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Mommy Dearest: Hand-Me-Downs

Mommy Dearest,

A friend of mine is pregnant and asked me for my son's hand-me-downs. I only have one child and plan on having more.

I am willing to lend her some of his outfits, toys and blankets, but I want them returned in the same condition to use again in the future. What's the appropriate way to respond?

— Conditional Lender

To read the response from Mommy Dearest,


Conditional Lender,

Simply tell your friend your expectations. However as a mother, I am sure you understand that babies are unpredictable and even the tidiest of tots cannot insure that inevitable stains won't set. You have no obligation to hand over your goods, but if you do be realistic about them coming back in the same condition.

— Mommy Dearest

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.

Join The Conversation
katedavis katedavis 9 years
I am so relieved to read all of this! Last week my brother-in-law "called" my son's hand me downs (because we dress him very well). First of all, they are not even pregnant. Second, they know we want to have more children. I guess he figures they would borrow them and then return them. I didn't get hand me downs for my son and we don't get many clothing gifts. I bought everything for him and I take care of his clothes because I want them to last (hand wash spit-up before throwing things in the wash...). When I told my husband I didn't feel comfortable having another baby wear the clothes when I was intending on using them again he said I was in the wrong. I'm glad to hear I'm not crazy for foreseeing how badly I would feel when the special pieces I bought for my son come back with spit-up stains. Thanks everyone!
anniekim anniekim 9 years
If hand me downs are offered freely that is very nice. Demanding clothes is not.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I think it's really rude to flat out ask for hand-me-downs. I'd simply say I'm not sure I'm done with them. We got a ton of hand-me-downs for my daughter since all we had was boy stuff. I'm incredibly grateful for all of it, and had a wonderful time sorting it all out. But it was all offered, not at my request.
duck-duck-goose duck-duck-goose 9 years
My children's wardrobes consist of mostly second-hand items -- hand-me-downs from family, gently used donations from friends, and great consignment shop finds. I've had such good fortune in this manner that I'd feel selfish if I didn't attempt to pass-it-along to others, but it can be unwise to let go of all those goods if planning for more children within a couple years. (Everything is so expensive. It's such a financial relief to save items and re-use everything possible. We are currently re-using some items with our fourth child that we had with our first, and every child that followed.) But it feels good to help others, so it's nice to make an effort when possible -- but be certain never to hand over any special items. (I learned this lesson after loaning my sister much of what we had (in clothing) after our second son was born, but with the caveat that she keep the items and return them, because we were fervently attempting to conceive but having serous difficulty. When we finally became pregnant again (a couple years later), we asked for the items back, but she had given them *all* away without our permission, citing her assumption that we wouldn't be successful at conceiving again, so she thought it didn't matter if she unloaded all of our stuff.) So. . . don't feel obligated to offer your baby clothing if you know you'll have more. (Helping is great, but crippling your own bank account is never a good thing.) If you're fond of this friend and want to help out, but don't want to worry that she won't return the items, then you can offer a few outfits (one in each size) that you wouldn't mind permanently donating. Or if your friend has a very modest income and honestly cannot afford much, you could choose to donate some very basic items (onesies, sleepers, nightgowns, side-snap shirts) in lieu of a baby-shower gift. (These items are easy to replace and their replacement cost is only a fraction compared to full-outfits.) Or you could just write your intials on all tags in permanent ink, pass them along and hope for the best. Good luck!
lms lms 9 years
I never took hand me down clothes for my daughter...mainly b/c I am too picky. However, I have a friend that asked for my daughters clothes. She could afford stuff, she just liked the clothes I bought for my daughter. I lent her a cherry red leather jacket that I really wanted back for memories and she never returned it. She would also say that her daughter doesn't wear hand me downs but would take my clothes. I got tired of her expecting certain items and stopped that trend real quick. She would see something on my daughter and like it and say can I have that when she's done with it. Now this is happening again. A relative of mine who is quite well off is asking for my daughter's expensive "sporting goods" after she outgrows them. Her daughter is younger so she doesn't feel like spending the money on it. I am so over that kind of attitude. Buy your own stuff!!
abqmama abqmama 9 years
That is a little rude to just outright ask for them. Baby items can be sentimental and a lot of moms want to save them simply for that reason.
macgirl macgirl 9 years
I just went through the containers of clothes I had saved from my 9 year old son in hopes I would find some stuff for my 12 week old boy... Something bad happened to these clothes. They were all hard and rough. Nothing I wanted to put on my precious baby.:-( I'm not going to try and save any of my babies clothes. Hopefully I can find a good home for some really cute hand me downs :-)
amers230 amers230 9 years
i don't see a problem with telling her you're not going to give her any. just explain you want to keep them for any future kids you may have!!! as long as you're not rude about it, tell her you're not done with them yet!!!
Chrry00352 Chrry00352 9 years
My BIL and SIL offered us their son's clothes that did not fit him. I do think it is rude for people to ask for them...simply tell her how you feel. You don't have to pass her a thing...or you can pass her the stuff you don't like...and if she gets upset that's her problem!
rgrl rgrl 9 years
I have barely gotten any hand me downs with my son. I did get some maternity clothes but I find that people mostly give you their junk. I would not pass down anything I loved if I planned to have more children. I get very attached to some of those little things and I don't even know how I'll ever get rid of stuff even after I'm done having kids. :( Like the cute little shoes! Or I got some beautiful boiled wool coats by Giesswein! :love: It will be very tough. But I will pass down the basic stuff like onesies, jammies and other everyday outfits.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
say you don't have any. hand me downs mean when you're done. i wouldn't laon any of the things you mentioned, either give them to her or tell her you're planning another baby and will need them. as for the friend that called for the clothes. drop them off on her doorstep with a note saying you don't want to have to worry about what happens to them, so no thanks. strange. when i was pregnent with my 3rd my sil gave me clothes that she had gotten from a friend, told me to pass them on when i was done with them. about 4 months after i had the baby my sil called and wanted them back! i told her they were gone and she said "what should i tell my friend". no idea, not my problem. i hate when people don't know what they want and expect you to anticipate it and respond to it when they figure it out.
Kelsa Kelsa 9 years
My best friend was so happy to hear I was pregnant and begged me to come over to go through her maternity clothes. I didn't need them but she was so excited about it. As we were going through them, she kept saying that she'd want certain items back cause she loved wearing them so much. I told her not to give me anything she'd want back cause that's a lot of pressure that I didn't want. She seemed to get it but when I got home she called me and said that she thought about it and would want all the clothes back after I gave birth! I was soo angry! Force me to come over and BORROW clothes?? What does etiquette say about this I wonder?
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
Just let her know that you might not be done having kids. I find it rather rude that she would just outright ask. If you do want to give some stuff just give the stuff you wouldn't want back b/c you never know if she will give the stuff back (even if you blatantly tell her you want it back) That happened to my mom. She lent some of mine and my sister's baby stuff to a friend and she never got it back. My mom was rather upset about it. Just don't put yourself in that position.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
I would not part w/some of the "cool" stuff that I've received as gifts & such... there are definitely things that I could easily part with and wouldnt care about... those are the things I would give.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I would tell her that you are probably going to have more children. That should take care of it, I find it hard to believe she would want them under the condition that you want them back. So far I've had one boy and one girl, so I have plenty of clothes for the next one. I did pass along all the stuff I got as gifts that I didn't love, or other hand-me-downs that my kids never wore.
stina829 stina829 9 years
I'm packing up all my boy's small clothes and having a massive yard sale here in a couple weeks. LOL :)
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
I would only part with it if you are willing to be done with it. I only loan if I don't need it back and a lot of people don't want the hand me downs if they have to return them. That being said I stored a lot of clothes for my son and found that anything white had stains on it and yes, I did wash before storing. I just don't know how you store things longer than a year without them getting stained. Any ideas?
RobinFabulous RobinFabulous 9 years
I passed on stuff that I didn't dearly **LOVE**. Truthfully, I wanted new things with each baby and sometimes they have stains appear after storage. The stuff I kept in no way would I loan
SugarKat SugarKat 9 years
Since I don't want to jinx myself, I gave away a lot of my daughters clothes. I don't expect them back, but when I do have another child, they will give me the stuff that they got as presents and stuff. You can just say that you're planning on having another baby and would like to keep most of his stuff. I'm sure she'll understand, but then if you have a girl, you'll be stuck with a bunch of boy clothes...
sofi sofi 9 years
I have all my kids stuff still (to my husbands dismay) because I just don't know if #3 will be coming along. I would give some things away that weren't too precious- I don't know if I'd want them back, though. Be very clear if you want something back or maybe you can buy her some basics as a present instead. I am always better at lending equipment/toys than clothes.
mini_pixie mini_pixie 9 years
I passed some things on to my sister-in-law even though i am planning to have more kids, but i tried to be realistic and did not send anything i would cry over if it didn't come back. it helped that i had lots of hand-me-downs myself, both from a girlfriend with older daughters and my mom (who kept all my baby clothes in the attic... yay for packrats!)
wonderwoman80 wonderwoman80 9 years
I agree that is a little rude. My sister in law lent me her son's clothes, but she was all done with having kids. I think that is a different story.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
she ...asked you for them...thats kind of rude. I couldnt imagine asking someone for thier baby clothes. tell her to get her own.
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