Mom Says Friend Wants Baby's Hand-Me-Downs Back 1 Year Later -- After She Gave Them Away


Pregnant mom looks at baby clothes

For many families, hand-me-downs are a way of life. Either you're hanging on to them for a future kid or you're passing them on to a friend in need. And, if you're lucky, you might even be that friend in need, who gets bestowed with a basket full of impossibly cute baby things a fellow mama no longer needs. That's precisely what happened to one mom last year, who was expecting her first baby when her childhood friend dropped off two big bags full of baby clothes. The only hiccup? It's now been a year since the friend dropped them off -- and she's asking for them back.

  • The mom shared her story on the anonymous parenting forum Mumsnet, where she wondered aloud if she was the one in the wrong.

    She said the whole thing started back in August of 2019, when she was five months pregnant. That's when her friend dropped off two big bags of baby clothes for her new baby-to-be. 

    "Most of the clothes were good condition and very pretty," she wrote, whereas some were stained or slightly faded from many wears.

    She sorted through the offerings and kept what she wanted, and she's enjoyed dressing her daughter up in many of them ever since her birth four months ago.

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  • The mom insisted that she's "extremely grateful" for the outfits, because it's saved her "an awful lot of money" in these first few months.

    "My friend gave us lots of newborn [sizes], 0 to 3, and 3 to 6 months," she continued. "My daughter is a very chunky girl so was out of the 3 to 6 at around 4 months old."

    But it's at this point that she decided to pass on the clothes that she felt weren't too worn or stained to her sister-in-law, who is also expecting a girl. ("She was very grateful for [them]," the mom said, "It being lockdown and all.)

    And the rest? She wrote that she either threw them away or cut them up to be used as rags.

  • But recently, she found herself in a bit of an awkward sitch when the friend unexpectedly asked for the clothes back.

    The thing is, she was never under the impression that the clothes would need to be returned. 

    "My friend is not pregnant nor can she have any more children," the mom shared. "And before she gave me the clothes there was no mention of them being on loan. Or having them back when I was done."

  • Thinking she had misconstrued the situation, the mom messaged the friend to confirm and yep -- she wants them back ASAP.

    In fact, she requested them back "within the next week."

    "I find this really upsetting," the mom shared in her post.


  • Aside from not being able to get some of them back (due to the whole throwing-them-out thing), she feels weird about asking her SIL for the others.

    "I could get some of them back but my niece was only born in early May so is still in them and my brother and his young family have been struggling financially during the virus etc.," she wrote. "I don't really want to have to tell them that they need to buy all new clothes for their daughter because I need the clothes back to give to my friend. I also don't want to fall out with my friend over baby clothes."

  • In the comments, many of the moms told her she was not at all in the wrong.

    "She's being ridiculous," one person declared. "Nobody loans second-hand baby clothing. Unless she specifically said she wanted them back, just tell her the truth."

    "She should have been clear," another said. "When I've given people things I ask if they would like them. If I want them back I ask if they want to borrow them."

  • Still, others said the poster should have actually been the one right from the start to ask whether the friend wanted them back.

    "You should have asked if she wanted them back when you were done with them, before destroying or passing them on," another person said. "You will need to now replace them or get them back for her."

  • Some people tried to play devil's advocate ...

    "I'd double check the emails/messages when she gave you the clothes originally, to see if there was any wording that could have meant they were on loan," one person wrote. "If there was nothing to indicate a loan, explain that to her. You could offer to give her some of your DD used clothes as a replacement, but I'd also want to know why she now wants them back? Were they good brands which could be re-sold? Are they too now struggling financially?"

    Someone else wondered if the clothes had special meaning for the friend. "It's possible she's just realized that her daughter's baby clothes have some sentimental value that she's not ready to let go of yet," the person wrote. "I would tell her the truth that you didn't realize they were a loan and try to get back what you can."

  • But most people just jumped in with advice for how the mom could smooth things over with her friend going forward.

    (After all, she doesn't want to lose a whole friendship over some baby clothes.)

    One poster suggested she say, "So sorry, you never said that you wanted them back so I have passed them on to other children." The person added, "If it was a loan that needed to be clear."

    "Most people don't hand over bags of baby clothes and expect them back," another person commented. "Hopefully your friend is more sensible than that and will understand."

    One person mentioned that she needs to get back in touch with the friend soon.

    "You have to contact her asap as the longer you wait and worry the more anxious you will get," the person wrote. "A really, really simple 'I'm so sorry, I never knew that you wanted them back and don't have them any more' is all you can really say at this stage."

    Hopefully that'll do it -- because in the end, a simple "I'm sorry" goes a long way.