinkling in the clothing, try hanging the clothing neatly on the clothesline in the sun. The sunshine method also can help to freshen the clothing, taking away the need for a fabric refresher. Another freshening method is to add a small amount of baking soda (maybe a teaspoon) to the washer with a cup of vinegar. This can serve as a cleanser, disinfectant, de-wrinkler, and fabric softener all at once.
Things to Remember:
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
If you are breastfeeding, you'll want to know when to begin weaning your baby from breastmilk. There is no generalized answer to that question. However, the following information may be helpful in determining an answer. Some may be weaning in order to go back to work while others may be weaning for other reasons, such as the transition into solid foods.
When Should I Start Weaning My Baby?
According to KidsHealth.org, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies are breastfed until at least 6 months of age. At that point, it is recommended that a combination of breastmilk and solid foods be given until the baby is at least 1 year old.
Experts will vary on the exact time when moms can begin weaning their baby. Consulting with your child's pediatrician is a great way to be sure that the choice you make is catered to your baby's individual needs. Beyond that, watch for cues from your baby's actions, combining that with the doctor's advice. I always found that combining the doctor's advice with baby's cues led to a successful weaning process.
Transitioning to Solids
Some babies will wean on their own naturally during the transition to solid foods. Others may need their mother to take a leadership role when it comes to weaning. Some are not as willing to wean as others. It may be the easiest to begin weaning your baby when solid foods are a particular interest or distraction. The excitement of new foods may distract the baby's attention from breastfeeding.
When a baby is showing more interest in transitioning to drinking liquids in a cup and eating more solid foods, this is a good indication of when to begin weaning. Baby food and liquid amounts should be discussed with the pediatrician to be sure that baby is eating the correct amount.
Reducing & Eliminating Nightly Feedings
The nightly feedings seem to be the hardest to shy the baby away from. Therefore some mothers opt to use transitioning to solid foods as a perfect opportunity to eliminate nightly feedings. Some mothers may still choose to offer a nightly feeding while transitioning the baby to solids.
Importance of Gradual Weaning
During the process of weaning, you don't want to just stop breastfeeding all of a sudden. Weaning a baby should involve gradually decreasing the amount of breastmilk given, while gradually increasing other forms of nourishment. This helps to ensure that the baby is getting the proper nourishment needed to thrive. If you are at all unsure of what to do during the process, don't hesitate to talk to your child's pediatrician to accurately assess what is healthy for your baby.
-- Note that the author is not a licensed medical professional. The above is provided for informational purposes. Always consult a licensed medical professional for any advice pertaining to health matters.
by Alicia Bodine, Contributing Writer
Once the milk is pumped, it will need to be stored. Here are 8 easy breast milk storage methods that you can use:
1. Place the milk directly in to the bottle at set it out on the kitchen counter. This is perfectly acceptable if you plan on feeding the baby within the next 4 hours.
2. Place the milk directly in to the bottle and set it in your refrigerator. You can do this for all of the bottles you think you will use over the next 3-4 days. The milk will still be fresh, you will just need to heat it up before serving it to the baby.
3. Pour your pumped milk in to some baby food jars and place them in the freezer. Breast milk will stay good for up to 4 months. Just take it out and place it in the refrigerator a few hours before you want to use it so that it thaws out naturally.
4. Purchase some nursing bags and pour your breast milk in them. These bags can be kept in a refrigerator or a freezer. These bags are sterilized and made specifically for storing your breast.
5. Use store bought freezer bags to store your breast milk. You will need to purchase smaller ones because you won't want to store large amounts in one bag. You would end up wasting some after you thawed it out.
6. Pour the breast milk in to a plastic soda bottle. Make sure that you sterilize the plastic soda bottle first. You can then leave it on the counter,place it in the freezer, or place it in the refrigerator.
7. Use small Tupperware containers. Tupperware comes with a lifetime guarantee because it is so durable. You an then store the milk on the counter, in the fridge, or in the freezer.
8. Clean out your left over pickle jars and use them to store your breast milk. These containers have lids that screw on tight so they are perfect for storing milk. You can also place these in a refrigerator or freezer or just leave them out on the counter.
Always write the date on the storage container or bag so that you know how long you have been storing it.
Always use thawed out breast milk within one day and never place it back in the freezer.
This article was previously published on the Yahoo Contributor Network.
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans network. She is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! Running a network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is her top priority.
While rescuing civilians from boring content and brands, this awesomely crazy family conquers the world, managing Intent-sive Nature while going on Upstream Parenting adventures & lessons, sometimes in an RV. They strive to cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they settle for rescue dogs and cats.
By supporting us, you support a single parent, healer, and minority small business that donates to and/or stands for several causes, including homeless pets, homeless people, trans youth, equality, helping starving artists, and more! A portion of all proceeds from our all-inclusive store, Intent-sive Nature goes toward worthy causes.
For guidance in the world of freelance writing or for advice on her specialty topics, Ask Lyn.