Let's face it, having a baby is expensive. Whether you have a singleton or multiples, the costs add up.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways that new mom's out there can save money when you have a new baby; either in the form of insurance coverage that you wouldn't expect, companies offering 'freebies' or random employee benefits. Here's a list of ways you can save money when you have a new baby in hopes that you'll be able to stay in the black on this awesome, yet expensive journey of parenthood.
- Breast Pumps
First off, you don't HAVE to buy one. Shoppers Home Health offers rentals of hospital grade pumps on a weekly or monthly basis. Whether you buy or rent, many insurance companies will cover all or at least some of the cost. You will likely need a doctors note as well as a copy of your receipt in order to claim this benefit.
- Lactation Consultants (LC)
If you contact your local Le Leche league your LC visits are free!For any US readers: As of August 2010, US residents are eligible to receive coverage on visits by a lactation consultant (these visits can range from $100+ per visit depending on the type of service provided)Coverage Includes: "Comprehensive lactation support and counselling, by a trained provider during pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period, and costs for renting breastfeeding equipment."
- Infant Formula
Unfortunately this is a tough one. Most infant formulas aren't covered. Many companies who make formula will send samples and coupons but it's one area where you will likely have to pay out of pocket.The prescription formula Neocate has made news recently in terms of coverage. This specialized, prescription formula is used in cases ranging from cows milk allergies to necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) as well as other conditions.The catch that many parents have found with this formula is that even though it comes with a prescription it lacks a DIN (drug identification number) which is why most insurance companies don't consider it a drug. It's considered a nutritional supplement and isn't usually covered by insurance. This is currently an ongoing battle that has been won in a handful of cases in Alberta but has yet to be finalized in Ontario.
- Medications and Vitamins
Whether it's prenatal vitamins or a prescription for your new baby, many insurance companies provide coverage. It may require a doctors note and might not cover you 100% but usually a portion will be covered.
- Prenatal Massage
Check out your coverage when it comes to your annual allotment for massages and similar treatments. With a doctors note, a certain dollar amount or percentage could be covered.
- Your Hospital Stay
When it comes time to deliver your bundle (or bundles) of joy, many insurance providers cover a portion of your stay. Whether it's a private room or a semi-private room, the percentage covered will vary based on your coverage package. For example some plans cover a fixed dollar amount per day (i.e.: $200/day) while others cover a percentage of reimbursement (i.e.: 85% reimbursement).
If your baby or babies start their life adventure with a NICU stay then remember this: YOU DON'T HAVE TO START YOUR MATERNITY/PARENTAL LEAVE UNTIL THEY COME HOME.You could be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits for Parents of Critically Ill Children (PCIC). Parents of preemie babies can apply for it.
In the event (and I pray that it never happens) that your vehicle is in an accident you will hear the same thing from region to region: "A child seat is designed for one impact and one impact only. Any child seat involved in a motor vehicle collision MUST be replaced, whether or not the seat is occupied at the time of the collisionMost insurance companies will cover the replacement of the child seat as part of the collision claim." - Peel Regional Police
- Tax Exemptions
One area that we do catch a break when it comes to expenses are point-of-sale exemptions. That's right, we aren't required to pay the Ontario portion (8%) of the HST on items like books, kids clothing and shoes, carseats and diapers.
- The Squeaky Wheel
If you're ever unsatisfied with a product or service… tell the company about it. 90% of the time that I did this I was at least offered a coupon in return if not a free replacement. The best example I can give is the amazing customer service from a car seat company. We purchased two carseats from them and were accidentally given the cup holders from the previous years' model. They didn't fit and wouldn't stay firmly in place resulting in many messy car rides. I contacted the company and within a week I had two proper holders at no extra charge!
- Miscellaneous Items
Items ranging from pregnancy pillows to various vitamins and even bandaids can be claimed in the US through FSA coverage. Many pre and post baby items are even covered in the US without a doctors note this way. For more information on about FSA and items covered visit www.fsastore.com
- Free Stuff
Don't forget to sign up for free stuff! There are lots of companies out there that want to help you save money when you have a new baby, and of course buy their product. Whether you're at one of those baby shows or in a local children's store it can save you money. Yes, it will likely mean quite a few junk emails (set up an email account designated for that type of stuff) but the savings are sometimes well worth it.From coupons to freebies and even recalls, you can receive some pretty useful stuff that can save you money. This article was originally posted September 2015 and updated August 2017.