If you are a new mother, you might find this post very useful. Also, if you are someone who is gifting clothes for a newborn you might want to read this up before you shop.
A newborn’s skin is brand new and super sensitive. The clothes that a newborn wears has to be thoughtfully picked so that it is easy for mum to clothe the baby and also comfortable for baby to wear.
1. Choose natural materials
Its best to use clothes made from natural materials like cotton or wool. In cotton, it is best to use organic cotton. Organic cotton is grown without any harmful pesticides and is the perfect safe choice for your precious baby’s delicate skin.
Materials made from synthetics are a big no no. Please read the label of the garment to ensure that nothing other than 100% organic cotton, cotton or wool is used.
2. Opt for baby safe colours
While pinks and blues might rule the wardrobe as per gender, it is best to use undyed and unbleached garments if possible. While that is THE best option, the next best option is ensure that the dyes are baby safe and eco-friendly. Most brands do not mention the dying practices though they are mandated to use baby safe dyes. So it is best to buy from reputed brands that specialize in baby clothing as they are more likely to follow the guidelines. Buying from a brand that ‘also’ makes baby clothing may not be such a good idea.
Remember that white is obtained by bleaching and darker colours may have used more colour fixing during the manufacturing process. So it is best to buy lighter coloured clothes if undyed and unbleached clothing is not available.
3. Pick a size larger
A newborn baby sleeps all day and feeds every 2-3 hours. While it may seem like the baby is not doing much other than that, it is growing rapidly. In four weeks time the baby might need clothes in a size larger than what it was when born! So based on your baby’s birth weight buy clothes that are not too snug, but have enough room for baby to grow and feel comfortable in.
If you are someone who is gifting a new born, it is wise to buy clothes in the 3-6 months or larger like 6-12 months range as the new parents will receive a lot of gifts and may not be able to use your gift at all in the first four weeks of the baby’s life as it is growing so fast.
4. Style the baby comfy
For a first time mother or even an experienced one, it may be daunting to move the baby’s limb while changing clothes. Also the baby’s head circumference at birth could be as large or larger than the shoulder. Clothes that have a wide neck called the ‘envelope neck’ are comfortable to easily slide it on the baby. Even better are rompers that have button open in the front like a kimono romper .
Do not buy clothes that have glitter, sequins, frills or any such fanciness. More often than not we are attracted to something that looks very cute. Take a moment and check if it is safe for the baby and comfy for baby and mum before you take it to the billing counter.
Mum might have to change soiled clothes at times when the baby is asleep and keep it quick. Hence clothes with press buttons or snap buttons are better than regular buttons or string closure which takes time.
Mums are advised to put their baby to sleep on its back to avoid SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). So it is best to avoid clothes which have buttons on its back.
In summary, the best choices are clothes which are open in the front and have press buttons and have enough room for baby to grow.
5. Dressing up in layers is practical
The baby has not developed body temperature regulation yet. Making the baby feel too cold or too warm is not good. It is always best to clothe baby in layers instead of one thick wear. The baby would need one light layer more than yourself at any point in time. If baby is cold, you will see that its fingers and toes turn bluish. If baby is too hot, it will break into a sweat. Either is not good and work with adding on or removing layers accordingly immediately.
6. Bundle baby in the right swaddle
A newborn is yet to develop a sense for day and night and wakes up often to be fed. Sleep is very important for the growing baby. A newborn displays startle reflex, where the baby wakes itself up shaking its arms as if it is falling. Since the baby spent 9 months in a cozy womb held tight, it is not yet used to sleeping on the bed’s straight surface, where it feels as it if it falling. So wrapping the baby in a swaddle helps the baby feel cozy enough and slowly get used to sleeping without it. Most babies are swaddled up to 6 weeks and naturally resist being swaddled beyond that point, while a lot of babies might enjoy being swaddled much longer.
Make sure that the fabric used to swaddle is airy and light and keeps the baby warm yet does not heat it up. Never use a blanket to swaddle a baby.
The best fabric is soft airy cotton muslin. A large muslin swaddle is a great gift option as no newborn can have enough swaddles.
7. Covering extremities
As tiny as a baby’s fingers are, its nails are sharp enough to hurt itself. So it is best to cover the baby’s hands in mittens. Baby’s nails grow very quickly and even if you have just trimmed it a day before, tiny sharp edges will surface.
Keep the feet covered well in socks/booties. Keep the baby’s head covered in a cap. Make sure that the baby’s head is dried thoroughly with a cotton towel after bath before wearing the cap.
You might see that the baby might drop its mittens and socks very often. So you may want to buy a full body suit which has built in mittens and feet covering/socks. These suits are great to use in the night as the baby grows up.
Shopping checklist for a newborn
- Sleeveless or half sleeve inner rompers
- Full sleeve t-shirts or shirts or rompers to wear on top of the inner wear.
- Pants Full body suits with built in mittens and socks
- Mittens and socks/booties
Look out for more info on gifting options for a baby in our next article.