My little guide to baby freebies

Some things in life are worth paying for. But definitely not those things one can get for free! During pregnancy and motherhood numerous companies are fighting for you to become their customer. How? By literally forcefeeding you samples and coupons. All you have to do is employ a tiny bit of initiative because I’ve done the research for you. Here is the list of my favourite free stuff:

  • Emma’s Diary

Sign up here and you can claim four gift packs with various baby goodies, including a full pack of nappies. No purchase necessary.

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  • Bounty Packs

You should receive your first Bounty Pack – Pregnancy Information Folder at your first midwife appointment. If you didn’t, ask for it. Just like Emma’s Diary bags, Bounty Packs are filled with free samples and money off coupons, they also contain information booklets about what to buy and how to care for your new baby. Besides already mentioned Pregnancy Information Folder and a Newborn Pack that you’ll get in hospital after you’ve had your baby, there are two more sample bags that you can claim via the Bounty app. You can register and find more info here.

  • Pampers Club

Download the Pampers Club app and start uploading receipts from your Pampers purchases which will gain you points that you can redeem when buying more nappy supplies. Be smart! Whatever you do, do not ever pay a full price for a pack of nappies because that’s exactly what the retailer wants you to do. I personally wait for nappies to be on special and then I apply my coupons making my nappies super cheap, if not free. Tesco seems to have Pampers nappies at half price on a regular basis (so far every other month) so stock up then.

  • Boots Parenting Club

You can link your Boots loyalty card to their parenting club. You’ll benefit from 10 points for every pound spent on baby items. On top of that you’ll receive an extra stash of coupons and a freebie each quarter – currently you have a choice between a MAM bottle and a soother, or a pack of breast pads. I noticed that when you use the Boots app, it can be combined with equivalent paper coupons – this might be a glitch but I’m not going to complain about it. For example, I had a Pampers baby wipes 50p off coupon that came both in paper and electronic version. I waited for the wipes to be on special – for £1. I used my paper coupon, and the app automatically applied the e-coupon which gave me a free pack of wipes that normally sells for £1.50.

  • Amazon Prime

There are freebies and promotions running constantly for Amazon Prime members who create a baby wish list and purchase items from it. I find Amazon Prime excellent value for money. The membership costs £79 per year and the biggest perk is free delivery, including one day delivery. So if you’re planning to make two or more Amazon purchases every month, it’s a good deal. Otherwise, you can wait for a promotion that appeals to you and then get a trial of Amazon Prime that is free as long as you cancel within a month. The recent freebies included a MAM bottle, a Tommee Tippee nappy bin and my favourite one – Amazon baby box (see below). I’m sure there will be more coming in the future.

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  • Cow and Gate

Register here to receive a free cow toy, pregnancy diary and money off coupons.

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  • Ella’s Kitchen

Become Ella’s Kitchen friend to get a free weaning pack and coupons to try their products for free.

Those are the best clubs and offers I have found. There are more, including for example Tesco Baby Club, but they didn’t take my breath away. You can also join several freebie websites like https://www.mumandbabyonline.co.uk/ but when signing up for those you have to be prepared to receive a serious amount of junk mail in your mailbox. A solution is to create a separate email address for your freebies and loyalty clubs so they don’t mix with your important emails.

Also, whenever you are making a major purchase in a shop, ask for a discount. The store manager has the authority to award you a discount for pretty much no reason. When I was buying my pram in Mothercare I got £10 off and a booklet with vouchers. I mean £10 isn’t a lot, but it gets you a decent bottle of wine and a Starbucks frappucino so why not? My trick is to ask whether they do a single mum discount. Yes, I’m milking it. So send your partner away or make him look like your gay best friend and pretend to be a poor single mummy. Cheeky but effective…

Hopefully I just made your life little easier and cheaper. Now please tell me about your favourite freebies!

How my job prepared me for motherhood

When my munchkin was about two weeks old, one of my friends came to visit. We usually hang out in a local cafe, but she in an attempt to do me a favor suggested coming to my place. I had a new baby after all so I surely didn’t feel like going out, right? Wrong! Me and little Derry were out and about since the day we got home from the hospital.

When this friend came over she was surprised, if not shocked, that my flat was actually clean, I had make-up on, my hair wasn’t greasy and I looked fresh (according to her). On top of that there was freshly brewed coffee and biscuits ready on the table.

It was brought to my attention that apparently it’s not normal to be this collected and organised when caring for a new baby, especially not when it’s one’s first child and the said person has never changed a single nappy before. It got me thinking – how comes that I seem to have it all together? And what abilities do I possess that prevented me from loosing my shit?

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It occurred to me that skills necessary to run a respectable household without any help while handling a newborn who requires constant attention, are not that far from skills required to successfully carry out my job. I spent the past two years working as a customer service manager for a major airline. When I say “customer service manager” I mean a crew herder, problem fixer, pilot server and a customer punchbag. My standard workday was filled with dramatic and intense moments, pressure from multiple directions and frequent time constraints. Just to give you an example, when boarding a flight I would find myself talking on the aircraft interphone while the dispatcher was ringing my work mobile with an urgent message, a customer was complaining to me in French, I was trying to figure out how to have a minor technical issue in the cabin fixed without delaying the plane, while pilots were impatiently waiting for their cups of tea served with the correct amount of sugar and a precise measure of milk. All at the same moment.

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No stress 🙂

In this job I’ve truly learnt to multitask, set priorities, eliminate tasks that are not immediately critical, and not give in to stress and pressure. Oddly enough, a high-pressure working environment made me relaxed and chilled rather than stressed. (Wine (obviously not drank on duty) was/is a contributing factor but more about that in another blog post.) What is more, frequent traveling and overnight flights meant jetlag and a lack of sleep. To be able to cope I’ve learnt how to sleep/nap anywhere and whenever I have a chance – which is a crucial ability of a “successful” single mum.

So how do these skills come handy in motherhood? Well, most importantly, when my baby screams it doesn’t stress me out. Cry always means something so I go and fix whatever is wrong. When one can keep smiling while a passenger is shouting right in their face, handling a crying baby calmly is a breeze. Secondly, when my son naps I don’t waste this precious time watching TV or reading a book because I can do that while he’s feeding. Breastfeeding is a super productive time for me – besides enjoying my favourite TV show, I catch up on my emails, reply to messages, write birthday cards, read and get organised. Actually, I’m feeding him right now. Then when he naps I do all the tasks I am not able to complete when breastfeeding – mainly housework, make-up, shower etc. I also try to nap whenever I can.

My munchkin loves to be carried around the flat so he can look at things. I often use a sling so I have hands free to do little jobs around the flat. If I carry him on my shoulder, I can still do plenty of things one-handed, like for example putting away the dishes or taking down dry laundry (no, I don’t have a tumble dryer) which he finds quite fascinating.

So as I single mum I’m still able to cope, look like a respectable woman and live in a clean and well-organised home. It is not easy (especially since there is no man who comes home after work to relieve some of the pressure) but it is much easier than I thought it’d be. My advise is – prioritise, multitask, don’t waste a single moment and most importantly – don’t stress. And have some wine and chocolates as a reward for a job well done 🙂