Friday, May 18

How I Got Loads Of Free (and almost free) Baby Stuff!

Special Note: Some things have changed since I wrote this blog post! Don't be surprised if some of these offers are no longer available. There are surely new ones taking their place all the time!


Recently I shared my free baby samples haul with my friends on social media and I was really surprised by how many people didn't realize how many freebies were actually out there for new moms and were asking me how I'd gotten all my awesome loot. I've accumulated baby washes, lotions, sunscreens, onesies, swaddles, hats, toys, teethers, bottles, pacifiers, and more all for free or nearly free. In this list I'll share with you my favorite resources for free and cheap baby stuff and how to make the most of them.

Amazon Welcome Box



Amazon's baby registry baby box is probably one of the better known resources for free baby stuff and with good reason, it's the best! All you have to do to get the baby box is be a Prime member, start an Amazon registry, check off the registry list (you don't actually have to add something from each category, just check it off manually to save yourself some time), and order something for $10 off of your registry (or wait for someone to order something off your registry). Once the item ships you're ready to redeem your baby box!

If someone orders from your registry for you then this box is completely free. If you have to order yourself then it goes in the almost free category but as long as it's an item you actually need for baby then it's completely worth it as Amazon's baby box is valued at $35! And that's not all, you'll also get to choose an additional free baby gift from Amazon, options often include sippy cups, teethers, and toys.



The contents of the box change every couple of months my included things like onesies, a burp cloth, baby wash samples, baby lotion samples, a full size package of Huggie wipes, diaper samples, a full size package of Lysol wipes, and pacifiers.

Special tip: You can get more than one Amazon baby box by creating registries on more than one account! I got two by registering on my husband's account (which is where we actually use Amazon Prime) and on my own account where I signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime in order to create a second registry.

Don't have Amazon Prime? No problem! Click the banner below to get a free 30 day trial and you can still reap the benefits and get your baby box!




Babylist Baby Box


Babylist is another site that gives away free baby boxes for creating a registry. For this one all you have to do is start your registry, add three items from Babylist's site to it, and three items from external sites. That's it! They'll automatically send you your box. It does take a while (about a month) to get to you but it takes little effort to get and it totally worth it!


The Babylist box changes every month so you never really know what you're going to get but they're always nice! For May's box I got a Cetaphil samples pack, an iPlay infant sun hat, diaper and wipe samples, an alphabet image that you can frame, and a few other small samples and coupons. I also got a coupon to claim another box from iPlay valued at $25. I'm still waiting for that to come in the mail (it said it would take about a month as well).

I actually ordered two boxes from Babylist as I got one during my last pregnancy prior to miscarrying and another one during my current pregnancy. The first one was even better than this one (and they accidentally sent me two of them last time!).

Target Baby Bag


Target probably has the easiest baby freebies to claim. Technically you're supposed to create a registry with them but they don't actually check. You just go up to guest services and ask for a baby bag for having created a registry. Since they don't check you can actually hit up all of your local Targets and collect bags (I've gotten three!).

Each baby bag comes with bottles, pacifiers, several diaper and wipe samples (from Honest Company, Pampers, and Target's brand), and some baby wash and baby lotion samples.

Baby Box University


Baby Box University is an educational site which offers free baby sleeping boxes. These boxes provide a safe place for your baby to sleep. In addition to the sleeping box you get a mattress and sheet to fit in it and a few Dove and Seventh Generation samples as well.


To get the box you just need to take their quick and easy online course which offers educational videos about baby care, safe sleep, breastfeeding, etc. Once completed you can either have the box shipped directly to your house (I paid $3 for this option), have it sent to your local Walgreens for free, or depending on your state you may have to pick it up at a local participating organization.

Even though I will have a bassinet in my room and a crib in baby's room, I plan on using this baby box down in the living room as a same place for baby to nap rather than in a rocker or similar product (which is not safe for sleep).

Target Baby Box


Not to be confused with Target's free baby bag, Target's baby box is a quarterly box available for order online for just $5 (it is NOT a subscription box! You will not be auto renewed, you must choose to order it each quarter if you want it). The April box (available April-June) includes a full-size bottle of Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water (retails for $11), a full-size bottle of Method baby wash, a pacifier, and several samples including wipes, baby wash, sunscreen, and baby oatmeal. I got it specifically for the over half-off gripe water and considered the other goodies "freebies". I was unlucky as my box came with the gripe water empty! It had somehow opened and leaked during transit. But luckily Target quickly sent me a replacement. So now I have my gripe water and double the other samples!

A new box will be available in July and I'm sure it will be just as great of a deal as the current box is.


Giveaways!


Do not discount the power of giveaways. Youtubers, bloggers, and more often offer awesome giveaways for expecting mothers. I won a giveaway on WhatToExpect's app for a $50 Amazon gift card and a Babyganics Sunscreen Spray & Bug Spray combo pack. I wouldn't send too much time entering giveaways but if you're already checking out mommy bloggers and Youtubers and hanging out on pregnancy apps, be sure to check if they're doing any giveaways and sign up if they are. You never know when or what you might win!





That's all for now! I'll continue to update this post as I find more great resources for free (and almost free) baby stuff. If you're aware of any great deals please share them in the comments below as I know myself and others would love to hear them.




Please Note: I am aware of sites which claim to offer "free" nursing covers, car seat covers, etc. where you just pay shipping. The shipping costs for these sites are often as high as the retail value of the products they claim to be giving away for free and for that reason I do not consider them a good source to get free (or almost free) baby stuff. Additionally, I do not think the Noobie Box is a good deal for the same reason, the price of shipping does not cover the very small amount of stuff given away for "free".



Monday, May 14

First Trimester Survival Guide

Surprise!



We are expecting again and I have officially, successfully survived the first trimester and am now enjoying the second trimester. Everyone always told me, "The second trimester is the easier!", and thankfully they weren't lying. I was pretty fortunate that my morning sickness wasn't too terrible (I only threw up one time) but the first trimester definitely was no picnic. Between the fatigue, heartburn, headaches, nausea, cramping, etc... I'm glad it's in the past! But if you're still struggling through your first trimester hopefully this little list will help you survive the worst of it. These are tips and tricks I learned having gone through two first trimesters in the past 6 months (I had a missed miscarriage at 12 weeks 5 days last November). I hope they help! I'll list the unfortunate symptoms with some potential cures underneath.





Morning (All-Day!) Sickness


  1. Gum! I didn't discover gum as a nausea relief until this pregnancy but it really did help me when I was at work, stuck at a register, trying not to throw up on customers! When you're chewing gum you produce more saliva and swallow it more often which helps reduce that feeling that you'll upchuck. If you can find it, gum with xylitol is recommended as it's best for your teeth (whereas sugar gum isn't so great for your teeth and aspartame is quite unhealthy to consume in any form).
  2. Anything with ginger. It's a well-known nausea reliever and it really works. From ginger beer (it's non-alcoholic!), to real ginger, ginger chews, ginger hard candy, and ginger tea, ginger really works wonders for an upset tummy. In fact, I consumed so many various ginger products during my first trimester that I honestly cannot stand ginger anymore. But it greatly helped me out at the time.
  3. Earth Mama Morning Wellness Spray. This amazing spray, which smells of refreshing citrus, will help mask any unpleasant odors which are aggravating your morning sickness. I currently work at a grocery store so there are a LOT of food smells as well as smelly customer smells. Whenever a smell started to churn my stomach I'd spray this spray everywhere and it really helped! They also make a body wash in the same scent.
  4. Morning sickness teas. These are great if you're sick of drinking all things ginger. There are loads to choose from but I really liked Earth Mama's Morning Sickness Tea. It's really tasty and sometimes I drink it even when my stomach isn't upset!
  5. Seabands. Some ladies swear by Seabands and others think they don't work at all. Maybe it's mostly placebo effect, I don't know. But I do know that they seemed to help me from feeling so nauseous at work. I found they didn't make me feel better if I was already feeling sick but I do think they helped prevent me from feeling sick so frequently. So I often wore these all-day while at work! 

Fatigue

  1. Naps. It kind of goes without saying but when you're tired, which you'll be a lot during the early days of pregnancy, you just need to sleep. Allow yourself to take a nap whenever possible. Let the lazy Sundays roll, take a cat nap before or after work, and just generally take it easy if you can.
  2. Caffeine. Many ladies swear off of caffeine when they're pregnant but you don't have to! You can safely have up to 200mg of caffeine a day, that's equivalent to about 2 cups of coffee. You'll very likely be grateful for the extra little boost of energy as well during the first trimester exhaustion.

Heartburn

  1. Tums. Many woman don't experience heartburn until later in pregnancy but if you're one of the lucky ones (ha!) like me, you'll experience earlier on and will want to invest in some Tums now! Not only can they help alleviate your heartburn but they're also a great source of calcium, which you'll be needing more of now that you're building baby's bones.
  2. Earth Mama Heartburn Tea. This delicious tea helps ease mild heartburn. I often drink it even when I don't have heartburn because it's a tasty drink anytime!

Constipation

  1. Prune juice. You may think it's only for old people but prune juice may just be your best friend now that you're pregnant! It will really help get things moving along. It's especially important to help keep yourself regular during pregnancy so you don't increase your chances of developing hemorrhoids! 
  2. Hydrate! You may think you're drinking a lot of water but did you know your water needs actually increase while pregnant? That's because your body is producing up to 50% more blood while pregnant and it takes a lot of water to make that extra blood. So be sure you're drinking even more water so you meet all your hydration needs and don't end up backed up.
  3. Pickle juice. Maybe it was all in my head but I swear once my cravings had me reaching for that empty jar of pickles to drink the juice stuff started moving. I've had other pregnant mamas tell me the pickle juice helped their constipation as well. So if you're cravings pickles, give it a try, maybe it'll help you too.

Headaches

  1. Caffeine. I mentioned it above but did you know you can have caffeine during pregnancy? If you're trying to cut it out now you may be more prone to headaches as you withdraw. Conversely, caffeine can actually help reduce headaches as it constricts the blood vessels in your brain which may be causing the headache. Just be sure to stay under 200mg (about 2 cups of coffee) a day.
  2. Tylenol. Ibuprofen is out and Tylenol is in during pregnancy. If you have any questions about what over the counter drugs are safe to take for pain relief during pregnancy, please talk to your doctor.

Frequent Urination

  1. Sorry but there's no cure for this one, you're just going to have to pee more often! Be sure not to drink less in hopes of peeing less, this will make it more likely that you develop a urinary tract infection. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and be as soon as you need to and are able.

Increased Vaginal Discharge

  1. No cure for this one either. Time to start wearing panty liners if it starts to bother you. And be sure to wear panties made of breathable fabrics like cotton.

Bloat (Your clothes don't fit anymore!)

  1. Pant extenders. Pant extenders will help give you that extra inch or so that you need to comfortably wear your pants before you need to switch into maternity clothes. Some ladies also use rubber bands or hair bands to give themselves a little extra room.
  2. Belly band. A belly band is a great option to wear when you can't button your pants anymore. It'll look like you're wearing a tank top or cami under your shirt and it's snug enough to hold your pants up completely unbuttoned.





There are even more first trimester pregnancy symptoms than these but these are the ones which effected me most and the tricks I found to deal with then. Do you have any other tips and tricks for first trimester mamas? Please leave them in the comments below!