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Why New Moms Can Benefit From Hand-Me-Downs

Studies have shown that in a child’s first year of life, parents spend about $21,000 to almost $52,000 on miscellaneous things: diapers, furniture, other necessities, and clothing. For second, third, and fourth babies, utilizing hand-me-down clothes is a no-brainer. The first child used them and parents keep them on hand for the next.

But what about new moms? Without an existing foundation to pull from, moms rely on baby shower gifts or their own spending to stock up on clothes. This can become expensive, so it can be extremely helpful if a fellow mom offers to donate hand-me-downs.

RELATED: 10 Celebs Who Are Too Good To Dress Their Kids In Hand-Me-Downs (And 10 Who Do)

Clothes Are Often Underestimated

pregnant woman choosing baby clothes from closet

Just how many clothes are needed through baby’s ages and stages can be something that first-time moms underestimate. For example, frequent blowouts and spit-ups cause more outfit changes than you might think during the newborn phase. As baby explores purées and solid foods, clothes continue to get messy and wet. Then, new moms will discover potty training accidents and the ability to run around or fall down will make for frequent clothing changes during toddlerhood, too.

Between keeping a daily supply of clothing ready to use and accounting for laundry being a chore that’s never truly done, hand-me-downs are a lifesaver when it comes to building up a clothing supply in each size. Daily use can entail having spare outfits in diaper bags and providing daycares or preschools with the multiple outfits they need to have on hand.

Basically, having lots of clothes is important, but first-time parents are starting from scratch. As families grow and parents hang on to clothes for the next child, new moms can use others’ hand-me-downs to build the foundation for their first baby.

Substantial Cost Savings

Coins in glass jar

The cost of becoming a new parent is nothing to scoff at. Baby and children’s clothing is no exception. Because of this, there are discussions of kid’s clothes being something that can be rented, similar to the Rent The Runway concept for adults. The notion that this is an area of substantial cost-savings is gaining some traction. New York Life discusses the cost of clothing:

Baby clothes are the most common gift that new parents receive, but the average cost of clothes is around $50 a month for the first year. Using hand-me-downs or shopping at second-hand clothing stores can help you save in this area.

This money can be put to use for other necessities if hand-me-downs are an option. You may still need to purchase other items, depending on the hand-me-downs you’re given, but whatever you’re able to use is saving you money.

Ability To Experiment

Mom getting toddler dressed

Hand-me-downs give you options—even ones you may have never considered before. When sorting through a hand-me-down bag, there may be items you wouldn’t have picked out on your own. You have nothing to lose by trying them since there was no cost attached. You might even surprise yourself with a new discovery or love something you would have never guessed. Having no attachment to a price tag or the ability to return makes it easier to experiment with new things.

Plus, kids grow at unpredictable rates. Before you’re even ready to purchase clothes for the next size up, hand-me-downs can help you have a nice inventory on hand. Some brands fit differently than others so you’ll learn what works best through experimentation.

A Mom Is Sharing Their Memories With You

Woman Holding Up an Infant Dress
Credit: Pexels

On a sentimental note, when a bag of hand-me-downs is shared with you, a mom is passing down the special memories she made with her children. Each clothing item was something her precious child may have worn in holiday photos, on the day their baby tried solid foods for the first time, or worn to sleep for a month straight after her two-year-old decided it was their favorite pair. There’s probably a heartfelt memory associated with each pair of shoes, each jacket, and each dress. As stated,

“Getting a bag of clothes from another mom is like she’s giving you a piece of her heart.”

The fact that this mom is passing them along to you means she’s ready for the clothes to take on new memories–for another mom to place them on a child that’s in the stage her kids once were. It really is an act of love and a testament to the circle of life.

When new parents are expecting their first child, sometimes they want everything to be new. Or perhaps they feel a certain stigma toward hand-me-down clothing. But if you have access to hand-me-downs from another family, it just makes sense. Shopping second-hand is almost the same thing—you get access to used clothing which are essentially hand-me-downs from other people, just with a small cost. It all adds up to big savings in the long run.

Sources:, New York Life, The Guardian,

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