Formula is one of the priciest items parents will buy for their infants in their first year of life. The average family spends $1,500 a year on this essential need, but you can save money by finding free baby formula.
Whether you’re transitioning from breastfeeding or embracing a formula diet, saving money on formula makes it easier to afford your other bills.
Thankfully, there are several ways to get formula for free or at a greatly reduced price.
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How Can I Get Free Baby Formula?
It is not as difficult as you might think to get baby formula for free or cheap. Better yet, many options require minimal effort and only take a few minutes of your time.
Here are the best ways to get free formula or pay a reduced cost.
1. Register With Formula Manufacturers
Registering with producers is a simple way to get free formula samples and coupons. This is especially helpful if your baby can only drink a specific type of formula and you want to see which brand works best.
Many formula companies are happy to send you coupons and discounts with the hope that you become a customer.
Most will provide baby formula samples, and some may even offer products as you transition to the toddler stage. Here are the top companies to contact for samples and coupons.
Similac is one of the top brands in the space. You can join their rewards program and receive up to $400 in offers.
If you choose Similac, you can receive free formula samples for your baby. These cover many nutritional needs, including:
- Formula with probiotics
- Formula for sensitive tummies
- Organic baby formula
- Formula with iron
- Formula for premature babies
In addition to free formula, you will receive formula coupons. Your welcome kit provides information to achieve balanced nutrition for the baby and new mom.
You can find all of their options on their website.
Enfamil is another brand that offers rebates, coupons, and samples. Along with the one-time samples, you can earn rewards points when buying formula.
These points will help you save money on future purchases.
They even offer free shipping on orders over $50, so you could have a monthly supply of formula delivered directly to your door for free.
Teachers, military personnel, and first responders receive an additional ten percent off as well.
When you sign up for their Family Beginnings program, you receive coupons, free samples, and the opportunity to earn points on every purchase.
While Gerber doesn’t seem to offer free samples (unless provided by your doctor), they do have digital coupons on their site.
They also participate in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which means families with limited incomes may qualify for free baby formula.
Under the WIC benefit program, Gerber provides many baby items. They also offer over 100 different products, including many that infants can have once they are able to eat solids.
Need a special formula that’s organic, plant-based, or non-GMO? Have no fear. There are formulas that meet those specific qualifications.
Nature’s One offers vegan and organic options. They even have a formula for sensitive tummies.
Similar to Gerber, Nature’s One doesn’t have a direct sample program. However, they do have a medical hardship program.
This program helps parents who:
- Have premature babies who need a specialized formula
- Are lower-income but have specific needs
- Have a baby with a disease or disorder (examples include cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Celiac disease, and Down Syndrome)
If your family falls under any of these categories, you may qualify for free infant formula samples.
Nestle does offer formula to Canadian residents. When you join the Nestle Baby Program, they send you $130 in free samples. This includes infant formula.
The program also offers savings for other essential baby supplies you might need.
2. Earn Cash Back While Shopping
You will likely buy baby items at the grocery store. As a result, a terrific way to save money on baby formula is to use a cash rebate app when making purchases.
Ibotta is our favorite app to use when shopping for groceries and other necessities. You can use it at most grocery stores, including Walmart or Target.
The app often lets you redeem offers on multiple purchases to increase your earnings. These discounts can be combined with those from grocery store loyalty programs for extra savings on your grocery bill.
Once you reach a $20 balance in your account, you can redeem earnings via PayPal. This is an excellent way to get cash to buy free formula for your baby.
Frugal Rules readers receive $5 after uploading their first receipt to Ibotta.
Read our review of Ibotta to learn more.
3. Ask Your Doctor for Free Formula Samples
While baby formula manufacturers don’t always provide a free sample to individuals, many give trial sizes to hospitals and doctors’ offices.
This makes asking for free samples from your pediatrician a no-brainer.
You can ask for samples during your baby’s checkups. Just let the doctor know their needs and ask them if they have any samples you can try.
I was able to get four full-sized containers of formula from our pediatrician’s office when my daughter was an infant.
Not only was it free, but it also helped us decide which was the best (and least expensive) option for our family.
4. Apply for WIC
If you qualify for WIC, there is no shame in using it or other government assistance programs for feeding your baby. WIC is designed to provide free baby formula for low-income mothers.
It also provides food for their older children.
The program gives vouchers for baby formula and food as your infant gets older. You can qualify for free or low-cost formula if you meet these eligibility requirements.
If you think you may qualify, you can apply through your state’s WIC website.
5. Start A Baby Registry
You may have generous friends and family who want to get you what you need for your baby. While clothes and toys are great, sometimes you need more practical items.
Baby registries are easy to sign up for and make it simple to add the items you need. While there are several good options, our favorite is the Target baby registry.
The Target baby registry allows new parents to:
- Get a free $100 welcome kit
- Receive additional coupons for your child’s first year
- Access a 15 percent discount on any items that aren’t purchased and gifted from the registry
You can always add other items to your registry, but getting a few containers of free formula is better than paying for everything out of pocket.
6. Contact Local Churches
Many churches have pantries and food donation programs. You’ll have to do some research, but you can call or email local churches to see if they have formula donations available.
If you go this route, try to check with as many churches in your local area as possible. Even if one church doesn’t have formula, there could be others that do.
Also, find out what you need to do to qualify for formula donations.
Many churches are happy to give away their stock, but some may require proof of income or a small donation to receive what you need.
Your local pregnancy center can also be an excellent avenue to explore. Many centers even provide free diapers, baby clothing, and classes to learn about your baby’s health.
7. Contact A Food Pantry in Your Community
Another legitimate way to get free baby formula is by going to a local food pantry. You can do an internet search for “food pantries near me” to identify the one closest to you.
These pantries typically have pick-up times or are first come, first serve. Remember to call ahead to check availability and see how you can qualify to receive assistance.
You may also be able to get put on a list for a particular item and receive a call when it is available.
Similar to asking local churches, not every food bank will have what you need, so it pays to check with more than one.
8. Shop Through Swagbucks
Swagbucks is an online loyalty rewards site that lets you earn points, known as SB points. The site pays you to complete surveys, watch videos, and use its online shopping portal.
When you shop through this platform, you receive points you can convert to cash or gift cards. Some gift cards are redeemable for as little as $3.
Like Ibotta, this is a terrific way to earn a little cash back for what you’re already doing.
The shopping portal works with numerous retailers, such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart. Clipping coupons through the app even allows you to save money on in-store purchases.
If you buy baby formula online, it pays to use Swagbucks to get cash back you can use for other needs.
Frugal Rules readers receive a $5 bonus when they open an account.
Read our review of Swagbucks to learn more.
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9. Check Facebook Marketplace
Consider browsing the Facebook Marketplace to find items you need for your baby.
For example, moms may sell unopened formula canisters their child doesn’t need. They may also offer discounted diapers, baby furniture, and clothing for low prices.
Instead of paying full price at a store, you can find brand-new or lightly used products at affordable prices.
10. Sign Up for Motherhood’s Perks Programs
Although manufacturers offer samples and coupons if you contact them directly, that’s not the only way to get free formula from a perks program.
You can also sign up for the Motherhood’s Perks Program.
Not only do they offer samples, but you can get discounts on other items as well. For example, if you breastfeed but supplement with formula, you may want nursing bras.
With a loyalty program, you can get discounts and coupons on brand-new nursing bras, saving you even more money.
11. Use Amazon Family
Amazon Family is a perk that comes with being a Prime member. This service provides discounts and parenting tips that are helpful regardless of your child’s age.
Parents-to-be can receive a welcome box that includes full-size and trial-size samples when building a registry. Any non-gifted items are eligible for a 15 percent discount.
It’s also possible to enjoy saving up to 20 percent on diapers and other essential items.
Other Ways to Save on Infant Formula
Getting free formula is a proven way to reduce costs when your little bundle of joy arrives. However, there are additional ways to save.
Here are some of the top strategies to save money on formula.
Buy Powdered Formula
Instead of using ready-to-feed formula or standard liquid formula, buying formula powder is the cheapest alternative. This form requires extra work since you must add water.
However, your baby can get the same nutrients as the liquid concentrations.
Grocery stores and online retailers often have different prices. It pays to check pricing with multiple options to see how they differ.
This is a standard practice that can help you save money anytime you shop. But, doing it when buying formula is an excellent way to stretch your budget.
Buy in Bulk When Possible
Some retailers may offer a discounted rate when you buy multiple cases at a time.
Another option is enrolling in a subscription plan like Amazon Subscribe and Save if you don’t have enough cash for a one-time bulk order.
Just make sure not to buy too much so that you don’t risk not needing to use it in the future.
Can You Get Formula Covered by Insurance?
While insurance doesn’t typically cover the cost of formula, insurers will cover it in special situations. For example, they may cover formula costs if your baby has allergies or a health condition.
If your infant needs hypoallergenic formula or some other specialized type, ask your pediatrician for a prescription.
You will want to discuss it with your provider, but it’s worth investigating if there’s a real need.
If your insurance benefits won’t defray your formula purchases, health savings accounts (HSA) or similar accounts may reimburse this expense.
Once again, your baby must have a qualifying allergy or medical condition.
Buying formula doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. While it is expensive, there are many ways to cut costs and even get it for free.
Saving a few dollars per container could equal up to hundreds by the time your baby is ready to move on to solid food. Considering how expensive babies are, it’s worth it to pursue all options.
How do you save money on essential baby supplies?
Kim Suazo has been a freelance writer and business owner for over four years. When she's not writing for Frugal Rules, you can find her on other publications like Chime, Discovery, and Due. She also owns her own websites The Entrepremomer and Part-Time Profit, where she teaches overworked moms how to streamline their new businesses so they can scale without a team.