Clothes & Other Items Your Newborn Baby Will Need
Clothes & Other Items Your Newborn Baby Will Need
Your baby will be growing very rapidly during the first year, so be sure to buy her clothing to fit loosely. It's generally better to begin with 3-6 month size instead of newborn sized clothing.
Knitted nightgowns are entirely practical. The mittens on the ends of the sleeves, which are to keep babies from scratching themselves, can be worn open or closed. The long gowns make it harder for babies to kick off their coverings; the short ones may be preferable for a hot climate.
Pullover and snap closing undershirt: The latter is slightly easier to put on a small, limp baby. Medium weight and short sleeves should be sufficient unless a baby will live in an unusually cold house. Some brands have tabs to pin diapers to, which will help an inexperienced parent keep the diapers from falling down.
Stretch suits of polyester, sometimes combined with cotton or of terry are increasingly popular for daytime wear for babies, but can also be used for sleeping. They snap or zip from the neck down one or both legs.
Sacks and kimonos are short jackets and long gowns, front opening, usually of flowered cotton flannelet, to be worn over shirt or nightie for a dressier appearance.
Sweaters, generally made of acrylic, are useful in a cold house, a cold sleeping room, or outdoors in cold weather, to add extra warmth over or under the other clothes when the baby is up or under other coverings when in bed. Be sure that there are shoulder snaps or well-secured buttons.
Outer clothes for outings in cold climates. A snowsuit or pram bag is a zippered bag in which the baby is encased up to the shoulders. A pram suit has a coverall shape and also encloses the feet and may come in one or two pieces. It should zip or snap from neck to foot. These outer garments are usually made of water-repellent, synthetic layers, oftentimes quilted for insulation.
Bibs: Small round bibs are useful for keeping drool off the clothes. For the mess that babies or children always make with their solid food they need a large bib of plastic or terry (or a combination), preferably with a pocket along the lower edge to catch the food that comes running down. Plastic is easily rinsed, but just looks uncomfortable to the adult. Be sure there is a cloth binding around the neck. A terry bib can also be used for wiping the face if you can find a dry corner.
Diapers: More parents now use disposable diapers that come in various sizes and thicknesses for day and night. They have attached adhesive tapes that do not require pins.
Generally, disposable diapers are expensive, their use may bring a higher incidence of diaper rash, and they tend to be an ecological nightmare because practically no one follows the appropriate disposal instructions. Diaper service is available in some cities. The company supplies the diapers as well as launders them, and supplies a container. If you are going to wash your own, you can save money.
The most popular materials for cloth diapers are gauze, cotton flannel, and bird's-eye. The gauze diapers are quicker drying but do not hold as much of the urine when the baby is larger. Two dozen will cover your needs if you wash them every day and don't use too many for sheets, towels, etc. Six dozen will cover all possible needs. Get the large size. Some parents prefer to use disposable diaper liners with the cloth diapers.
Waterproof pants over cloth diapers are a special help when you are going places with the baby. (Disposable diapers have a waterproof interlining.) Whether you use waterproof pants at home depends on how well the baby's skin stands up. When a baby has no waterproof pants on, a lot of the urine in the cloth diaper is absorbed into the surrounding clothing and evaporated.
With waterproof pants the diapers stay much wetter and warmer. This favors diaper rash. As long as your baby's skin is clear in the diaper region, you can use pants as much as is convenient. When there is diaper rash, leave them off. Wash them each day. Pants come in pull-on and snap-on styles. Waterproof silk or nylon pants stay soft longer than plastic pants. The elastic at the edges is less irritating when enclosed in a soft binding. Make sure the fit is not confining or tight around your baby's legs.
At around 6 months of age, when babies can move about in their cribs, most parents find it more practical to put them to bed in sleep bags or walkers than to try to keep blankets over them. (They simply crawl out from under their covers.) The bags are shaped like long nighties, which cover the feet and have sleeves.
The bed walkers are shaped like coveralls or snowsuits, enclosing each leg separately, including the foot. (The sole of the foot may be of tough, non-skid material.) These bags are generally made of polyester, frequently combined with cotton. Many of the bags can be let out in the length and shoulders as the child grows.
Federal law requires that all sleepwear be flame-resistant, from infant through size 14. If a baby or child is going to sleep in a room which is warm enough so that you would be comfortable wearing a cotton dress or shirt or sleeping under a cotton blanket, the baby's bag or walker shouldn't be warmer than the cotton blanket. If the room is cold enough so that an adult would require a good wool or acrylic blanket for covering, the baby will need a polyester bag or walker.