Our economy has tanked. People who once held good jobs no longer have them. Some work in lower paying positions, while others are going back to school to learn a trade or skill to make ends meet. Either way when a new baby comes into the picture the budget gets tighter. There are many options for these families to obtain cheap and or free supplies for baby and mother. Some places even have items for older children as well.
One government program supported in most of the States is called W.I.C., which stands for Woman, Infant, and Children. Once a woman finds out she is pregnant she can contact her local W.I.C. officeand set up an appointment. Each state has their own requirements for this program and they can vary greatly once approved; though a woman will get milk, cheese, eggs, bread, cereal, peanut butter, juice, vegetables and beans. The amounts given vary by state as well. Once baby is born a non breast feeding mother will continue her program for six months. Breastfeeding mothers will get additional foods such as tuna fish. Mothers who chose not to breast feed will receive formula for first six months, after set life dates baby will receive cereals, vegetables, fruits and meats. Breast fed babies will start getting food at six months such as cereals and continue on as the other babies do. When breastfeeding is not enough, or in case of multiple births may also get supplemental formula. As these children grow their foods will change to solid foods like the mother was getting during pregnancy. They continue through the age of five. Older children and mothers in some states also get farmer’s checks which are to be used at local farms and markets for locally grown fruits and vegetables.
The W.I.C. offices usually have other items around as well. These are almost always donated items that can range from clothing and diapers to books, car seats, coupons, hats and mittens, etc. Breast pumps for breastfeeding mothers are offered too. W.I.C. will also keep track of baby’s weight, and do health screenings. They will also have lists of food banks in the area. These food banks are often run by churches and are a great place to find baby foods as well as grown up foods for the family.
State governments have many, many programs that people do not realize are there to help. Often one thinks of food stamps and assistance as being for those who do not work, but in fact the rates are based not only off of income, but off of family size as well. Each new baby changes the budget, they do not come with money in hand. Programs such as bright beginnings help cover the burden of insurance costs for those both with or without insurance. Mother and baby are usually covered for anywhere between 6 – 12 months after birth. Depending on the state other programs are offered as well that can help with housing, heating, food, medical and transportation. Visit your States assistance website for more information and if finding it is hard, simply call a local office and ask to meet with someone who can help you find the programs you need and will qualify for.
As the States have their own programs so does our Federal government. Programs that help also with food, housing, mortgages, taxes, medicare and more are all offered for those willing to look for them and fill out the paper work. There is a lot of paper work but worth it for those willing to take the time.
Often Churches, legions, troops and other organizations hold fundraisers and or hand out items to low income families. Especially around the holiday season. Groups such as AGAPE can be found in many States and they will help families to find the help they need as well as helping with supplies. Salvation Army and Good Will stores sometimes have give away days. Call and ask your local store.
Then of coarse there is the wonderful world of the Internet. From the time a woman becomes pregnant she can start filling out for freebies. Most of the major brands such as Enfamil, Gerber, Huggies, Pampers and Playtex have welcome bags and goodies for a new baby. Often they have reward programs and coupons as well. Freebie sites offer links to all types of freebies. Remember a sample isn’t free if you have to pay money for it. Never give information that can be used to steal identities either.
Babies are our hopes and dreams, and yes there are ways to make life a little easier when it comes to finances, one just needs to look for them.