I had pretty rubbish or a complete lack of antenatal care for the first half, so a lot of things I had to do and find out or sort out myself, such as blood tests, scans, what I was entitled to, all sorts.
I was lucky though, as one thing I did get help on was what useful sites and clubs to join up to to get free gifts, samples, vouchers and advice. Thanks to my other pregnant or new mummy friends, such as Mel Matthews Kirsty Croston and Emma Louise
To help out a friend, who is thinking of trying for another along time after their first, I'm writing a list of the many places I have signed up to (and perhaps also to help myself due to pregnancy brain making me a bit forgetful) and I thought writing a blog would be a good idea if anyone else out there would like some pointers. Plus loads of the sites I will mention do loads of fab competitions which is always a bonus!
So for those of you who are in a similar position to what I was, or already got a little one and looking for some more useful sites to join up to, here's some useful lists linked to the sign up pages:
Mother and Baby Clubs:
- Tesco's baby and toddler club -they save you money by sending you lots of handy vouchers, for example one for 50% off Johnsons baby starter pack and also a mother and baby parking permit so you can use the spaces close to the store up to your child's 3rd birthday. Selected Johnsons products are also buy one get one free currently.
- Boots parenting club -another club to send you lots of handy vouchers for money off products and also start out by giving you an amazing free changing bag with separate compartments, a changing mat and a bottle warming pocket. Not only that but for every baby product you then buy, you will get 10 points on your Boots card for every £1 spent, instead of the regular 4 points. Bigger Boots stores have a wide range of baby products including a lovely clothing range, which has a 2 for 1 deal on selected items currently. With the use of one of the vouchers they sent me, just for buying a Philips Avent product i got this: Future mother must haves free!
- Toys R Us Mother and Baby club - Babies R Us have a fabulous range of products and often at cheaper prices than other baby product retailers, so this is a great one to sign up to. If you don't already have a Gold card (which will get you loads of points from your purchases, and points mean prizes! Well vouchers for money off toys, which lets face it you will need with children) you will be signed up automatically when joining this club. They send you vouchers off Babies R Us products or money off when you spend a certain amount in store and keep you up to date on their latest offers, which often involve half price goods, which is pretty handy when babies cost so much to stock up for. I got three half price bedding sets from here (two for the cot-bed and one the crib) and my fisher price baby bouncer at £10 cheaper than other retailers.
- Sainsbury's Little Ones - I've only just joined today. Found out about it on the Huggies forum. It offers a free gift of baby goodies worth £9.99, money off vouchers and they have loads of handy healthy recipes on the site. Looks like a good one.
Hospital Linked Clubs:
As long as your midwife isn't totally useless like my current one, she should offer you either the Emma's Diary Magazine or the Bounty magazine which also acts as a pregnancy diary. Both are full of useful articles and advice, vouchers and cards to get your free packs from them at different stages in your pregnancy:
ED 3 Free Packs
Bounty 5 Free Packs
I got Emma's diary from my first midwife, so I asked at my hospital antenatal department about Bounty and they gave me my first free pack there. The cards then generally ask you to go to Argos, Lloyds or Boots to pick up your packs depending on which club.
The magazines are very useful, but also its a good idea to check out their websites as they have competitions, give you a chance to talk to other mother and mums to be and help you keep track of your pregnancy, giving you detailed updates appropriate to your stage, if you select which week you are on their time lines. They also have fun apps such as baby name generators or suggestions, if you are struggling in that area and advice on relationships, managing money and useful information on labor and giving birth.
- Aptamil Baby Club As well as receiving a free cute cuddly polar bear for your growing bump/future bundle of joy, you will receive plenty of advice on nutrition and pregnancy. Their site is very informative and you can talk to someone directly if you need to. They advise you on baby and toddler nutrition, and your own diet as well as useful articles on morning sickness and regular emails updating you of your stage in pregnancy.
- Cow and Gate Similar to the above, except you get a free cuddly cow (although I did have to ask for mine as it didn't turn up to begin with) and a free pregnancy diary. Also apparently money off vouchers. Now I know these companies produce formula milk, but they are not just for those bottle feeding. They give great advice on breast feeding, do follow on milk and other baby and toddler food products and give handy nutritional, pregnancy and parenting advice and support if needed.
- Hipp Baby Club For advice during your pregnancy and after for your growing baby, and free food samples, and occasional competitions, this is another good one to join.
- Heinz Baby club Money off vouchers, free samples, advice and competitions and a friendly looking easy to use, informative nutrition site.
- SMA baby club You will have probably seen the adverts for this. I'm going to join today as I've not got round to it yet, but it looks a great site and with free recipe ideas for weaning etc I'm thinking its going to be pretty useful!
- Made for Mums - the website linked to the fabulous Practical Parenting and Pregnancy Magazine.
- Ask A Mum - the website linked to the very useful & informative Pregnancy & Birth and Mother & Baby Magazines
- Baby Expert - the website linked to the brilliant Prima Baby and Pregnancy Magazine
- Great Competitions -Both Mother & Baby Magazine and Pregnancy & Birth magazine use this for people to enter their competitions.
- The Baby Website
- Baby World
- Mum Street
- Gurgle - fab site also with loads of competitions
So they are well worth signing up to!
I recently won a 200ml bottle of Clinica stretch mark tissue oil from Mumstreet.co.uk and I never win competitions, so that's worth a look too!
Again Many of these have Facebook pages, so keep a look out! All of these sites and clubs ask for your babies due date so can send you pregnancy stage updates which are nice to read to see how you and your womb dweller are doing and developing.
Huggies Club - A fun site to join, with amazing competitions, such as the massive Early learning center bundle available to win now. Also features pregnancy journal, one of my favourite forums, a due date calculator and fun things to print off for your child.
- MAM UK - A well known brand who have fabulous products such as orthodontic approved soothers and self sterilizing bottles (which were recently on special offer at Mother Care), so obviously they have their own website. But for a chance to chat to other mums and enter weekly competitions they have this Facebook page.
- Bizzie Baby - Again they have their own website as well, both the site and fb page are fab for reviews on baby products, so you are well informed before your buy and know what other people think. You can also sign up to be a product tester/reviewer yourself, which I will be doing once my baby is here and old enough to try things out =) They also regularly post details of any other baby/child/pregnancy related competitions which you can enter, e.g this weeks Hauck competition to win one of their fabulous pushchairs. I was lucky enough to also win with Bizzie Baby, coincidentally another Clinica tissue oil which I received today =)
- Nuby UK - check out their website for their award winning products, and their Facebook page for fabulous competitions and friendly chatter with other members. I was lucky enough to get a free microwave sterilizer and three bottles from them for participating in their baby scan program and simply commenting on one of their posts.
- Baby Swap or Shop - this and Rascal Babies both have their own websites and FB pages. They are fantastic sites which allow mothers to sell or swap their previously used or unused baby products from prams to toys, cots to clothes, bouncers to maternity items and therefore other mums and mums to be to get discounted affordable items in great condition, often like new. With how much gear your little one needs, especially if you are a first timer, or if you are on a very low wage like me, or are just money conscious, these sites are a life saver. Whats even better BSOS have regular competitions and allow you to sign in through facebook to save any extra hassle of signing up.
|Comp Prize: Mabyland Bunny&Kitty Peg Rattles.|
- Mabyland - check out their website to see their gorgeous products, with four main characters, doggy, teddy, kitty & bunny, friendly, soft and colourful, your baby is bound to love them. They do regular competitions on their Facebook page and somehow I won with them too. All my life I win nothing then win several at once! This baby must be a lucky charm! Although I have entered hundreds of baby comps over the past few months, so I think i was owed at least a win or two. Back on topic I won two of their lovely peg rattles, which I will be doing a mini review about soon, then another once my baby has had her chance with them.
So as well as those that I have mentioned there are other FB pages including one for Mamas and Papas and multiple other baby retailers and gift shops.
My final mentions for today will be Mother Care who I wish I could buy everything from (inc their early learning center section) who do have a club but you have to spend a fair amount of money for the vouchers to be of use to you, but if you have the money then sign up! I have brought several things from there however and right now they have a massive sale on.
Also Philips Avent and Tommee Tippee also have their own fb pages (only fair since i mentioned MAM and Nuby, and also have the Philips Avent newborn starter pack ....was half price in Asda's most recent Baby Event).
Also Asda who do gorgeous, extremely good value baby clothes, towels etc and my above mentioned friend Kirsty's little business Princess Millie's Boutique, if you click on her name at top of the page it will take you straight to her. Also Mel and Emma's names will take you to their blogs.
So if you have managed to hang in there and read through all of this, or even just note down the site and club names, I hope you check them out and that this has been useful to you. I'm off to go have a bubble bath as after being sat at the computer for all this time, I'm a little achey!
Lots of Love
x - X - x