A baby’s skin is delicate compared to an adult’s. The sweat glands are also not active as yet. So a baby will feel both colder and hotter than an adult at the same temperature, and does not have the ability to cool down by sweating. While dressing a baby a mother needs to keep these facts in mind.
A lot of clothes for the baby may come as gifts and hand-me-down from friends and family. Older clothes which have been washed are softer and gentler on the skin of a new-born, so it is a good idea to use these clothes more frequently. However, some mothers do not like the idea of making their little ones wear used clothes, in which case it is advisable to wash all new clothes with soft detergent and dry them thoroughly before using.
As a rough estimate a newborn will need the following outfits:
One-piece outfits (5 to 7): Onesies are appropriate for sleeping and playing and because babies nap so frequently, these are very convenient. Try and get ones that open in the front as they are easy to get on and off.
Shirts (4 to 7): T-shirts with envelope necks and turtlenecks that stretch comfortably, so that it is easy to get over the baby’s head.
Leggings or pull-on pants (5 to 7): Separate pieces allow you to change one piece of dirty clothing without needing to change the whole outfit, so they are useful to have. Look for stretchy waistbands that fit easily over your baby’s diaper and belly – and expand as the baby gains weight.
Diapers are also an important component when dressing up new-borns. There are reusable diapers and disposable diapers to choose from. Reusable diapers are better for the environment and many people are choosing to go this route for diapers. If using washable diapers, then you again need to consider how often you will do the washing and get diapers accordingly. A minimum of ten disposable diapers may be needed every day, as newborns can pass urine up to 20 times, and pass stool five to six times in the early days.
If the baby is born during winter or autumn, then you also need to get warmer clothes and clothes that you can layer on your baby. Then it is easier to get off as many layers depending on the temperature indoors. You will also need a warm blanket, jacket, cap and booties for going outdoors.
While dressing up the baby, the upper garment should be put on first. Gently lift the head with one hand, supporting the baby’s neck and pass the garment over the head quickly. Follow it up by gently making the hands pass through the armholes. To put the pants on, scrunch one leg of the garment fully and pass it through one foot, followed by the other. Next step is to gently lift the baby’s back by placing your hand below the buttocks and pulling the garment up with your free hand.
While removing clothes, the pants should be removed first, followed by upper garment. To remove the t-shirt, the hands should be taken out first, followed by the head.
It is a good idea to wash all new clothes before putting them on baby. Not only will they be clean, but washed clothes are softer and may prevent skin rashes. Use a gentle detergent, free of dyes and perfume to wash your baby’s clothes.