The cost of a hospital birth is unpredictable and often shocking. Then comes all the stuff you need to keep a baby alive, clean, and relatively happy. Fortunately, there are places to get discounts and even free stuff for new parents.
For Prenatal Health: Costs start before the baby arrives. Moms who are carrying can get free prenatal vitamins via grocery chain Meijer.
From Friends: Babies may grow quickly, but their stuff will stay the same. If you become a member of the motherhood tribe as the years pass, start or join a clothing swap with friends and family members. Jessica Alba and Kerry Washington are part of an A-list maternity clothes swap. One mom in New York City started an online, give-to-get kids' clothing swap.
At Refinery29, Amelia Edelman wrote about getting a car seat, stroller, breastfeeding pillow, high chair, bottles, baby clothes of all sizes, and "even a used breast pump — from kind coworkers, neighbors, friends, family, and my dentist." Don't be embarrassed to ask! Someone you know would probably love to part with some of these things and make space.
From Stores And Brands: Brad's Deals has a list of 25 freebies and discounts that new and expectant mothers can take advantage of, from stores including Target, Babies"R"Us, Gerber, The Honest Company, and more.
One option for the digital savvy: "Amazon sends Prime members who create and complete a baby registry online a baby 'Welcome Box' after at least $10 of registry gifts have been purchased from their wishlist. The box is valued at $35, and recent recipients said it included baby food samples, a nursing bottle, a pacifier, breast pads, water wipes, baby lotion, shampoo, conditioner and more."
Stock Up On Diapers: Investopedia estimates that new parents will spend up to $550 on diapers alone in the first year of their kid's life. Here are seven ways to offset those costs, from coupons and sales to requesting samples. The Penny Hoarder also has a list of ways to save on diapers, from becoming a diaper ambassador through Diapers.com to taking surveys.
Start Your Personal Library: Entertain your baby genius with Baby Einstein books, Dr. Seuss classics, the Animal Babies collection, and more by signing up for subscriptions — and canceling if you choose not to continue.