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Would You Buy Second Hand For Baby?

Author: Naomi Liddell

It all started with prams. We still have the Baby Jogger City Mini that we used for Ethan and I… Adore that pram. The ease of use is just insane. We used it from newborn with Ethan, but he was born in the height of summer in Australia so having something that was open and airy was exactly what we needed.

With baby number two however, I’ll be doing twice daily school walks with Ethan and need to be prepared for the meteorological unpredictability of a British August. Will it be snow? Rain? Blistering sunshine? Who knows?
So the search began for a 3-in-1 travel system with a lie-flat, carrycot pram attachment that could be well protected, whatever the weather.

And when I say “the search began”… I mean I spent an entire day researching pram options. Which resulted in my jaw hitting the floor on several occasions (the price!!) and a complete (hormonal) overwhelm strop at the options available. I closed all tabs, walked away and felt no better about any of it.

By fluke, last weekend, my mother-in-law and I took a quick trip to a local Kids and Baby Market for a browse. As we walked in there was a pram section and I immediately spotted the beautiful, super minimal Uno Stride. It did exactly what I needed, looked great and was in almost new condition (save some wear on the tyres). The price? £170 for the entire system, car seat and all attachments included (also almost new). I snapped it up and was on my merry way within an hour of entering the place. Zero meltdowns. And no need to research the thing as if it were our next car purchase.

I’ve also snapped up a Moses basket & a Medela Swing breast pump for a steal via Gumtree (I intend on replacing the mattress and the pump tubes for hygiene reasons) and even scored a Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair off a good friend for free. I’m now on the pre-loved lookout for a baby bath and changing table.

Almost all of Ethan’s baby things were brand new. But this time around (considering we were not intending on having anymore and didn’t keep anything) I guess I just feel like buying everything brand new would be, well a bit of an expensive waste? There will be no more Baby Liddells after this one so it’s not like I can claim that each item is an investment. And they only use everything for such a short period of time.

I’m well aware that everyone’s financial situation and priorities are different. But I have heard of some couples taking out big loans in order to buy top of the range everything for baby. Each to their own I guess. Maybe they plan on having 6 kids or maybe they just deem the debt worth it. And there are plenty of folk who can afford to buy whatever they want for bub.

My secret worry is that as a society we’re falling victim to a massively booming ‘baby industry’ and all those beautiful Instagram nice-to-haves can very quickly start to look like must-haves. When in reality, babies need somewhere to sleep, clothing, nappies, a means to eat and loads and loads of love.

I say all this after having just bought the Tutti Bambini CoZee bedside cot brand new today because it’s just damn beautiful and very well reviewed. I’m happy to invest in a few often used, amazing products. Our first pram is also case in point.

I guess my question is… Are any of you lot feeling the stylised pressure of the baby industry?
Aghast like me at the price of some ‘must-haves’?
And what are your thoughts on buying second hand for baby?

{Contributors}
Author
Naomi can’t decide which she loves more: adventuring with her boys or being left alone in a luxurious bath with a great book.
Follow Naomi on Instagram @naomiliddell
This post may include affiliate links.

45 thoughts on “Would You Buy Second Hand For Baby?

  1. Totally! But I definitely found my standards around ‘brand new’ dropped with each child! I felt the need for shiny and new with my first, even turning down baby clothes from friends. 3rd time round, I’ll take anything! I think you come to realise how fleeting the time that they use things for is!! We did pay out first time round for a travel system but it did see us through 3 kids so I feel like it almost justified the price of a second hand car! Our 18 month old Ted is destined to be a classic ‘hand me down’ 3rd! Things like bikes and scooters that the bigger two had which they grow out of so quickly are waiting for him in the garage- I do feel bad that he rarely gets anything that was specifically bought for him but buying a new anything when we already have one seems silly! 2nd hand or hand me downs all the way!!

    1. There is definitely a bit of the guilts about the amount of hand me downs! I can imagine this being even more so with baby number three. But the truth this… They will likely have no idea!

  2. With my first I wouldn’t even consider anything second hand, I was too excited about choosing everything and having all new lovely things (and that was before I even used instagram!). Now I’m on to my second I’m less fussy and I do have a second hand pushchair but it was from the Mamas & Papas ‘loved for life’ bit where they deep clean it all and put new wheels on etc… so it pretty much felt new but was half the price! I have loads of second hand clothes for my kids but they are from friends / family…. I personally feel a tiny bit ‘ick’ about things like clothes when I don’t know the person they’ve come from. That might make me sound like a snob but it’s just how I feel! I think for equipment though and prams / toys etc then why not, if you find something you like and it’s in good condition!
    The only thing is I personally wouldn’t use a second hand car seat as you really have no way of knowing if it’s ever been involved in an accident and then it could be unsafe even if it looks fine. I am quite paranoid about car safety though and buy seats based on the crash test results etc you can read on ‘Which?’ I just think of all the money you spend on baby stuff this is the thing that could save their life or protect them from serious injury, so I’m willing to spend the maximum I can afford to get the safest option (and yes the priciest doesn’t always equate to the safest but that’s why it’s worth reading the crash test reports) x

  3. Yep I love a second hand bargain! We got a Snuzpod (got new mattress for it), bugaboo cameleon pram and stroke tripp trap (bargain £20 on gumtree) all second hand for our first and they are set to be used again for our second. I have no problem with it and just cleaned everything well and replaced the bits I thought would be more hygienic. I wanted the ‘good’ stuff but couldn’t afford the price! We did get a new car seat and all new baby clothes and toys.

  4. I’m all for second hand and hand me downs. Prams especially all claim to be built to last so it seems a waste not to. The only things I like new are car seats, unless I know the family they come from very well so can be 100% certain they haven’t been in an accident (and the manufactures claim their safety quality deteriorates after something like 5 years – it may not be true but I can’t bring myself not to believe it just in case).

    There is a Facebook group where o live for local mum’s to buy and sell things and I use that alot.

    P.s love your posts Naomi, thank you

    1. I’m now doubting my car seat choice! I was judging the fact that it’s immaculate and trusted the lady that sold it to me.
      Thanks for the lovely comment Louise! I love writing my posts.

      1. I’m sure it’s fine. She’s a fellow Mum and had no reason to sell you are car seat if she’d had an accident. She could easily have sold the travel system without the car seat and still got a good price.

        We’ve just given our old car seat to a friend but she’s the last of our friends to have a baby so I’m not sure what we’re going to do with the others. Having two children and two cars we’re going to have four car seats which we don’t need and I hate the thought of them ending up in landfill. Thankfully as more seats have built-in airbags it’s becoming easier to tell if they’ve been in an accident which will hopefully improve the secondhand market.

  5. Naomi you have 100% completely done the right thing. I have a son who has just turned 2 and an month old baby. First time round he has everything, second time round 1 obviously had most of the baby bits but no 1 is residing in said tripp trapp and the second is in a 11 quid ikea chair. My two year old even demands to sit in the ikea chair now annoyingly not his pretty grey stokke number. There is a wealth of second hand baby bits around that are in immaculate condition. I suddenly realised how snobby I had been the first time round and actually most of it you use for such a short amount of time is a complete waste. Especially prams. Spend your pennies on a fab holiday or something for yourself. A new baby doesn’t appreciate a £1200 pram! xx

    1. Rachel I highly rate those IKEA high chairs. Ethan had one and they were so easy to wipe down. Plus he was happy as larry in there. Also, I’m not sure the first time splurge is snobbery, it’s more just excitement and novelty.

  6. I definitely think there’s nothing wrong with second (or third or fourth!) hand. The amount of waste otherwise is crazy.

    We bought mostly new for our first (thanks to generosity of our parents mainly!) and it has all been used so much since then for our children and various others!

    My friends/family and I all pass around which saves a fortune and also it does tug on my heartstrings when I see a newborn of someone I love in the pram/crib/clothes my babies were once in.

    My best buy is probably a kiddicare crib that we bought new for £40 and has been used by no less than 7 babies in the last 5 years!

  7. Yep, tonnes of secondhand stuff! Pram, crib, cot, tripp trapp, clothes, toys, books, bouncers, even cloth nappies! A mix of family, friends and eBay. It meant we could get better quality and spend where it really counts like on the car seats, mattresses and shoes, plus less wasteful which I’m trying to be more mindful of. Plus I love a good eBay hunt!!

    1. I must admit to being more of a Gumtreee lover than an eBay lover. I just never can seem to get on board with eBay auctions and I find the user interface so busy! I know i must be missing out on gems though.

  8. Same! First baby I wanted everything new and turned down hand me downs. I think it’s the excitement you just want to choose things yourself; it’s part of the nesting for the baby! In fairness my iCandy is still going strong 6 years later so I don’t feel bad about the money we spent. However these days I sometimes buy second hand and definitely accept donations from my friends of clothes/toys/books. It’s not the money – it’s the waste! When my daughter was a baby I cringed at the bags of clothes we donated, much of it worn once or twice. They grow so fast it’s insane. I now don’t buy my kids that much, just what they need. X

  9. Totally second hand. Even with baby no 1! We had borrowed Moses basket, my old Tripp trapp, second hand bouncer etc etc, we even found a scoot balance bike on gumtree for £20 for her 2nd birthday! Second baby had third hand double buggy, second hand chicco next to me etc! We did treat him to his own teether for christmas (he was 10weeks old!) The only thing we have bought new are the travel system but still using now and will continue, def car seats and mattresses/bedding. I do have concerns over this seemingly consumer society and the nice to haves becoming must haves and wanting things for the ‘look’ altho I am guilty of this…thanks instagram!

  10. Such an interesting post. I have been feeling quite guilty about this as I seem to be only wanting to buy new!! This is our first (and very much eagerly awaited) baby and I just feel like I want to buy and choose everything myself and have it all shiny and brand new! Perhaps it’s just a first baby thing I don’t know. We would also love to have more children so my idea is that we buy once and can keep for use next time. If I find out it was all a waste of money then I will live and learn. Right now, I am so excited for our new arrival that whilst we have the budget then I am going to go for it!

    I do feel like Instagram pressure can be a real negative thing though and I am trying not to fall foul of that. I made a note of the NHS recommendations for a newborn and its handy to refer back to when I need to reign it in!

    1. Knock your socks off Sarah! I bought a lot of new things with Ethan and there is definitely a method in the idea of buying quality ‘family’ items that will last for future kids (yours or others) too.

  11. My daughter’s cot bed was £6.66 on eBay! It was by Mamas and Papas and we figured if it was rubbish when we picked it up, we’d only lost £6.66. Turned out the parents selling it had triplets who had grown out of their cot beds so they just wanted them gone as they needed the space. We even sold it on for a profit!

    She also had a second hand Moses basket, jumperoo, baby walker, lots of her toys and clothes were hand me downs, and I sell most of the things she grows out of (apart from clothes, which I donate to charity).

  12. Loads of second hand stuff here – great local Facebook selling sites for kids stuff.
    We had a new travel system and cot for number one, but number two is now making use of everything – poor chap even gets a pink sleeping bag if there’s been a laundry failure!
    There are a few things (Ikea highchairs, jumperoos, our Phil & Ted’s buggy) that I feel ought to come with a ‘now used for X children’ certificate for you to update and pass on to another family!

    1. The pink sleeping bag thing is cute. I intend to reuse most of Ethan’s blue blankets/sleeping bags/ clothes etc no matter what the sex of this kid is. its nuts how strongly we gender label colours!

  13. I don’t think income has much to do with it at all. We have a much bigger income than most of our siblings yet we’ve used mainly hand me downs which they have refused. For me, its sentimentality. The crib has rocked three of my cousins’ children and is currently in storage waiting for my brother’s children to use it. For safety reasons, we got a new mattress.

    I wouldn’t get a second hand car seat for safety reasons.

    We got a new pram because I wanted one and because I think prams get battered about a bit and crusted with crap. We’ve used it for two babies as we had them close together.

    I think it also depends where it comes from and the condition. Would I buy second hand cheaper stuff? No because I don’t think it washes as well as the more expensive brands. Would I use three suitcases of Petit Bateau nautical wear and Saltwater sandals….Hell Yes.

    Also you KNOW its the rules to bring your second baby home in the same outfit as the first?

  14. As this will be our first and only baby, and we’ve spent his entire university fund conceiving him, we’re definitely up for saving some money, particularly on prams which are super spendy. However, I want to make sure I buy the right pram for us (regardless of whether it’s first, second or third hand) and I’m wary about getting hold of a bargain that’s not ideal in the long run.
    That said we’ve done zero research so far so I have no idea what our shortlist looks like!

    1. Oh definitely Lauren – I curse our hand me down pram frequently and often wish I’d been able to choose our own (although I’m sure that whatever we had would have negatives somewhere!).

    2. I think part of the reason we bought things like our pram second hand was because we weren’t 100% sure what we wanted or what our life requirements would be like with a baby. Would I get the bus everywhere, or drive, would we go on country walks or be more in the city?! In the end buying second hand took the pressure off, and we said we would buy a new pram once we had found the pros and cons of the one we bought second hand, if the cons were too much. We haven’t bought new, but we have learned what’s important to us in a pram so if we do buy new if there’s a next time we will know more what to look for! The only things we bought new were the cot, car seat and bedside crib. The bedside crib mainly because buying second hand didn’t make financial sense after buying a new mattress. We bought a few bits and pieces of clothes but other than that all gifts or second hand. And I love, Love, Love lending his things to other mama friends! Xx

    3. Whether new or second hand, ask questions from anyone that recommends theirs. How often does it go in the car, how big’s the car, how much shopping do they put in it, do they take it off road. If their lifestyle matches yours then it could be a contender. (I ended up buying something else secondhand to leave in the car as that was a lot cheaper than a bigger car!)

    4. Lauren, book yourself a John Lewis nursery appointment…they take you through everything you’ll need for baby (sleeping, bathing, prams, car seats) and then you get free coffee and cake after! Such a well spent couple of hours..mmy husband and I felt loads more prepared after test driving (!) prams and car seats and being able to touch them, not just see them online. So excited for the arrival of your little one xxx

      1. Oh and we got loads second hand…pram (which was one we saw in-store and then saw someone local was selling on eBay!) Cot bed, jungle gym, baby bouncer. And I LOVE a gootld charity shop rummage for baby clothes…the Oxfam local to my Mum sells lots of brand new M&S clothes, she got my son some trousers this week for 49p! xx

  15. We had a mix of second hand and new for our son – parents wanted to buy something for the baby so we had a new cot and snuzpod. We were given a relative’s travel system (pram and car seat) which was great cost wise, but the pram was used heavily for two years by the previous owner and it’s a bit lopsided… it’s also not one I would have chosen (although I did appreciate not having to research them all!) as it is heavy and very wide with a tiny basket, but I don’t feel that we can replace it given how expensive they are!

    We were also loaned a bouncy chair, baby bath (thankfully as my son only lasted two months in that!), Moses basket (which he hated…) and clothes (but from a friend with a girl..!). I’d happily buy more toys second hand. Especially since my son’s current favourite toy is the light switch 🙄

  16. I’ve become much more relaxed with baby number 2 although we did have some pre-loved items for baby number 1. I felt so much pressure (not sure where from…) to have new everything first time around but tried to ignore that second time around.

    We’ve been given far more clothes second time round and I’ve bought from local FB pages/eBay. One thing that stops me doing it more though is the time it takes!! I’m a rubbish bargain hunter.

    I’ve also bought birthday and Christmas present from local FB groups. I felt a bit of guilt (the pressure that the amount you spend = the amount you care… anyone else feel that?!) but then watch the kids play with the toys and the guilt goes! I’ve also sold what I could, gifted, used freegle and donated to charity shops. I hate putting anything in the bin!

  17. Yes to second hand! We got our baby jogger summit x3 from eBay and it was immaculate. It’s amazing what you can find! So much of the stuff I found I just didn’t need- baby baths are just a pain for me, bouncy chair useful for about 12 weeks then they hated it. Also toys for the bigger ones- we got 100 Schleich animals for £85 for S’s first birthday and am eyeing up some dinosaur bundles…👀👀

    Go careful though and always ask about smoking. I forgot to ask one time and became the proud owner of 40 My Little Ponies that smelt like an ashtray. We spent hours last summer washing them but they never quite got fragrant enough and now live in the sand pit… only lost a £5 but still it was grim.

    From an archaeology perspective, conspicuous consumption in its various forms has been around a long long time. IG just seems like the latest digital incarnation of it.

  18. Our first baby is due any day now, and the temptation to buy everything on instagram was real! We decided the main things we wanted new to last us through multiple children, which just ended up being the travel system (which we actually got less than half price ex-display, thank you mothercare!) and a cot. Both were generously given to us by grandparents. Everything else I’ve turned in to a gumtree/Facebook/eBay addict scouring for the items we wanted but didn’t want to shell out full price for – snuzpod, sleepyhead, nursing chair, pacapod etc. And we’ve been fortunate to have been given /lent a lot of stuff by friends. I still feel like I’ve bought in to all the Instagram brands though, even second hand, but I figure we can hopefully sell them on for a similar price if we figure out it’s not what we need. One piece of advice I would have is to start purchasing stuff early & space it out as baby crap costs a LOT!
    Also I’ve been using the RMF archives a lot, articles & comments – so thank you for keeping them still available!

  19. We’re on our first child but we are very much second hand all the way. I buy nearly all R’s clothes off eBay and have got some absolute bargains. Our Bugaboo Bee was second hand from gumtree and I have got loads of other bargains from therex. We were lucky enough to be gifted an ISOfix, Maxicosi car seat and prep machine for free. I just can’t bring myself to spend loads of money on stuff the baby does not care whether it’s old or new. The way I see it, it’s money we can spend on holidays and general lovely times which I would much rather have.

  20. I love your posts Naomi! We bought mostly new for our first (I’m such a bargain hunter that we got great deals on everything 😂) as everyone we knew had long since had children, not had them yet, etc so hand-me-downs weren’t an option. I’m so looking forward to dressing future children in my son’s clothes as they’re still in beautiful condition and there’s definitely something sentimental about it.

    Also, I bought the Tutti Bambini Cozee and LOVED it! So sturdy but lightweight, easy to see baby without disturbing them, adjustable tilt for reflux/illness and looks gorgeous 👍

  21. I had a second hand pram with my little laday. The costs of a new one brought me out in a cold sweat!! Also many of my friends had mentioned how many different prams/strollers they had been through.
    I just couldn’t justify the spend on something that I may not actually use for that long or even like once we got to using it. I mean a couple of pushes around a shop and then you part with £000s!?
    Instead we got a brand new car seat which I felt was much more important to get the right one rather than skimping on.

  22. Oh my goodness how have I only just seen this post?!

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I’m only on baby #1 (and based in Australia) but I have got so much for our daughter second hand. Including pram, cot, bassinet, change table, breast pump (for some reason people think this is gross but you sterilise the thing to within an inch of its life daily!), merino kids sleeping bags, and clothes – so many clothes! Babies get through clothes so fast, and especially once they start daycare, you don’t want them ruining expensive things. I bought all of her clothes new to begin with, and people gifted us so many beautiful things when she was tiny. But dresses are basically useless unless bub can walk, and up until 3 months all she lived in was Bonds Wondersuits (I know you’ll be missing those in Blighty!).

    It’s not just a money-saving thing either for us. Environmentally, it boggles my mind how many brand new plastic toys kids are given. We have boxes of them! Many of them are hardly played with, and yet people venture out and spend hundreds of dollars on new stuff and the old stuff just adds to landfill. It’s terrible and such a comment on the throwaway nature of our society.

  23. Love this post. I’ve got the one child who’s 10 now. My parents bought a lovely wooden cot for their own house when my older sister had her first baby. That was in 1995. Since then every one of their grandchild has used the cot when staying overnight at my parents. 6 babies! Eventually when i had my son they gave me the cot and we used it till he outgrew it. And it was still in perfect condition.

  24. I absolutely LOVE this piece! I am on my first little boy, and I struggled with this. I felt like I needed to buy an entire list of things that may or may not have been needed! On top of that, I felt like there was a lot of cute stuff, but most of that cute stuff was SO expensive!

    I actually decided to combat this by starting my own company! It’s called Declan Roe (www.declanroe.com). Essentially it is a deal site that focuses exclusively on children’s clothing! We think that you can get cute, new, cheap children’s clothing. We are based in the U.S., but would love to hear what you think about it!

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