Baby Clothes: Essentials and Tips
There are many super clothes around for babies and toddlers and it’s so easy to go overboard and waste your money on something that just sits in the drawer. If you plan a baby’s basic wardrobe carefully, you can still add that desirable item as an impulse buy! So you don’t want too many clothes but you will certainly need to have enough, although one thing is certain, you won’t get it exactly right.
Babies grow incredibly fast so the clothes that fit them nicely at birth will be outgrown within a matter of weeks and many babies are big enough at birth to go straight into second-sized clothes. Friends and relatives are also likely to buy first-size clothes as presents, so only buy the absolute minimum. Winter babies will need more clothes to wear than summer babies and during the summer it is easier to get clothes washed and dried quickly, even if you haven’t got a tumble drier.
Most babies will wear a stretch suit (sometimes called Babygros after the company that invented them) which can be worn both day and night. You will need a surprising number of these – six or seven is usually quoted as the minimum. If you are offered any hand-me-downs, these can save money but even if they are not to your taste, they are worth keeping for those days when baby seems to posset over everything all the time! Choose stretch suits that fasten all the way down both legs for easier changing. And those that fasten down the front are easier to put on a small baby than those that fasten at the back.
If the weather is cooler, then your baby needs something on top. Pure wool cardigans can be difficult to wash. Persuade anyone knitting for you to use machine-washable wool. Avoid knitted clothes with lacy patterns as a baby’s tiny fingers can easily get trapped. Matinee jackets are usually wider at the bottom than at the top and therefore flare out over the nappy area which makes them more attractive. Socks are usually easier to keep on than bootees and can be worn under a stretch suit. Tights are better still. Girls can look very pretty in dresses but once they start to crawl, the fabric only gets in the way.
For going out, your baby will need to be wrapped up warmly. Remember that if you are walking, the exercise will be keeping you warm. But babies can get very cold just lying in a pushchair. A 2-in-1 pushchair will not have a mattress or any significant padding to keep your baby warm underneath. And since you must use the harness, it is difficult to pad underneath your baby for outings during the winter months. A good warm all-in-one is recommended. Buy this as large as your baby can possibly wear, firstly because he will grow quite a lot during the winter months and you won’t want to have to buy another for a cold snap in March. Secondly, if it’s large you can add layers of clothes underneath when the weather is very cold. Choose one with legs (rather than the sleeping bag type) as the car seat and pushchair will have crotch straps that come up between the legs.
We lose most of our body warmth from our heads and babies need to have their heads covered. This may be the hood from an all-in-one but you may find that a hat that comes over the ears and fastens under the chin is warmer and easier to keep on. During the summer, a sun hat is important, although you should try and keep your baby out of the sun if at all possible.
While many people know that it is important that baby is kept warm, it is easy to fall into the trap of keeping them too warm, especially in our centrally heated homes and warm cars. Dressing in layers makes it easier to adjust clothing to suit the temperature. This can be especially important in the car or if you take your baby into a heated shopping mall.