My daughter is growing up. Full disclosure, she's only 4 1/2 months... but she's definitely grown. Already there is a box of clothing which no longer fits her. My husband has given me strict instructions (& rightly so, otherwise I would have kept it all) to only hang onto a few items with which I cannot bear to part. We may be blessed with another child, we may not, there's also no telling if it would be a girl or a boy so at this point I'm really only saving things that hold meaning and memories for me.
Friends and family have been very generous and spoiled her with gifts. Much of it is the clothing that now fills her wardrobe but there is however a portion of her closet that contains "pre-loved" items, or those thoughtfully handed down from others. Many of these items are almost brand new (several actually are), most of it has been a huge help to have. I'm not all that fussed if my kid isn't always matching or in something new, sometimes "new to her", works really well. She tends to spit up (a lot) and so extra outfits, even ones lightly marked are always welcome and help minimize the seemingly endless amounts of laundry. That being said, I don't want to sound ungrateful but sometimes there are a few things that really should just be "retired".
At Christmas a family friend gave us a bag full of clothing. Each item was wrapped individually in tissue, clearly saved with the utmost of care. The card described the selection as "gently used" but "certainly loved" and although to some it could be viewed another bag of second hand clothes, to me it was a very personal gift. Given how hard it's been for me to pack up my daughter's early clothes, I quickly recognized the sentiment attached to these pieces which made the gift even more special. Some of those pieces have become favourites in our regular rotation.
Much of the clothing that I've boxed up is destined for The New Mom Project. Going through it all has made me reflect on how truly fortunate my family and daughter are. During my involvement with NMP I see firsthand what gets donated for our "Canadian Baby Boxes". Although not many (if any) bags of things individually wrapped turn up, much of what comes in carries with it the memory of it's previous owner and the promise of a new start wherever it may end up. Blankets that brought home new babies, favourite sleepers and first photo outfits, many of these will no doubt become regulars in the rotation at their new home. Unfortunately there are also some that are past their "best before date" and the volunteers at NMP are left to dispose of.
Part of our mandate is to provide families with a "healthy and loving start". In my humble opinion, stained shirts, anything broken and missing shoes don't do much to promote that. If you wouldn't want to remember your child's first smile in a discoloured onesie, why would you expect someone else to? It doesn't have to be in tissue paper, but the same mantra of "gently used" and "certainly loved" should certainly be kept in mind. Remember, every child deserves to feel special, like they matter.
Although we are appreciative of all the support, before making a donation, take a moment to ask yourself, "if it still fit, would I put my baby in this"? Let your answer be your guide as to how you proceed and if there is any confusion, let our guide provide you with an answer...