05/02/2013 12:22 pm ET Updated Jul 02, 2013

Does It Really Matter If Your Second Baby Wears Hand-Me-Downs?

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The fact that second kids get the shaft, according to a study out of the U.K., will not come as a surprise to anyone.

The survey found that one fifth of parents reported that they spent, on average, $300 less on their second children than they did on their first. The cost difference in the study is attributed to mothers saying they learned what they needed and what they didn't with their first child, as well as having the ability to pass on items as hand me downs, especially pricey essentials like car seats and strollers.

The Daily Mail reported on the study and a blogger commented on it, admitting that if she were to have a second child, she would feel the need to re-buy things, even if they are not necessary, so that her second child wouldn't feel like they got the shaft.

My children are 26 months apart, and are different genders. I bought precious little for my son when he was a little baby. Most of the newborn stuff I received for my daughter was gender neutral because we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl before she was born, but honestly, the stuff that wasn't gender neutral we used for him anyway. He didn't know his sleeper had flowers on it when he was three months old. And honestly, even now that he's older (he just turned two) I still don't think he'd care. My daughter's car seat was still years before its expiry, her stroller still functional, her infant clothes in great shape given that she spurted through sizes every month it seemed. So why not reuse them?

No, I wouldn't re-buy items to replace perfectly good ones to apparently spare my child's feelings. And I don't think not getting my child new things when it's not necessary is giving them 'the shaft.' In fact, I'd hope, if he was old enough to care, he'd learn that recycling is a good thing and that reusing is responsible. I'd hope it would mitigate materialism. At the very least, it shows that I'm not going to throw out money to get the newest and coolest, just because.

Related: Rebecca Eckler on Having Another Baby

Babies don't know -- and don't care -- if they are using their older sibling's hand me downs. They don't have it worse than their older siblings, just because they don't have a fancy new bouncy seat. The only person who knows or who cares that it's the same stuff is the parent who passed it down.

Says the blogger: "But as the mom of a seven-year-old, if I ever were to have another child -- I think I'd feel guilty giving him or her the shaft and not spending quite as much as I did on my son. Yes, I realize that sounds pretty materialistic and slightly crazy. Let me explain." She goes on to explain that, seven years later, some items might expire and others would be woefully out of date.

The expiry date issue is a safety one, but as far as the items being out of style? They're babies. Who cares? My daughter's clothes weren't really stylish anyway. She mostly lived in two-piece sets from Carters and hand-me-downs from my niece, who is four years older. I wasn't too good for hand-me-downs and neither is my daughter. I'd much sooner save gobs of money by not buying new clothes when I can get perfectly good clothes from my niece who no longer fits in them.

I'd say 75 per cent of my daughter's wardrobe up until this point, at the age of four, have been hand me downs from my niece. And she's my oldest child. So my first got the shaft too, I guess.

I don't think the measure of kids having it good or getting the shaft is based on the new stuff they get when they're too young to know the difference. And if you have the money and desire to replace perfectly good items for your second child so that they don't feel like they don't have it as good as their older sibling, then go nuts. But you doing so won't be a service to the younger child and it won't be giving them a sense of fairness. Because as babies, they won't know the difference anyway. Call a spade a spade and acknowledge that the only person who would think the younger kid is getting the shaft, is you.

Written by Leslie Kennedy for

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