Link

free baby carrier!

free baby carrier!

I just ordered mine today so I can’t vouch for quality but it’s free so that’s pretty super.

empowered women looking at things off camera with their elbows the wrong way round!

Also available: empowered women looking at things off camera with their elbows on backwards!

Use the code FAMILY2014 at checkout to get a free baby sling, you just pay for the shipping. The patterns are beautiful and the sizing is pretty simple. I chose Autumn Blaze but it was actually a pretty tough choice. For shipping to the UK the total was £8.27. It’s pretty rare these offers are available for UK customers so I was really pleasantly surprised to find they do ship here. And now I’m really excited. Once Bellydweller is here I will post reviews of this and my Babymoov wrap (bought from eBay for £20).

The only experience I have with baby carriers is a Mothercare carrier I used to carry my niece in. It was HORRIBLE. My sister has given it to me now and just looking at it reminds me how yuck it was. I’ve since learnt it’s probably because it is a ‘crotch dangler’ and also has rubbish back support. I remember having her facing outward and wearing her for about 15 minutes before it was agony on my back, and thinking it must just be me being a weakling.

My other sister bought wraps for my nephew but didn’t use them for long. She had the long woven-type wraps for him to help with his hip dysplasia, but I don’t think ever really wore him outside the house much except when he was very tiny. I LOVE the idea of having my hands free and still being able to carry the Bear, and my experiments with tying the Babymoov wrap suggest it’s pretty easy to do (I was worried I wouldn’t ‘get’ how to do it but it’s so straightforward) so I’m really hoping we get along with it. I’d much rather have him in a wrap than a buggy, especially because our flat is on the second floor with no lift and I really, really don’t want to carry a buggy up that many stairs.

Awesome Baby Offers and Free Baby Stuff in the UK

We don’t have a lot of money. We might have two incomes but on minimum wage and living in a pretty expensive city, it doesn’t leave a lot of disposable income. So although I would really love to buy organic nappies made of soy milk and angel breath, and one of those prams that looks like a spaceship, I’m relying an awful lot on stuff that is free or heavily discounted.

Although there’s still two and a half months to go, I have been trying to Get Organised (note capitals because this is Very Important) and make sure we have most of the stuff we’ll need in the immediate aftermath of impending Babypocalypse. There’s a lot of lists around the place about what stuff to get, one of my sisters sent me a spreadsheet which had been passed to her by her best friend and that’s been very useful, but you can also find a dozen of these on the internet. I particularly liked Lucie’s List, even though it is aimed at people in the USA, because it gives some really great advice along with some product recommendations for different budgets. I also enjoyed The Pregnant Chicken’s Baby on a Budget – The Barest Bare Essentials, although again all products linked are for the US and may not be available easily in the UK. They’re still good to get some ideas.

Although not a comprehensive list of all the things you’re likely to want/need, here’s some of the really good deals I’ve found and taken advantage of. They’re all available in the UK.

Free Changing Bag + Extra Advantage Points (Boots Parenting Club)

It's freeeeee (with a Pampers nappy purchase)

It’s freeeeee (with a Pampers nappy purchase)

Join the Boots Parenting Club (you need to be an advantage card holder, or you need to sign up for the card, and you sort of ‘upgrade’ your membership to the status of Parent, but both of these things are free anyway) and you can get a free changing bag worth £30 when you buy a pack of Pampers nappies. You also get 10 advantage card points for every £1 you spend on baby products. Both offers are also redeemable online once you receive your card and your little welcome pack. And they send you a cute little magazine every now and again with more coupons and product comparisons and all that stuff. If I’m honest, most of it didn’t interest me and I likely won’t use the majority of the coupons, but I needed a changing bag and this one is fairly neutral and was also the cheapest way of getting one.

You’ll need to buy an Essentials Pack of Pampers nappies like this one. I had already bought a whole boatload of nappies (see below) so didn’t really need any more, but figured, what can it hurt? It’s £6.99. The sensitive ones work too.

2 for £35 on Giant Packs of Just4Bums Nappies at Kiddicare

Could possibly insulate the roof with this many nappies.

Could possibly insulate the roof with this many nappies.

Kiddicare is super awesome. The shops are really fun and they have an online store as well. I didn’t go there intending to spend that much money but came away with over £70 worth of crazy good stuff, including two packs of their own brand of nappies. I can’t give a full review just yet, as I don’t have the baby around and Boyfriend refuses to be a test subject, but the reviews online are all extremely good, and they’ve won a whole bunch of awards. I bought the Size 2 (Mini), which goes up to 13lbs. My mum assures me he will not be over 13lbs by 2 months old, so unless I am actually giving birth to an elephant I’m hoping to be OK. Each pack has 196 nappies, so with this offer you’re spending approx 8p per nappy. A jumbo pack of Pampers Size 2 Newborn at Boots works out at approx 13p per nappy, and Boots own brand of Newborn nappies are approx 11p, so this is a pretty great deal. If you order 2 or more packs online you also get free delivery. When I bought them in-store, I also got a free sample of the next size up and a voucher for some money off if I buy them again.

They’re pretty competitively priced even when not on offer, so if I get on with them I’ll probably carry on buying them. The next size up (for babies up to 20lbs) comes in packs of 180, and when not on offer the packs are £19.99. That’s about 12p per nappy, which is cheaper by 3p a nappy than Boots brand nappies in the same size, and they come in bigger packs so you don’t have to keep buying them. Not bad.

Our one problem was finding somewhere to store them while we don’t really need them. We have settled on the boot of the car for now.

On That Note… A Whole Bunch of Stuff from Kiddicare

I could actually become a Kiddicare spokesperson, in fact I should probably write to them and get sponsored, because I could probably talk about them all day. I LOVE how much is available, I love the layout of their shops, and the prices are phenomenal on their own branded products which are really high quality. Unfortunately we don’t have a store close to us, but when visiting family I actually insisted on a day trip to Cribbs Causeway in Bristol (which is still about an hour’s drive from them) so I could go there. It was everything I ever dreamed and more. They stock a lot of Morrisons brand items (they have some kind of partnership) which is pretty great because Morrisons is the other place I really love to shop. Morrisons now has a kid’s clothing range called Nutmeg and I cannot get over how cute these things are. They also have some very reasonable and damn good baby toiletries in the Morrisons Savers range. Baby shampoo for 15p.

Visit a shop if you get a chance – I wanted to try out some stroller/buggy options and see how heavy they were, and they have a whole TON set up for you to try. They also have demo models of things like bouncer chairs, high chairs and travelcots so you can have a look at how big something is, if you are like me and are poor at spacial visualisation.

Free Mum to Be Pack from Emma’s Diary

I don't think the baby is included.

I don’t think the baby is included.

Every day I get approximately 4.5 thousand emails about pregnancy, babies, baby offers or baby anteaters. I don’t know how I managed to get this one because I didn’t know about this site, but I have been extremely free with my email address of late in hopes of getting ALL THE THINGS that are on offer or being given away. This, it turns out, is a pretty decent strategy.

I have no idea what’s in this pack as I haven’t gone to collect mine yet, but all you have to do is create a free account at Emma’s Diary (I don’t know who Emma is, I haven’t worked out if she is an actual person who had a baby once and wrote about it, or just some kind of Cunning Marketing Ploy like those people on the BT adverts that you get really attached to then remember are not real) and you get a voucher to print off and take to Argos or Boots and get a pack of things For Freeee. I didn’t see any reason not to since you don’t have to buy anything and at this point I’ll take anything that’s free, if it turns out to be made of broken glass or infected with anthrax I can always just not use it. There are a lot of other contests and prize draws and that kind of thing linked to from the site – some of them are probably not worth it as you have to give them your mobile number or address and will probably be bombarded with brochures for timeshares/classic cars/luxurious holidays in That Bit of Benidorm where the Average Age is 102, but there’s a couple that are very straightforward and just involve you giving them your name and clicking a button. I like buttons. Lovely, no-strings-attached buttons.

Half Price Name Brand Assorted Goodies at TryItClub

What will we do with all the things?!

What will we do with all the things?!

TryItClub is basically a sort of pay to receive samples type of site. All the products are half what you’d normally pay for them, with only £2.99 delivery. It’s probably not worth it if you only wanted two or three specific things – I’d probably head to Boots or something when they had a decent offer on, 3 for 2 tends to be pretty good, and get the advantage card points at the same time with my snazzy Parenting Club membership – but the selection packs seem like a good deal if you want to trial a bunch of stuff for pretty cheap. The Selection Try It Pack includes 21 different products of varying brands, like nappies, wipes, nappy cream, antiseptic handwash, baby lotion, nursing pads, pregnancy vitamin supplements, baby bottles and a soother, and costs £47.96 when all these products would normally be £92.54. You get a selection of brands, from the ordinary stuff like Huggies and Johnson’s to the more specialist organic type things like Naty. It seems to me to be a great chance to have different brands of stuff just in case your baby decides they really don’t like whatever brand you decided on and just being in the presence of Pampers or Bepanthen or whatever makes them break out in purple spots and grow horns. No really – apparently it’s a very serious problem.

This way, at least you’ll have a couple of back-ups if it turns out that your baby has a bad reaction to Huggies, or thinks the bottles you bought taste like poo. You’ve got a couple of options and can experiment cheaply instead of having to invest in order to try something that might not work for you. If it turns out that the only nappies Bellydweller will wear are the organic imported cashmere hypoallergenic £900 a pack ones, then who am I to deny him (oh please please please don’t be true).

Free Baby/Mum to Be Packs from Bounty

OK, OK, I know there is a bit of controversy over Bounty as a company (see this article from the Guardian if you have no idea what I’m on about) and I couldn’t agree more that what they do is pretty horrid. However at this point I can’t afford to turn down free things for the sake of my principles, unfortunately, nor am I ever likely to do so because it’s free. If it was a case of having to buy something from them in order to get this free stuff, I probably wouldn’t. But I kind of figure that if anything they lose something by giving me free stuff, and by wasting their marketing resources on me for stuff I’ll never buy. I’ve also given strict instructions to Boyfriend that he is not to let anyone but him take photos of me or make me sign anything, and Jaime is pretty good at not wanting to do what other people tell him to. So – they give me stuff, I don’t give them anything, and we’ll be rude right back at their representatives if they try any of their shit. Sounds like a win-win.