food, Lists

Best freebies for mums and mums-to-be

There are loads of freebies and samples available for mums and mums to be – you just have to know where to look to find them!

Here are a few of my favourites and where to find them:

Bounty
I 100% recommend the Bounty app and picking up their packs from ASDA if possible. The app contains screeds of information and resources from the moment you find out you’re expecting, right up until, well at least 11 months as we are still getting updates and information! Plus, asĀ  your bump grows week by week, the app shows you how big baby’s foot would be at that moment – majorly cute! They offer multiple freebie packs, from when you’re expecting, to when your baby is born (that pack is usually handed to you in hospital) and for when your little one is growing. I mentioned getting their packs from ASDA – their packs are also available at Boots, and possibly still Argos, but especially when you get to the growing family pack, some of the freebies change. ASDA’s includes samples of their nappy and babycare range, as well as items from George.

Emma’s Diary
Similar to Bounty, Emma’s Diary offers a wealth of information and advice for mums. They have an app that I’d definitely recommend any expectant mums download. They offer goody bags for mums to be, new parents and as your family grows. You’ll often find Emma’s Diary at baby and toddler shows too. They are a must-bookmark resource of everything you could ever want to know about pregnancy through to taking care of a growing baby. They even have a baby names section if you’re struggling in that department!

Cow and Gate
Cow and Gate were one of the first freebies I came across – mentioned in mum’s forums and possibly also even by Martin Lewis (Money Saving Expert). I signed up online with them, and within a few days I got a welcome pack through the post with information about the brand, what resources they have available online and over the phone. It also came with a pregnancy diary which was part-journal, part full of tips and reminders of things such as what to pack in your hospital bag, areas for name suggestions and more. Nearer to when Travis was born, I also received a wee Cow and Gate teddy for him, along with some milk vouchers. In fact, Cow and Gate are really good at sending out vouchers and samples, which are handy to even share with other mums if you don’t end up using their milk. They also offer money off their food products too, which have been a lifesaver for us.

Ella’s Kitchen
I love how handy the Ella’s Kitchen fruit and veg pouches are. There’s no denying they have been a great help in weaning Travis and are still useful to have around, to make sure Travis is getting the right amount of fruit or veg a day. However I could easily have overlooked them as a more expensive supermarket brand, had I not signed up to receive a freebie. Not only do they send a coupon for a free pouch, you also get a handy weaning guide, wall chart, stickers and more.

Arla
You may have heard of Arla on the TV adverts – you know the ones for the Skyr yoghurt? Well apparently they do a range of different milks too – and some are perfect for kids growing up (post 12-months it seems). in addition to offering various vouchers for their milk and yoghurts, Arla also give you a cute height chart for signing up to them, so you can mark your baby’s height progress as their bones grow healthy and strong from the milk presumably!

Pampers Baby Club
With the rate babies go through them, who wouldn’t love some free nappies? Pampers baby club regularly send out samples, starting with first size for newborns when you sign up. We’ve just recently received a couple of pairs nappy pants, along with a coupon for money off a full pack. Coupons are also a regular occurrence, along with some great rewards you can redeem on the Pampers Baby Club app. Scan receipts of your nappies to collect points and claim freebies such as magazine subscriptions, vouchers for nappies, baby books, toys and more.

Baby Box
Ok, so this is a slight cheat but by far the best freebie out there is the Scottish Government’s Baby Box. Unfortunately you’ll have to be living in Scotland, which your child being born here in order to get one, but there’s honestly nothing else you could need for a newborn that doesn’t come in this box. Clothes, thermometers, bath stuff, carrier – there’s so many good things inside I wrote a post dedicated to it last year.

Those are my top baby freebies I’ve found – well at least the ones that seem to be regular and stable, rather than flash freebies or sales. Can you think of any I’ve missed? If there are more good ones out there I am always keen to try them, so please share your wisdom!

Mother and Baby classes, mum life

Top 5 free things to do on maternity leave

This list is post baby, not for any mat leave when impatiently waiting for baby to get here. I’ve been there, done that! If that’s what you’re after then maybe this post might help?

Everyone has different ideas about mat leave and how they would like to spend it with their children. However not everyone has a limitless budget to spend on things for baby to see, do and learn from every day so sometimes us mums have to get creative. Thankfully there are also some free resources out there that mums can enjoy with babies. Here are the top free things I’ve utilised whilst on mat leave.

Walking
If its nice (even if its not) then getting your baby out in the fresh air can be a great for both you and him/her. As my mat leave has fallen predominantly in a horrendous winter, there have been times where we literally couldn’t get a pram out in the street for snow/ice, and it really made a difference to our days. Walking gives mum’s gentle exercise whilst breaking up the day for you and baby. Plus babies love seeing and taking in everything going on around them, so a walk provides more stimulus for their senses. And to top it off, Travis loves sleeping in his pram so walks have also been a good, free, helper with sleep and naps.

Going to the park
As I said, my mat leave has been predominantly in winter so there haven’t been a great deal of times to enjoy the park so far, but we go there if we can. Great combined with point 1, the park is a great place to walk through, or to have a wee rest on a nice bench if you’ve overdone it on the walking or need to stop for a feed (for either you or baby, I’m not judging!). Plus, as your little one grows stronger, baby swings and slides become more appealing. A 10 minute play on the swings on an otherwise boring day can burn up energy for your little one, and give you a lot of joy as they giggle their little heads off going back and forth!

Soft play
Soft play is a great invention for kids of all ages, and in our area (and most places I’m assuming?) infants under 1 go free. Admittedly we’ve only started going since the wee fella turned 6 months old, but as long as your kiddo can sit up they will be able to get some enjoyment from it. He loves the ball pit, any mirrors and, after a few confused attempts, the baby slides.

Bookbug
We started going to a bookbug group at our local library in January (see our January firsts) and I couldn’t recommend it enough. As far as I know this seems to be a government initiative (in Scotland anyway) which encourages a love of reading from a young age. The group is for young babies and toddlers and combines nursery rhymes with stories and play to instil an interest in reading, but to break up activities enough so that children aren’t expected to sit still and pay attention for long periods of time. The only criticism is that bookbug runs during term times, which has meant no classes during Easter/Christmas/summer breaks in line with schools. Although it’s free, place a are limited, and you need to sign up through your local authority’s website or page for library services.

Baby massage/baby yoga
Again, I’m not sure if this is just a Scottish service, or even just specific to central Scotland. Our local authorities run a number of free mother and baby classes, again often taking place at the library or community centres. The main ones in our area are baby massage, baby yoga and breastfeeding support classes. I’ve never been to the latter but can definitely recommend both the former classes. Baby massage was great for the wee man’s colic, and we still use some massage techniques today to calm him before bed, help with colic or teething, or just to help promote development. Similarly, the baby yoga is great for their muscle and bone development, and helps you remember some of those old nursery rhymes if you’re a bit rusty!

So those are the great free things we’ve been getting up to on mat leave. I’m really interested to know if there are any other great cost-free activities we are missing, or if there are different local services in different areas. I’d love to get your thoughts!