Some of the most exciting and fun purchases you'll make while you're pregnant will be all those tiny baby clothes. It's amazing to look at those tiny sleepers, undershirts, shoes, and hats and think that your baby is really going to be that small. It can be intimidating! But still, the urge to shop and dream is powerful when you are pregnant and baby clothes seem to call to you all the time.
There is no end to the racks of adorable outfits and you can clear the bank before the store clerk says "Matching booties?" Babies grow so quickly during their first year, so they won't get much wear out of most of those adorable clothes.When choosing clothes for your baby, keep in mind these pointers about style and design because function really does matter.
- Buy your infant's clothes in larger sizes. Purchase only a few items in sizes zero to three months as your baby will outgrow them rather quickly. Buy in sizes for 3-6 or 6-9 months as they will shrink with repeated washing, giving you longer wear than newborn clothes.
- Check for well-constructed seams and sturdy zippers. Your baby's clothes will require numerous washings and you want them to last through those washings, not fall apart after the first month. The inside seams should be soft, not rough or scratchy. Flat seams will prevent your baby's skin from chafing.
- Select clothes that allow easy access to your baby's diapers for changing. Sleepers or pants with domes, or snaps, are preferable because they are the simplest and fastest to open and close for quick changes or middle of the night diaper changes.
- Look for shirts with side or front openings, shoulder snaps or large, stretchable necklines. Most babies do not like t-shirts pulled over their faces, so if you have to pull a shirt over your baby's head, you want to do it easily and quickly. Likewise, if you have to button up your baby's undershirt or sweater, you want the buttons or snaps to be easy to manage, especially when your baby is squirming around.
- Dress your baby as you would dress yourself and then add one layer. You don't want to expose your baby to extreme cold or overheat your baby. When your baby is the right temperature, their hands and feet should feel cool and their body warm. Your baby's skin is very sensitive and prone to heat rash which can be very uncomfortable and upsetting to look at. Layers allow you to adjust your baby's temperature as the temperature changes.
- Babies lose most of their heat through their head. It is important to keep your baby's head covered when they are very small, especially on cold days or when outside.
- Keep your baby away from direct sunlight on hot days. Your baby's skin can burn easily. Protect your baby with long-sleeved, lightweight clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and always keep them in the shade. If the temperature is around 80-90 degrees or above, all your baby needs is a diaper, a T-shirt, a hat, and shade from the sun.
- Wash all baby clothes, crib bedding, baby towels, and baby washcloths with a mild baby detergent before using them for the first time. There may be residue left on the fabric from the manufacturing process that will irritate your baby's skin. You should use a mild baby detergent to wash all of your baby's clothes for the first year to prevent skin rashes and irritation. Clothes, and especially cloth diapers, should be double rinsed to ensure all of the soap is removed from the clothes.
- Keep your baby clothes safe! Clothes with long ties or decorated with small objects such as buttons or appliqués may pose risks to your child's safety, such as strangulation or choking. Frills, lace, and patches shouldn't be scratchy, easily pulled off by tiny hands, or tangle tiny fingers. Front buckles and snaps are likely to be more comfortable for a younger baby who sleeps on her back and sits in a baby swing most of the day, but bows on the back will be terribly uncomfortable.