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Shakespeare wrote 'Neither a lender nor a borrower be' but don't think he was on a strict budget for kitting out his family!
Borrowing is ideal if you are on a tight budget and, equally, lending your equipment or clothes to others will be warmly welcomed. If you are the borrower, look after the items as if they were your own, replace anything you ruin and give them back just as soon as you no longer need them, ideally without having to be asked. And if you do lend, lend with an open heart and do expect some wear and tear, a few scratches, occasional breaks and possibly a few stains. Some baby items can take up valuable storage space when no longer used, so lending them out is ideal for freeing up some room at home. Let the borrower know in advance when you want the item back, perhaps for baby number 2. From my experience, the following are great baby items to borrow.
A Moses Basket
Your baby's first bed is often a Moses basket, which lasts them about four months. Because babies grow so fast these mini-beds get very little wear and tear, so are usually in great condition for borrowing. They can easily set you back £50+ new.
A Nursing Chair
These chairs are pricey but if you've ever sat in one in a nursery department you'll know how comfortable they are. They help keep your back straight and you can rock your little one off to sleep in them - and you too if you're lucky!
You still want to look good during your pregnancy, but buy as few items as you can and see if friends or sisters can lend you the rest.
A Baby Gym
Baby gyms tend to wash and wipe well and seem as if they'd last forever (mine's been in constant use for four years now), and so are ideal items to borrow.
A Baby Sling
Whether you favour a wraparound or clip in version of a baby sling, these papooses are indispensable.
A Travel Cot
If you plan to have baby and still spend time away from home, then a travel cot is essential. They can be quite cumbersome objects and take up valuable storage space in a cupboard so borrowing one - either as and when you need it or for a couple of years - makes total sense.
A Bumbo Seat or Bouncy Chair
These little baby seats bridge the gap between a baby wanting to sit up (about four months) and being able to do so (roughly 7-10 months). They are durable and pretty
much unspoilable, so borrow one in the sure knowledge that you can't ever really wreck it! A friend of mine sold hers for £15 on eBay this summer - about a third of its
cost - which is amazing as I had borrowed it for both my children and it still looked brand new.
A Door Bouncer
Because babies grow and develop so fast, there's only a small window of opportunity for them to bounce away in one of these contraptions.
Prams (as in the lie-down fl at versions) are only used for a limited period so tend to be an expensive buy. It is a real bonus if you can borrow a pram for a few months.
Do ask friends and family about borrowing something if you feel comfortable, and always offer in return to lend to trusted friends. Don't be proud. Time off with your baby can depend on being a tad brave about what your needs are. Goodwill depends on you being generous too.
Becky Goddard Hill, 2009
author of 'How To Afford Time Off With Your Baby'
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