When Baby No. 1 comes along, a big, blowout baby shower can make a lot of sense. After all, you’re starting from scratch. But when Baby No. 2 is on its way, a lot of moms don’t feel that they need all the fuss or the stuff. That’s why April Newton of Shelby Township decided to ditch the traditional baby shower when she was expecting her son, William.
“I’d done it before and it was nice, but for the second, not necessary,” Newton says. “A lot of my friends had so many of the things I needed because they’d just had babies. We just decided to have a small party and they could bring me some of their second-hand stuff.”
It’s a growing trend among moms who are mindful of wasting and spending less when it comes to items that will quickly be outgrown or unneeded. Moms who give items like the idea of extending the life of gently used goods, while moms on the receiving end are grateful to save money on big-ticket necessities.
And, thanks to the slew of mom-to-mom sales and resale shops in southeast Michigan, even shower guests who don’t have baby hand-me-downs can give in the same “new-to-you” spirit. But before diving into this new way of welcoming and outfitting baby, consider these tips.
1. Make sure the new mom is receptive.
Some people have hang-ups about using secondhand things for their baby, so it’s best to float the idea by the mom-to-be to see how she feels. While you’re at it, make sure dad-to-be and grandma are on board. Even for a first shower for a first baby, you can ask the mom if she is open to gently used items.
2. Consider what to give.
Clothing, toys and accessories, such as strollers and high chairs, are all good possibilities. Even a high-priced item like an electric breast pump can be a lifesaver, with the new mom only having to buy new attachments. Items like bottles and car seats are left up to your discretion, because bottles are used so often and can be bought cheaply, and some safety experts don’t recommend used car seats. You may also want to check before passing on ornate furnishings or bedding that may not mesh with the new mom’s decorating style.
3. Wrap a used gift simply.
Whether it’s a hand-me-down or something purchased resale, it’s best to keep sweet and simple. No need for ornate bows or fancy paper for these gifts. “It would kind of defeat the whole point of being more mindful of waste,” says Newton. Instead, reuse shopping bags and top it with a few sheets of tissue paper. Or, wrap the gifts in newspaper or magazine pages.
4. Don’t feel cheap.
Just because you’re not buying brand-new gifts for the mom-to-be doesn’t mean you aren’t being generous. In fact, Newton says she got even more items than she would have had she got everything brand-new.
“The money stretches when you’re buying things from resale,” she says, “and those giving me their hand-me-downs were happy to unload everything they had. It made them happy that I could put all of their kids’ clothes to use.”
Bonus: Great gifts for second or third showers
If you don’t need a new stroller or car seat, consider have friends and family chip in for something unique and memorable.
- Photography session: Professional baby portraits are priceless treasures. No one else can capture those little toes or triangle mouths quite so perfectly. Check out Metro Parent’s roundup of pregnancy and baby photographers.
- Cards for birthdays 1 to 21: Sabrina Hill and Joni Russell, authors of The Everything Baby Shower Book suggest purchasing birthday cards for birthdays 1 through 21. Give one card to each guest and have them write an age-appropriate message to the baby, child, teenager or new adult. Collect and seal in an attractive box and present to the new parents. These cards are to be given to the child each year on his or her birthday. This is a lovely and loving way to gift the baby anew each year!
- Stock up stuff: Have guests bring the necessities for a newborn – plenty of diapers, onesies, wipes, formula and burp clothes. Forget the rubber ducky that tests the bath temperature; just have guests bring along items that new parents go through quickly.
- Cleaning service: Ask folks to chip in and hire a cleaning service for a couple of visits. Besides home cooked meals, a clean house is one of the best treats for any new parent.
- Lavish gift. Think of something you wouldn’t buy for herself, such as a double jogging stroller or a double bike trailer. Or ask for something the family would enjoy: a pool, museum or zoo membership.