I never knew there was such an issue with passing along baby clothes until I became a mom myself!
Here is an issue encountered by a friend of mine: She was pregnant with a 2nd child, did not want to know the gender, but already had a daughter. One of her friends was due about four months ahead of her with a girl. This other mom-to-be was a first-time mom, and strapped for cash, so my friend offered her hand-me-downs with the following condition: If her own 2nd child was a girl, please return them once friend's daughter outgrows them. (With a 4-month gap, this shouldn't have been an issue.) The "recipient" agreed. My friend's second baby turns out to also be a girl.
My friend explained that she didn't expect them all back at once, but figured since they saw each other often, she could bring them back a small bag at a time.
So, time goes by and my friend's friend's daughter clearly outgrows, say, the newborn and 3mo sizes, and nearly a year old; her own daughter is now wearing 6 mo. sizes. Friend politely has asked for the clothes back that the friend's daughter has outgrown, and her friend just refuses. No excuse, just won't do it.
So my friend told me all this and I was upset on her behalf. I don't even know the other woman so I won't say anything to her, but it really frustrated me because here my friend was trying to help out, and her friend agreed to the condition of returning the items when her own child outgrew them if my friend ended up having a girl, too, and now, my friend, who also isn't flush with cash, doesn't have enough items for her own child!
Understanding how she felt, I ended up going through the stash of items passed to me for my own baby (due in April) from my sister, and gave her roughly half of the stuff in the size she needs. I am of course hoping that she'll not turn around and behave the way her own friend did, and not return the items, but I kept enough stuff in reserve so even if she does that, I should be okay with my own daughter's wardrobe.
So, my friend doesn't want to ruin the friendship over these clothes, but asking directly hasn't gotten her anywhere. Other suggestions on what she should do? Or is she crazy for expecting them back (when that was the arrangement from the outset)?