I once calculated how much I'd spent in diapers between my children. The price was staggering. In the beginning, I bought the crunchiest disposable diapers available. After that messy lesson, I switched to a popular brand that cost nearly as much. I never really thought about what I would do if I couldn't pay for them, but where can you get free diapers for your baby? It makes sense to wonder — it cost me thousands of dollars to hold my baby's crap.
Don't get me wrong, I was exceedingly grateful for those things. Baby messes are something special, that's for sure. But between diapers, wipes, creams, ointments, new sheets and sleepers, stain remover, and sweat equity, the expense of it all is fairly extreme. It can put a heavy burden on families. No one should ever wonder how they're going to keep their baby clean in 2017, but here we are. In the United States, there is no government program available that pays for diapers. WIC and food stamps only cover nutrition, leaving families in the lurch when it comes to basics like diapers, wipes, and feminine hygiene products. In some states, they're even a taxable good, which seems to be just an insult to injury, but there you have it.
There are resources available to you if you need them, though. Also, don't discount cloth diapers if you have the means to launder them. They're often easier to get at free or reduced cost, not to mention they're way better for the environment, and you can be super smug about that. (Unrelated, but once you're done diapering your baby, those diapers really make the best dusting cloths and glass cleaners.)
The first resource is the diaper manufacturers themselves. Huggies, Luvs, and Pampers, as well as the Honest Company, offer either rewards programs or incentives to their customers that end in free diapers. They also each have samples available that they will send you to entice you to their brand.
If you're planning on having a shower, or even if you're not, when you register at stores like Target and Babies R Us, you're given a welcome pack that includes diapers, wipes, and formula, all for free.
Look out for freebie websites, too. There are a ton of them, but they can lead to some really good deals or giveaways. Sure, you might have to fill out an online survey or the like, but it ends in free stuff.
You can also check out the National Diaper Bank Network. This is a collection of neighborhood diaper banks around the country that are really doing the work to collect donations and get the diapers to the people who need them most.
Not exactly free, as you'll be paying with your time by taking surveys and online responses, but Swagbucks pays in Amazon gift cards, and their diaper rates are really competitive, too.
But honestly, cloth diapers, as I mentioned earlier, have the most robust free diaper programs and they're the easiest to access. Groups like Giving Diapers, Giving Hope and The Rebecca Foundation's Cloth Diaper Closet offer free cloth diapers to those in need. Alternatively, you can get free or very cheap cloth diapers from online forums like Diaper Swappers that specialize in recycled (highly laundered) cloth diapers. Change-Diapers.com is a great resource with a link every Friday for cloth diaper giveaways they've found online, too.
Additionally, Ebay and Craigslist frequently have loads of listings for cloth diapers, many willing to pay in trade.
I have many friends who've chosen to diaper their babies this way, and have had great success with it. Yes, they can be a pain in the butt, but they're enormously cost effective and some of the diaper covers truly could not be cuter. If you need help, don't be ashamed to ask for it. After all, it takes a village, right?
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
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