This post is really a thank-you note/love letter to two specific mom friends who did it before me, and have been gifting me their hand-me-downs ever since.
Before Baby E was born, my friend Nikki (who I used to nanny for), offered me a ton of baby items — think toys, baby gates, play mats, a bassinet, etc. — and we were SO thankful. Even though we were gifted — and of course purchased ourselves — many baby items, there’s so many things that first-time-parents need and/or want, and so many items that you simply will try and baby won’t care for or that they grow out of so quickly, so not having to purchase every single item but still getting the items from someone I loved and trusted was amazing.
To be honest, I always was weary of going to any second-hand stores for baby items because you really just don’t know the cleanliness of someone’s home, how the items were treated (like, are they actually safe to use??), etc., but getting items from someone you know and trust is different. That being said, I have shifted my thoughts on second-hand stores now that I see how this whole parenting thing works (read: they go through things SO quickly and some items are truly only needed for a moment or two), but I’m still very particular in what I am willing to purchase.
Okay, so back to the point of this. Once Enzo arrived, Nikki gifted us SO many baby clothes. And over the course of the six months that we lived in California when he was Earth-side, she had us over multiple times to get more clothes (through size 18 months… so we were set for quite a while.) Yes, we still bought clothing and yes friends and family would still buy him clothing, but truly the majority of the clothing he wore was her son’s, and we will NEVER forget how much that meant to us. I nannied for her sweetheart little boy before I was even married, so there was something extra special about my own son wearing his little outfits, and the thoughtfulness to share with us was so kind.
Fast forward to us moving to Washington state, and we are again blessed with another mom friend who’s son happens to be just one size bigger than Enzo (both of us have extra large children who grow FAST, so the fact they’re exactly one size apart is beyond great.) Danielle and I go way back… we met in my early 20s well before mom-life, when she started doing my hair. Over the years our friendship has grown and becoming moms has strengthened our bond. The second her sweetie pie Josiah has grown out of his clothing, she sends them over to me. I actually had a hair appointment last weekend and received yet another bag of shirts and snow boots!
All this to say, there is truly nothing more helpful to a first-time-parent, than to be gifted baby/kid items and clothing that are new or gently used, especially by a mom friend that they trust. If you get the opportunity to do this for someone, do it. Most of my friends either have children who are older than mine, or their kids are about the same size, or they have girls… so E’s stuff so far hasn’t been as easily gifted (although we’ve gotten to experience this feeling a handful of times with a few families in the three states we’ve lived in since E was born, and man did it feel good!)
Of course, donating to local places and/or bringing things to a consignment store can be great as well if you don’t have someone you know who might have a need, because having store credit is never bad in the event that you need something specific in the future for your little one.
Anyway, Nikki and Danielle. Thank-you for showing our family so much love and kindness over the years. I can’t even imagine the amount of money we’ve saved by using your hand-me-downs, but the best part was feeling truly loved and supported by women I already loved who wanted to just make it that much easier for this first-time-mom. I really believe that gifting and receiving hand-me-downs from a friend is a love language! You two are the best of the best, and I’ll never forget your generosity. XO