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As most parents know, or quickly find out, babies are not cheap. One of the most expensive products I found was diapers. Sure, the furniture is more pricey, but over time, if you pay the regular full price, diapers can really add up! Not to mention it can be quite frustrating to spend all that money on something that will ultimately be thrown away. 
 

How many diapers should you have on hand for a newborn?

As a new parent, you can expect to change your newborn’s diaper 8 to 12 times a day. Multiply that number by 7 days a week, and you realize how important it is to have a stable supply of diapers on hand. That number of diaper changes equals 56 to 84 diapers per week. That’s an average of 70 per week. A box of 140 disposable diapers for a newborn would last about 2 weeks.
 

Here are some places where you can get diapers for free:

 

Diaper Banks

A good place to get free disposable diapers is through your local diaper bank. Diaper banks receive diaper donations and then give them to families for free. Some sites have income requirements, but others do not. 
 
Some diaper banks have more formal programs, such as the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which provides families with 40 diapers per child per month. Other organizations like the Texas Diaper Bank based in San Antonio reserve their diapers, wipes, and other healthcare items for families with low incomes in more than a dozen counties. This helps to ensure the resources are helping children who are most in need. Look up your state to find your closest one that is part of the National Diaper Bank Network. If none of those is close enough for you, dial 211 or ask around at your closest food pantry or house of worship. 
 
Diaper banks are not limited to disposable diapers. If you want to use cloth diapers, there are diaper banks for that, too. Just check out my previous article, free cloth diapers for those in need. Cloth diapers can be a way to save money in the long term.
 

Doctor’s Office or Hospital

After delivering your child, take home everything they give you, which will inevitably include some diapers. Doctor’s offices get a lot of freebies, including vitamins, medication, baby formula, diapers, and other baby goods. But unfortunately, these items often go unused or sit in a closet, forgotten about until someone asks. Look around the waiting room and ask. They are often desperate to get rid of these things cluttering up their office. This is a good way to get free diaper rash cream, lotions, and formula.  
 
Before leaving the hospital, after giving birth, you should also ask for any diaper samples or supplies they can send home with you, including iced perineal pads for mom as well! They are often very happy to help!
 

Community Resources

In addition, some areas might have their local Jobs and Family Services (the offices that handle food stamps/Medicaid) that give out emergency diapers. Head Start is run sometimes by Community Action Agencies. Contact your local agency to see what other connections they know about. 
 
Community-based programs, such as the Moms Helping Moms Foundation in New Jersey, the Basics4Babies emergency pantry and mobile pantry in South Florida, and Mother to Mother in Nashville, Tennessee are excellent resources!
 
If you are receiving WIC or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, check there as well as pregnancy resource centers. Community-based resources like the Salvation Army or United Way may be keeping lists of local resources as well.
 
Did you know Medicaid covers diapers for toddlers and older children as well as adults who have conditions that cause incontinence? To get free diapers, your healthcare provider must determine that diapers are medically necessary. For children and adolescents under 21 with Medicaid, the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit can cover the costs of diapers for children with incontinence. Children older than 3 or 4 with medical conditions such as cerebral palsy are eligible to receive incontinence supplies from the EPSDT program. Details vary by state. 
 
Families with low incomes may receive financial assistance through their state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. TANF is cash assistance for food, clothing, and other essential needs including medical supplies not covered by Medicaid. Often, however, families receiving TANF still struggle to buy diapers. States receive TANF funding from the federal government as a block grant, which means each state can use the money in different ways to assist families. Some states provide diaper allowances.
 
Also, consider asking your local food banks if they can be of any assistance as well.
 

Sign up for Mailing Lists

Many companies will send you free samples and coupons simply for giving them your email address. Coupons for free diapers and other discounted and free baby items are all over the place if you know where to look. First, pick up a Sunday newspaper and clip coupons the old-fashioned way. Then, visit the manufacturer’s websites and sign up to receive coupons via email. Some stores text you coupons or deals or send them to their app on your phone.
 
Here is a list of some companies that may mail coupons:
 
Also, grocery stores and pharmacies always have sales or two-for-one specials. Sign up for free loyalty cards for all your local shops to ensure you never miss a deal. Some stores will even let you combine coupons with specials or sales, saving you even more cash. 
 
Target’s Circle program is another way to score points and earn discounts on much-needed baby items. It is free to sign up, and there are new deals and exclusives for members each week. 
 
If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can order your bay diapers and other necessities with their subscribe and save option. It typically saves buyers 5%, but discounts can go as high as 15%.
 
Many retailers will give you a free baby box or free baby bag filled with goodies when you create a baby registry. This courtesy bundle can include essential baby items like:
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Formula
  • Bottles
  • Clothes
  • Toys
 
In addition to free gifts, you may receive product coupons. These are some of the retailers that offer new families a free baby box or goody bag without an additional purchase or shipping cost:
 
When you create your baby registry, you can add diapers to your gift-giver wish list to help reduce future costs. 
 
Also, here are some recent free diaper samples to consider:
 

How can I donate diapers to a local organization?

If you’d like to donate diapers or make a financial gift to a local diaper bank, check the NDBN directory to find a diaper bank near you. You also can give diapers to a local food bank that distributes diapers or specify that your financial gift is for diapers. Despite corporate sponsors and products from diaper manufacturers, local diaper banks rely on donations from individuals like you to serve their communities.
 

The bottom line

Diaper need is a growing public health crisis that affects many families in the U.S. If providing diapers for your child is challenging for your family, there are diaper banks and other organizations that can help.
 
If you receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), your state or tribe may offer a diaper allowance for infants and toddlers. If you have Medicaid and your child has a medical condition that causes incontinence past the age of 3 or 4, diapers may be covered by your insurance plan. Depending on the state, adults with Medicaid coverage and a diagnosed condition that causes incontinence may qualify for free diapers. Additionally, some retailers and diaper brands offer free diaper samples and other essential baby items if you connect with them on social media, share your email address, download a company’s app, or complete a baby registry.
 
BONUS: Check out the latest baby freebies currently available while you are here and save some money!
 
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