Friday, December 5, 2008
I don't know about you but, to me, hand-me-downs are one of life's great blessings. My husband and I are each the youngest of three children and we have ten nieces and nephews. Since my son was a newborn, I have received boxes full of beautiful, classic clothes to use thanks to my sister who has two boys of her own (and taste very similar to mine!). My brother has girls, so when C. arrived, I had a new source. My siblings and siblings-in-law will tell you-- there is very little I will turn down. Similarly, as we've had essentially back-to-back pregnancies, my sisters-in-law and I have passed a box of maternity clothes between us, each adding more as she goes.
I adore hand-me-downs. I can't imagine how much I've saved.
If you have a preemie, especially a very tiny preemie, you usually end up with a fairly large collection of preemie-sized baby clothes. These are garments designed for babies under 5 lb and, while I'm sure they all look super tiny to most people, there's actually a huge variance in how preemie sizes run. So, within your collection, you probably have a spectrum of sizes.
The thing about preemie clothes is this... hopefully, your siblings, friends, and neighbors won't need them. You can pass on those 0-3 month sleepers and feel confident they'll fit for at least a couple of weeks (!), but preemie clothes? Even small-ish newborns find newborn size clothes a better fit.
If you don't know anyone personally who has a preemie, I encourage you to talk to your local children's hospital. Whatever hospital has the highest level NICU in it. (FYI, this is often a teaching hospital.) Many of these hospitals are happy to accept used preemie clothes. And, in reality, my preemie clothes would be the only size that was completely "new to me". So they're in excellent shape. For all sorts of reasons, there are lots of NICU preemies who don't have families supplying them with clothing. The nurses are happy to have a collection on hand to use for these babies. Clothing, like blankets, can be washed and re-used. It happens, even in hospitals, all the time.
Most clothing drive campaigns for preemies request new garments. And that's wonderful. But if you're looking to contribute, and what you have to offer is gently used, contact your hospital... odds are good your generosity will be much appreciated and you won't have to shell out extra cash to make a difference.
For more frugal ideas, visit Crystal's Frugal Friday!