04 December 2008

Use hospital giveaway bottle totes as winter shoe carriers

TracyBaby bottle bag thinks of everything.

I my area of the country we get a lot of snow. I usually try to wear boots to work, bringing dress shoes along to change into once I reach the office. I use my old **free** Enfamil/Similac insulated bottle tote (similar to the attached picture) to carry my shoes in. They stay dry, are easy to grab on the way out the door and I've finally got a use for those old bags!

I got my tote as part of the take-home package the hospital gave me when I delivered my child.

Anyone else have a creative reuse for those hospital freebies? At the very least, one can donate them to the local women's shelter.

Related: Best of Parent Hacks: Keeping warm during the winter

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I gave the diaper bags to my daughters (now 4 and 6) to keep their doll items in (clothes, bottles, accessories). Keeps the stuff put away, and also great for portability.

My free hospital diaper bag came with a little insulated bottle bag that is just big enough to hold 2 baby bottles. I use it to bring my lunch to work because it is big enough to hold my yogurt, apple and sandwich and still fit in my purse. The only problem is other moms that I work with see it and wonder how their bottle bag ended up at work :)

I have small insulated bags that were free from from drug companies at a charity walk. I use them to carry my sons (14mo) food and snacks. He prefers cold food so the yogurt and grapes can stay nice a fresh when we're out all day.

I used the bottle bag to hold two diapers, a disposable changing pad and a ziplock bag of wipes. I kept it in the glove compartment of my husband's car. We pulled it out in an emergency once (in 4 years) and the diaper was a bit outgrown but better than nothing!

I have used these to carry just a few cans of my favorite beverage on my golf cart or other small get-togethers. I hate to drag a huge cooler around to insulate the 2-3 drinks I bring. Plus the formula logo is sort of like camoflauge!

I would just like to take a moment to say SHAME ON THAT HOSPITAL. Studies show that this kind of giveaway decreases breastfeeding rates. But congratulations on finding good uses for free stuff!

Not sure what the fuss is over freebie formula. Despite receiving formula samples (and using some of them!), I nursed/pumped for about 13 mos. My kid looks pretty robust, too.

I spent several weeks after my daughter was born trying out different breastpump types, sizes, etc. So I use the free diaper big to keep all those funnel-y things and valves and bottles. Now that my daughter is eating solid food, I use the small insulated pack ALL the time. It's just the perfect size for two jars of food and a small bottle.. plus I can usually fit a washcloth and a chilled teething toy on top. The freezer pack that came with the whole setup keeps her food cool on road trips and the like. Plus, it feels semi-subversive to cart around breastmilk in the Enfamil bag.

I used the bag to carry both breastmilk and formula - because I used both - because that is what was best for my family.

dang. I wish I would have had this hack 2 years ago when I gave away the extra packs I got after the birth of my twins... wish I had them now.

We have found the insulated bags like the free diapers bags or bottle bags make great camera bags. Various sizes for various needs, but the insulation helps keep the camera safe from water or other liquids.

A better use for them is to refuse them and ask the hospital not to give them away. Shame on the hospital. They should be giving away free breastfeeding products.

Hospitals do give out free breastfeeding products. My formula diaper bag had nipple cream, nursing pads, and a couple breastmilk storage bottles. Studies may show that in some cases formula give aways are assocated with decreased breastfeeding, but studies also show that very few moms are able to balance breastfeeding exclusively for the entire first year with caring for their families. Stop trying to make people feel bad for how they feed their kids.

I received a free diaper bag from the formula companies when i left the hospital. No formula came with them but I love the bag. I breastfed my son but the formula samples from the formula companies & my OBGYN's office were great for his emergency kit. I now use the diaper bag as an emergency bag in my trunk and I use the other freebie insulated bags for my lunch or to transport expressed breastmilk.

I'm actually still using my freebie diaper bag as my work bag. Shhhh, don't tell my co-workers! Seriously, it's precisely the right size, has some nice outer pockets, and is black and unobtrusive. During the 7.5 months that I was pumping at work, I took special pleasure in using something paid for by Similac to carry my hard-earned breastmilk around.

As for the little insulated tote that came with it, there have been a couple of times where I've needed to keep just one small thing cold, and it was just the right size for that thing plus the ice pack.

Regarding the formula sample, I'm not ashamed to say I used it and I was grateful. Although my son and I nursed for almost 13 months, it wasn't easy for either of us at the beginning, so I was supplementing with 1/2 ounce of formula at each feeding for about a week. We'd had every intention of breastfeeding exclusively, and it had never occurred to us to have some formula on hand just in case. Having the sample meant that my husband didn't have to run out to the store at midnight the night we came home. And my hospital gave us breastfeeding supplies as well: a hand pump, bottles, Lansinoh, etc. Please keep your high horses to yourselves.

We also use the large bag as a Swim Bag. I've found with other cloth bags, the wetness from the swimsuit soaks right through... but not with these bags... keeps my car and clothes dry !

I left the bag in my hospital room, unopened. Taking the bag home doesn't necessarily mean you'll use the formula, and using the formula doesn't necessarily mean your breastfeeding relationship will be ruined, but the risk is just too great. Besides, I wanted to send a clear message to the hospital that I do not support their marketing efforts (because that's exactly what the bags are). They aren't free; they're paid for by the parents tricked into thinking they can't nurse their babies. Even the breastfeeding paraphernalia in the bags is designed to market formula: nipple cream because it's bound to hurt (and when it does, use the cream rather than asking for advice), breast pads because leaking is embarrassing and messy (rather than a sign that your body's doing what it's supposed to or that your baby needs to eat) - and the plastic-backed disposable ones aren't good for your breasts, bottles because you know you're absolutely positively going to have to pump (even if you're a stay-at-home mom)... Check out the Ban the Bags Campaign.

My best friend and I have a motto: "Free is our favorite four letter word". Anything that we do get that is free that we cannot use, such as the sample formulas she received, we donate to others. There are many battered womens shelters who would welcome any donations of formula and carrier bags. Many women who go to these places do not have anything other than the clothes on their and their children's backs. If you are going to get on your soap box and decide that these are not for you, give them to someone who can really use them rather than give the hospital a chance to give "yours" to some other unsuspecting person. I have seen some workers of shelters in tears over donations of makeup and contact solution as people do not normally think of donating these items.

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