our household income is less than £40K after tax and we're renting. I'd like to get a better understanding of what we may be able to claim to help us,
Nowt other than child benefit.
Sorry, congratulations. I have two girls, 51weeks and 5 weeks, we both work full time for significantly less than £40k/yr take home total.
You can start to accrue childcare vouchers as soon as your baby is born.
The child benefit covers milk & nappies. When / If she goes back to work then you can start looking into child tax benefits.
Second hand clothes, toys, baby furniture (not mattress) means we've hardly spent any money i.e. I picked up a £350 dropside cotbed for £50 virtually unmarked. Mothercare branded furniture is all crap and overpriced at the same time IMHO.
Ebay/Amazon are great for cheap mattresses & bed linen.
The NCT have spectacular sales of baby gear so worth looking up. Supermarkets are a lot cheaper than mothercare for baby clothes, but mothercare do have big discounts around the store on occasion.
Aldi & Sainsbury's nappies are fine to use, but to be honest pampers are better and you pay for it.
Oh, and watch put for the breastfeeding Nazi's