How to dress a newborn

dressing a newborn laundry newborn sizes wardrobe what to expect

No matter what the occasion, no matter what the situation, your baby needs clothes that are not only comfortable, but also easy to change.

You'll be changing a lot.

But that doesn't mean you just get a ton of different outfits.

Before you spend a good chunk of your net worth on baby clothes, it's important to note that babies grow really fast, especially in the first year, so don't get too many outfits in the smallest of sizes.

Besides, many may not even fit, depending on how big or petite your baby is. 

For us, we only bought a pack of onesies - the rest of our starter wardrobe we pretty much got as gifts!

But in case you have less luck than us, you will need to do a primer in newborn clothes' sizes. Luckily this isn't rocket science.

Size triple zero - 000 - is meant for babies 0-3 months old

Size double zero - 00 - is meant for babies 3-6 months old

Now, if you have a big baby, he or she may be able to go straight to double zero. You can't preempt that, but generally speaking, if you get bigger sizes (and remember you have them when the time comes) it won't be a loss. 

A good rule of thumb is to buy the minimum amount of clothes in each size. 

And remember, as far as sizes are concerned, each manufacturer has different sizes. A 000 from one may be the same as 00 for another. Yes, just how it is with your clothes. 

So what makes a newborn starter wardrobe?

  • A few cotton bunny rugs.
  • A few muslin (gauze) wraps.
  • Definitely half a dozen singlets.
  • A dozen jumpsuits (you can use these for nightwear).
  • Not any less than three tops.
  • A couple of cardigans regardless of the weather.
  • A couple of jackets if it's cold.
  • A couple of cotton hats.
  • A few pairs of socks.

This starter pack might not work in Finland, but we've never lived in such cold, but I think it's safe to say the above will work in a centrally heated environment. 

It might not work in the Middle East either, but let's assume an air-conditioned environment (and then it does!).

Now, what kind of clothes will work best?

Our favourite ones are stretchy jumpsuits that have buttons or zips on the front.

Tops with envelope necks work pretty good too, especially if your baby has a large head.

But remember, if your baby is being fussy or is unsettled, adding or removing a piece of clothing that goes over the head will be a struggle. 

Definitely avoid anything elaborate that requires washing by hand, or ironing. The first few months you won't have such time. 

Comfort always comes first, as we already mentioned, especially for nightwear. 

Best to avoid clothes with beading, threads, ties, drawstrings and attachments. 

Is layering important?

There's no simple answer to this, because it depends on where you are and what kind of weather you're facing. Newborn babies do need to stay warm, but it's important to also understand they can get overheated. 

Your newborn baby loses heat through their head. If they have a wooly hat on for too long in an already warm environment, they might sweat way too much and become dehydrated. 

Wrapping your baby in bunny rugs or blankets might be too much warmth when lightweight muslin or cotton wraps will do.

On the other hand, in cold weather, it's best to dress your baby up in layers. If you think the baby is feeling hot, you can easily remove layers. 

Again, the rule of thumb is that the baby should be wearing the same number of layers as you, plus one

Is dressing a newborn really such a big chore?

Yes. I know grown up kids who find it annoying when they're asked to change, so you can bet that most newborns find dressing and undressing to be an upsetting experience. 

You need to be swift when you do it but it's essential that you do not panic, as your stress will transfer over to the baby and then you'll both be upset. It's easier said than done.

Now, while there are no sure shot guidelines out these for dressing a newborn, we can offer you some tips that might help:

  1. Try your best to find a nice, soft, warm spot to place the baby.
  2. That pee could be aiming for your face (especially if it's a boy) so put a nappy on at all times. Some say you should use it as a shield even if it hasn't been secured yet.
  3. Avoid scraping the little one's face while pulling over the neck of a singlet. It tends to scrape their eyes, nose, ears and lips if you don't put it on from the back. The trick is to lift the baby's head and just put it on from the back first. And do the reverse when you're undressing. 
  4. Watch out for those delicate little fingers as you power through the arm holes. It's important to visualise it.
  5. Watch out for zips. Some fasteners don't have a layer of protective fabric which means not closing them completely could cause an injury. Others might come too close to that chubby skin as you fasten them causing it to get stuck. Use your judgement but be aware.
  6. If your baby is going out in the sun or when it's cold, always make sure their arms and legs are clothed. It's best to keep them out of direct sunlight or cool winds. 
  7. One great thing you can always do is sing or talk to your baby while changing them. They may not understand your words but your tone can communicate what you're doing and enhance this bonding activity between you and your child. 

Now, what about the nuisance that is laun-der-ee?

As long as you don't use strong detergents or fabric softeners, you can wash your baby clothes with the rest of your laundry. No need to run separate batches - you already have a lot going on. 

Some people use a nappy sanitiser for the pre-soak, especially if their baby has started to eat solids. That avocado stain will need some extra help to come off the bib.

Whatever the case, if you use cloth nappies, you'll need to soak them before washing. 

Hope you found this to be a helpful guide. We wouldn't mind if you shared it with friends or family who have just had a baby or even ones who need to know what to expect when they have a baby.

And last but not least, do checkout our newborn collections for boys and girls. We keep adding new stuff that gets sold out fast.

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