Reader Advice: Would You Lend Out Your Baby Stuff If You Intended to Have More Children?

December 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM 16 comments

rock

I could use a little reader advice. Here is the scenario. I currently have a two year old son and would like to get pregnant again. It took nearly a year to get pregnant with my first child so I have little hopes that it will happen sooner for us this time around. I don’t really want to go around telling people that I am trying for another. If you’ve never suffered from infertility you might not relate to that sentiment, but if you have struggled month after month to conceive you probably understand where I’m coming from.

A member of the family recently announced that she is expecting her first child next year. As soon as the announcement was made another family member immediately offered up all of my baby clothes and baby equipment.

I was offended that someone offered up my stuff without asking me first, but overall I wasn’t too worried about lending things out. My first thought was ‘no problem,’ I’m not currently pregnant so I’d be happy to share many of the things my son used throughout his first two years. But when I mentioned this to a friend she said it was a horrible idea for the following reasons:

  • Babies ruin things. These days baby equipment is covered in cloth and materials that can easily become stained and damaged. I keep things very neat, clean and orderly and there is no way to know that the family member I am lending to would do the same. Also, since babies generally make a mess this may not be something the mother can control.
  • The family member is pregnant with her first which means someone will throw a shower for her and she’ll get all new stuff. If I give away my stuff and it gets ruined, broken or otherwise damaged odds are that I would be left holding the bill to replace things for my next child.
  • It’s generally difficult to ‘lend’ baby items, because moms can’t keep track of everything you gave them. If you hand over a pile of clothes, the mom receives clothes from other friends and family and buys additional items she won’t be able to keep track of everything.

She said it wouldn’t be considered lending, but rather giving and that if I gave her anything I shouldn’t expect to receive a single thing back.

I completely understand my friend’s point, but it seems awfully stingy to keep things stored in my attic when I don’t know if I’ll ever be graced with another child.

So what do you think? Would you lend out your baby clothes and items if you knew you wanted more children? If you lent them out what would you say to ensure that the items are returned?

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16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Susan  |  December 4, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    If you “lend” them, the items probably won’t be returned. So I would give them the items you don’t mind buying again (if you want them) and hold onto the items that you don’t want to purchase again.

    Reply
    • 2. One Frugal Girl  |  December 6, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      I’m afraid ‘lend’ means ‘give’ too and I don’t really want to buy things all over again.

      Reply
  • 3. Little Miss Moneybags  |  December 4, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    I am in the same situation – baby outgrowing a lot of stuff, not currently pregnant, not sure if I’ll ever have another (and even if I did, 50/50 chance it wouldn’t be the same gender!). I am getting rid of stuff I didn’t like or use the first go-round, but I am not lending out anything that I would like to use again. I agree with your friend – you probably won’t get it back unless it’s a big ticket item like a swing or a crib. Clothes get stained, damaged, misplaced. Same with toys, blankets, etc.

    I figure the stuff will only be in my attic for a few years at most – at that point, we’ll know the answer to the question, and we can give away or sell the stuff without worrying about whether we’ll need it again.

    Reply
    • 4. One Frugal Girl  |  December 6, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Like you I planned on keeping everything I valued until we knew for certain that we wouldn’t have another. I have given a donated a bunch of things along the way, like excess clothes and toys that my son didn’t enjoy playing with, but I kept everything else that I’d like to pass down to the next child. I’ll be honest. If they hadn’t asked for my stuff I wouldn’t have offered. I think that the things I lend will get ruined. Not on purpose, but just because babies are messy.

      Reply
  • 5. Jan  |  December 4, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    I agree with your friend. Unless the couple in question is poor and cannot afford those things I wouldn’t lend anything if there is a slight chance that I would want another kid. Also I would be upset if they returned something in a bad condition. And they might have another kid right after too, so what’s the etiquette in those situations? If I were you, I would hold on to those things, specially if space is not an issue. You will always have an opportunity to give stuff away after you’ve had your second child.

    Reply
    • 6. One Frugal Girl  |  December 6, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      Thanks for your comment Jan. I hadn’t consider that they might have another child before I have a second. In that case they certainly wouldn’t return anything I gave them and that’s certainly a possibility. They are disappointed by the gender of this one and have already started talking about having another that is the gender they want.

      Reply
  • 7. Lauren  |  December 5, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    I would either give your relative your things, or just buy a nice gift at her shower. One of my co-workers gave me a lot of baby clothes and maternity cothes, but she had 3 kids and knew she was done having kids.

    If you do decide to loan her things, I would wait to make the offer until after her shower (assuming she has one) to see if there are any big items she might want to borrow that you wouldn’t mind lending. My sister just found out she is pregnant with her first and that is what I’m going to do.

    Reply
    • 8. One Frugal Girl  |  December 6, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      I actually love this idea. If the subject comes up before the shower I think I can tell her to register for everything she wants and I’ll fill in the remainder of items if necessary. I’m sure she would prefer new to handed down anyway and she has enough family and friends to buy everything on the list. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  • 9. Kay  |  December 5, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    I’d be ‘very’ offended, as well, if somebody offered my baby stuff to somebody else. That’s just not their place, unless it’s a spouse. And if it is a spouse, they better know not to offer our baby stuff without consulting with me.

    Now, if I were you, I’d just buy her a gift from her baby registry and be done with it. I wouldn’t lend at all.

    When I was pregnant, I was offered – not lent – some used baby stuff – clothes, swing, crib etc. I used them for a year – didnt sue the crib at all -, and by then, another friend (a friend of the person who gave us stuff) got pregnant and this friend who gave us heavily implied – if I’m done with some baby stuff, I can pass it on to her. I was thinking of offering it to her myself, but didnt like to be told to pass stuff on to this friend… And it certainly looked like that friend was told that I’ll bringing some stuff over as well. So, I gave almost everything that she gave to me, to the other friend. I just wanted to be done with being indebted to this friend and didn’t want to to hear any more over-bearing suggestions.

    Whatever I bought for my child, I gave away to whomever I felt like, to Goodwill, Salvation army, to friends, whatever I was okay to pass on. And there are some baby stuff that I’ve held for 7 yrs knowing very well I Want another child.. I am pregnant now and I will use those. No point in buying all those all over again.

    This time around, if I am given anything used, I’d ask if they want it back. If yes, I’d flat out refuse the offer politely with a thanks. If they dont want it back, I’ll thank them and take it and use it and give it to whomever I want to.

    Reply
    • 10. One Frugal Girl  |  December 6, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      I received a ton of hand me downs too but they were all given by people who were done having children. My brother gave me two items and asked me to return them when I was finished, but they were very expensive and couldn’t be ruined. One is a wooden toy that my son absolutely adores. I don’t think I would accept items that needed to returned. Children are messy and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for damages either. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

      Reply
  • 11. Ellen K.  |  December 5, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Well, as you know, you’re definitely not obligated to give away or lend your baby gear and clothes. The expectant mom has probably planned most if not all of her own registry (do you remember looking rather critically at other women’s strollers, diaper bags, etc.?). And likely most people were thinking that the officious relative was just a bit out of line and that you would want to keep things for a second baby, which should be forthcoming in their opinion. : )

    But I agree with your friend that lending baby items is a bad idea if you’ll want a second child. It doesn’t matter how long that second baby may or may not take to arrive. You will probably need those items sooner rather than later. She is having her first child and will receive tons of gifts, but when you have a second baby, you won’t receive nearly as many gifts as you did with your son. (When I commended my SIL on sending out thank-you notes so quickly after her second child’s birth this summer, she replied, “Well, it’s not like I had a lot of notes to write!”) Money is always tight with a new baby, so you won’t want to pay to replace big things. Traditionally that first-baby gift was expected to be handed down to future siblings.

    It took me 4 years and IVF to conceive our twins, and if we were at all wanting another child, there is no way I would have given away _any_ of the big items other than things that were duplicates or twin specific. : )

    Reply
    • 12. One Frugal Girl  |  December 6, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      Thanks for your comment Ellen K. I completely agree with this sentiment “She is having her first child and will receive tons of gifts, but when you have a second baby, you won’t receive nearly as many gifts as you did with your son.” I think that she will receive everything she asks for, so I don’t really think she wants or needs anything I have to offer. In fact, when I walked around the baby section of Target I found better models of the items we purchased or received just two years ago.

      I hadn’t thought much about it, but perhaps this bothers me because they are marking me down for the count. Like I can’t or won’t have another and therefore can give away everything I have.

      Reply
  • 13. ND Chic  |  December 5, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    I would lend certain things but not others. I would lend a swing or vibrating chair or some of the bigger toys for the first year. I wouldn’t lend any clothes, stroller, carseat, crib, baby monitors or anything else.

    I lent out clothes, baby bathtub, and baby monitors. I didn’t get any of the clothes back. The baby monitors were used every day for 2 1/2 years and won’t work unless plugged in. I did get the bathtub back though. Just do yourself a favor and don’t do it. Just buy her a gift.

    Reply
    • 14. One Frugal Girl  |  December 6, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      ND Chic – I have heard similar stories from other people. In fact, I haven’t heard too many people tell me they lent something and received it back in perfect condition. Even if it is unintentional damage like the monitors you mentioned odds are that I will be left holding the bill. Thanks for the comment. And yes the baby bathtub actually seems like the perfect thing to lend, except a friend told me the one she lent was returned moldy :)

      Reply
  • 15. Slinky  |  December 6, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Never lend anything you’d be upset about if it came back broken, ruined, or not at all. I’ve learned this lesson too many times in my life. I don’t lend out my favorite books, I don’t let people borrow my sewing machine, I don’t let people drive my car. I’ll give you a ride, you can come over and we’ll have a sewing party, and I’ll buy you the book for Christmas. People are never as careful with my things as I am and they have rarely made good on damages done. I already spent my hard earned money on these things, I’m not buying new ones because of someone else’s actions. Assuming I get it back at all.

    Reply
    • 16. One Frugal Girl  |  December 6, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      That’s an interesting point. Perhaps it is more difficult to lend if you have higher standards of cleanness and are more careful with your belongings. I am a bit ‘type A’ and that does make me more hesitant.

      Reply

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