One thing (among many) that people tell you to prepare for is how much money you are going to spend when it comes to your first child. From the latest bouncer to multiple sets of crib sheets, and endless supply of diapers and some cute décor to spice up your nursery, let’s be honest: a lot of money is going to go out the door.
My husband and I have attempted to approach the whole ordeal in as practical a manner as possible. We certainly have skimped when it comes to preparing for our little nugget (and have been graciously showered with lots of items from our fabulous family and friends) but we’ve also attempted to stay grounded and realistic and not completely empty our bank accounts for something that the nugget may (or may not) actually enjoy or use.
While money has gone out the door, I’ve been completely surprised at how much money we have not spent. That’s right…through tips from friends, helpful good Samaritans and just randomly stumbling across things in my day-to-day, I’ve actually come away from pregnancy with a lot of freebies!
Below I’m sharing my top picks.
Extra Teeth Cleanings
I am fortunate to have one of the best dentists in town. Not only do they provide fabulous customer and professional services, but also they are super proactive in ensuring their patients get the best care. This past spring I went in for my typical 6-month cleaning and shared the news that I was expecting a little nugget. My dentist and his team immediately informed me that many dental plans offer a supplemental cleaning (at no charge) for preggo ladies. They confirmed my coverage and scheduled me to head back in a few months time.
All insurance plans are different, but it’s totally worth a quick ask to your dentist or dental insurance plan.
Baby Registry Freebies
Marketers LOVE new parents. Why? Because we really don’t have a huge clue of what we’re doing and we’re the quintessential prospective buyer for all their products. So what have these savvy retailers done? Set up fabulous freebies to accompany your baby registries in the hopes that you’ll take advantage of the coupons and discounts and buy even more.
Hands down, it’s super important that you register at the stores that make the most sense for your lifestyle. For me, I wanted stores that provided a variety of name brand goods that was convenient to my home location. In the end, we chose Amazon (because who doesn’t LOVE Amazon, especially if you’re a Prime customer) and Target, because it was the closest brick and mortar store to our home.
While many of the other retailers offers similar programs, these two retailers reward their gift registers with a nice “Welcome Box” filled with freebies. While a lot of the items aren’t particularly useful (small samples and coupons) they do often include a few full-size and travel-size options from some of the most popular companies.
From baby wipes to pacifiers, you will get a ton of random items. I’ll be honest, some of the items just hit the garbage bin, but I did hold on to a few items, including some of the travel-size options that went into small “emergency poop” kits that I plan to store in each of our cars.
In addition to the retailers that we used for our baby registry, we also seemed to accrue similar “freebie” bags at the baby preparation classes we attended and even some maternity clothes shops that I purchased some items from. Again, you may not use all or any of it, but it’s worth a quick look!
While your choice to breastfeed or formula feed is completely your own, I was informed by a friend that most insurance plans cover a portion (if not the full cost) of breastfeeding equipment. Similar to dental coverage, everything depends on the small print in your plan, but I was so glad to get this tip from another mama.
In my case, I had been working diligently on my registry and was pretty shocked at the costs of some of the breastfeeding gear. Sure you can get a standard pump for a fairly reasonable cost, but if you want something that is a bit more high-tech or comes in a carrier case that may be more convenient for a future working mom (like me), then the costs were going up to the $200 range.
After speaking with this friend, I called my health insurance (get used to this, it will happen a lot) and got the skinny on my policy. Typically health insurance companies will outsource the order to a medical supply company (or if you have a group insurance plan like Kaiser, they may handle the request in house) but your insurance company should give you the overview of what you’re entitled to and how to get it.
My plan warned me that they could not take requests on the type, make, or model of the desired pump and I should be prepared to get “what was available.” I still ended up putting a very polite note on my request (which required a doctor’s prescription) asking for a specific brand/model which I had heard good things about.
At the end of the day, it all worked out. I spoke with the medical supply vendor and they were extremely helpful in getting me sorted out. My insurance plan covered a standard model, but allowed me to ‘upgrade’ to my desired mom-friendly option for a small cost.
Can I mention how much I love my dentist? Well on my second “free pregnancy” teeth cleaning, I was chatting with the office again and they mentioned that some insurance plans also offer medical (not dental) coverage for teeth-related procedures and equipment. In short, pregnancy can be an extremely strange time for your body and so it’s within everyone’s best interest to keep mama healthy (and happy I may add). In some instances you can use this time to consider purchasing dental items (think an electronic toothbrush or a water pick) to ensure that you have the best items to keep your teeth healthy when they’re most vulnerable. Again, everything is subject to your plan, but it’s definitely worth an ask to see if you can qualify for coverage.
My teeth have taken a bit of a beating during my pregnancy and I had been eyeing a more advanced toothbrush to try to keep them on the healthy track. I am thrilled to have a portion of the cost of this item covered!
As with breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, choosing your diaper type is completely a personal decision. For those going the disposable route, you know that a lot of money is going to go toward the endless supply that you’ll need for the next few years. Fortunately a lot of retailers know this, and they want you to buy your endless supply from them!
Amazon has an awesome diaper program for those that use the online giant for their registry. Hit $1,000 worth of merchandise on your registry and they’ll reward you with a $100 credit to use toward diapers. For all the new parents out there, that’s approximately 400 diapers…which may last you just over a month when you have a newborn and maybe two months when your kiddo gets a little older.
Other diaper manufactures like Pampers and Huggies have frequent purchase programs where you can receive credit toward your future purchases based on past purchases. Tip: Most have mobile apps that allow you to scan your purchase barcodes to help simplify the process.
Getting yourself situated for a new baby is a huge process and one that can cost some money. However, I feel fortunate to have been able to receive so many fabulous tips throughout my pregnancy on money-saving options that have helped us stay in budget.