It’s an understatement to say that babies are expensive. From feedings to clothing to diapers, they can cost new parents an arm and a leg. Luckily, there are quite a few freebies out there that savvy, frugal parents can get to help lessen the financial pinch.
With diaper banks, government programs, registry perks and more, check out these lists of ways to score free diapers, free formula, and free baby gear. To get some of the items, you may need to fill out a form, create a free registry, or make a phone call (trust me, your mobile has a “phone” app). The savings are worth it though!
As a fairly new mama (our daughter is 7 months old now), I was blown away by the number of diapers (and blowouts) a baby goes through. At the rate of 6-8 diapers per day, she’ll go through 7,026 before she’s toilet trained. At an average cost of 20-cents per diaper, that’s over $1,400 we’ll be shelling out over the next 2 years.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to score free diapers.
1. Get free diapers from major diaper companies if you register with them for free samples.
2. Hospitals will send you home with a free pack of diapers.
Usually, it’s Huggies or Pampers brand. Don’t be afraid to ask the nurse to give you an extra pack or two or three. They know babies are expensive, and they have tons of samples on hand.
3. Stack up the coupons!
Coupons for diapers are generally plentiful! I find coupons for diapers, diaper creams, and diaper wipes all of the time.
Sites like InboxDollars will pay you for using coupons for diapers and other supermarket goods. You can earn 1-cent for each coupon you print (up to 25 per day), and then when you redeem them in-store, you’ll earn 10-cents for each coupon you use. (And of course, you’ll get the face value savings of the coupons.)
The available coupons change, but right now, for example, the coupons page features deals for $1.50 off of a package of Huggies and $1.00 off Gerber baby food. (If you’re not a member of InboxDollars, no sweat. You can join InboxDollars for free in just 20 seconds and find out other great ways to save money and online.)
If you just print 25 coupons per day, that’s $91.25 per year.
Similarly, at Swagbucks.com you can also get paid to coupon. You can earn 1-cent (paid in Swagbucks) per day for each coupon printed, up to 50 per day.
4. Haunt the Target ads.
I’ve scored some great deals at Target. I track diaper prices closely, and when they’re having specials, Target is hands down the cheapest place to buy diapers anywhere. Plus with the REDcard (which is linked to your checking account, not a credit card), you can save an additional 5%. If you don’t have one, you can get a cash bonus of $3 when you sign up for the REDCard.
So watch for their baby sales! Generally, it’s for spending either $50, $75, or $100 on your total baby item purchase. When you reach that amount, you can get a Target gift card for $10 to $30 or more to use on a later visit. Since Target pretty much has everything, that’s like getting cash back.
5. If doorstep delivery is more your jam, check out the Amazon Family program.
It offers 20% off subscriptions on diapers, baby food, and baby gear. If you’re a Prime member, there are millions of items on their website that ship for free with no minimum purchase required. And while the $119/year membership is steep, if you’re on Medicaid, WIC, or SNAP you can subscribe for only $5.99 a month. And if you’re a student (or can cozy up to one), students get a free six-month trial membership to Prime and after that a 50% reduced rate.
Also, you can earn cash from your Amazon purchase when you visit Amazon.com from Swagbucks. With Swagbucks, you earn a percentage back of every dollar that you spend at Amazon. The percentages back will change throughout the year and will vary based on category, ranging from 2% to 5%.
6. Ask your pediatrician for extras.
They also have loads of free samples. To maximize your haul, call ahead before your visit and ask them what they can give you.
7. Register for diapers on your baby registry.
Request diapers in all different sizes. While friends and family love to gift cute booties and onesies, if you set diapers as a “priority” item, plenty of them should come through.
8. When you create a baby registry you’ll get a free welcome box.
Welcome boxes will almost always contain a couple of sample packs of diapers. Target, Amazon, buybuyBaby, and Walmart are just a handful of many retailers who offer you a free welcome box for creating a baby registry with them. Why not create multiple registries and get multiple boxes? I’ve personally found that my friends and family liked the flexibility of being able to choose from multiple stores.
9. Max out your baby registry perks.
With Amazon, for example, if you purchase $1,000 worth of items off of your baby registry you are given a credit for $100 in free diaper products, including rash creams and wipes.
To take advantage of this perk, and up the total dollar amount of baby registry items purchased, my husband and I added baby stuff to the list that we wanted to purchase for ourselves anyway. Items like baby proofing gear, nipple cream, and an extra car seat base. Things we needed but didn’t necessarily want to put on a registry.
We reached the $1,000 threshold a few months after we brought home baby. Well after her birth date, we were adding and purchasing things off of the registry. And when the $100 worth of free diapers and butt rash cream came, it was amazing.
10. Reach out to your local diaper bank.
With disposable diapers costing the average family $70 a month or more, they are a major expense that many families cannot meet on their own. In fact, 1 in 3 American families report experiencing diaper need.
The National Diaper Bank Network offers Community Diaper Programs to provide free diaper assistance.
11. Consider cloth diapers.
We actually use cloth diapers a lot of the time, and they are not as scary and overwhelming as I had once thought. I clean them in our washer and dryer (gentle cycle), and never fold them. I have one drawstring bag of clean ones, and one of the dirty ones. Easy peasy.
Cloth diapers aren’t just white gauze and metal pins, although those still exist. Most cloth diapers come in cute, cheerful prints made out of a soft, waterproof PUL shell. The interior “diaper part” is usually made of multiple layers of super absorbent bamboo. And with adjustable snap closures, you never have to mess with pins and they are one-size-fits-all (meaning they fit babies from 7-35 pounds). You can find out more about cloth diapering and give it a try yourself.
A set of cloth diapers may cost anywhere from $100 to $300 to get started, but over time you’ll be saving thousands of dollars.
And if the upfront investment of $100+ isn’t possible, you can register for free cloth diapers with The Cloth Option or Share the Love. Both of these organizations want to help qualifying families and promote widespread adoption of cloth diapers. At The Cloth Option, for example, an approved family will get a starter stash of 20 cloth diapers.
12. Finally, check out Facebook groups.
Facebook is filled with BST (Buy Sell Trade) groups and garage sale groups. Some are themed around interests (like gently used kids’ clothing), and others are themed around certain cities, towns, or neighborhoods.
Put out an “ISO” (In Search Of) post and let the group know you’re in search of free diapers. You don’t have to disclose why. Because babies grow quickly, plenty of parents have extra diapers in smaller sizes that their child has outgrown. Many don’t know what to do with them, so ask. The same goes for unopened diaper creams and wipes.
Additionally, Facebook groups are a good chance to score some gently used (or well-loved) cloth diapers. I initially balked at the idea, but hey. Your baby will soil them too, and you can bleach out the stains. You can get an entire set of cloth diapers for $20-$60 there, vs paying $100-$200+ brand new in-store.
Many families rely partially, or exclusively, upon infant formula. And depending on the brand and your baby’s needs, infant formula can cost anywhere from $70-$150 a month.
Luckily, as with diapers, there are a number of ways to get free formula.
13. Request free samples.
You will need to register for their loyalty programs, but it’s well worth it. As an added bonus, I’ve found that companies will send out $5 off coupons every few weeks or so. I end up redeeming about $15 worth of coupons a month for an additional yearly savings of $180.
14. As with free diapers, just ask your hospital and pediatrician’s office.
When my husband and I left the hospital with our daughter, they sent us home with a canister of Neosure 22 and asked us if we needed a second one. While I didn’t ask for a third one, I’m reasonably confident that the nurses would have obliged. (Another reason to be sweet as pie to your nurses.)
Similarly, at your pediatrician visits, you can fill out paperwork to indicate (or just tell the nurse) that you would like some free formula samples. I recommend calling ahead to make sure they can get a stash ready for you. If your pediatrician doesn’t have any available, they can refer you to free local resources.
15. You can get free formula through WIC.
WIC is a government program that helps pregnant mothers and parents of young children. To qualify, you must meet certain residential, income, or nutrition risk requirements.
While many people assume they won’t qualify, most people do. The guidelines for WIC are less stringent than for many other government programs. In 2014, more than 2.4 million babies (62% of all babies) were eligible for WIC.
Overall, there are over 14.2 million women and children in the U.S. who qualify for WIC (out of all 35 million pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children under age 5 in the United States.) This means that roughly 41% of all expectant households or households with young children will qualify.
16. Register for baby formula.
If you know that you will be formula feeding, partially, exclusively, or in worst-case-scenario, tack it onto your list.
Extra baby formula is always handy. Even mothers who nurse exclusively will use it to mix with baby cereal, baby rice, fruit purées, and other baby foods.
17. Buy yourself cute maternity clothes at Motherhood Maternity!
This has got to be the best kept “open” secret ever. I ordered a maternity dress and a couple of tops from Motherhood Maternity before my daughter arrived.
Somehow, that came up in conversation in the hospital with one of my nurses. She told me, “Oh great. You’re on Enfamil’s mailing list. You’ll get free formula from them in the mail.”
I scoffed at the notion, thinking I’d get a teeny-tiny sample packet in the mail. What I got, about a week after my daughter’s due date, was a huge package of free formula. I got 3 large canisters of formula and 2 cases of Ready to Use NeuroPro Infant Formula Bottles, and 24 Ready to Use bottles in total with 2 attachable nipples.
While some moms are upset by Motherhood Maternity’s practice of sharing this information with Enfamil, for other moms it’s a godsend.
I made my Motherhood Maternity purchase online, which is how they got my address. I’m not sure how it works if you make a purchase in-store, but make sure to ask at the cash register. It might be possible to get your name on the marketing list without buying anything.
OTHER BABY FREEBIES
There are lots of other great baby freebies!
18. Welcome boxes for creating your baby registry have a lot of loot.
It’s more than just diapers. With my Target baby registry, I got 2 free bottles, 4 free diapers, 3 free packs of diaper wipes, a pacifier, baby wash, baby shampoo, and $50+ in coupons. For Amazon, it was even sweeter. I received free bottles, free diapers, and diaper wipes and creams, 2 organic muslin blankets, Clorox baby safe cleaning wipes, pacifiers, socks, and a onesie.
At buybuyBaby, they offer you a goodie bag once you’re registered. Samples can vary, but one mom reports receiving boogie wipes, Belli cream (for stretch marks), a Nuk pacifier, an Avent bottle, Johnson & Johnson lotion, and in-store coupons.
19. Call Gerber to get your free Gerber Baby Nutrition Kit.
Yes, this involves picking up your phone. When you call Gerber at 1-800-408-7277, a rep will talk to you about your free kit (available at your hospital or pediatrician’s office) and will likely also ask you if you’d like free samples in the mail.
20. Comb the online classifieds for free stuff.
Freecycle is a marketplace where people list items that they just want rid of. They don’t want the hassle of selling these items; they just want them gone. There are loads of free baby stuff on the site.
And while Facebook is a great place to post ISO’s and buy and sell used goods, there’s plenty of free swag too. While pregnant, I combed those pages daily and several times a week I would see listings for people giving away free baby clothes, free toys, free books, and more.
And in addition to posting ISO’s for free diapers, you can ask for other free items as well. Every day I would see posts requesting free cribs, shoes, bouncers, toys, and more, and I would read actual replies from people able to help.
21. Ask your friends and family.
Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers that you’ve got a baby on the way or that you’re on the prowl for baby gear.
Among my friends and family, I received loads of free hand-me-downs: baby plates and spoons, several brown bags of clothes in a wide range of sizes, 2 baby carriers, burp cloths, a high chair, and a baby bouncer.
And from my coworkers, I got plenty of gently used baby gear too: dozens of books, a toddler bed frame and mattress, crib sheets, a tummy time playmat, and a pack-n-play (with the fold-up case). And while I was plenty happy to receive all of the plunder, people were even happier to give it away. Everyone wants to declutter.
In closing, there are lots of ways to score free diapers, free formula, and free baby gear for your wee one. Sign up for registries, join loyalty programs, start a registry, and tell your network of friends, family, and coworkers that you’re expecting. And my top tip: be nice to the nurses. They can hook you up and they always have the best insider scoop.
If you love scoring free samples and wag, check out 67 of the Internet’s best legitimate freebies. From free restaurant meals to free cosmetic samples to free vet visits, we’ve tried out hundreds of “free samples” on the Internet and made a list to share the best ones with you.