Tips For Buying Baby Clothes

Are you going to have a baby, or have a friend who is? One of the best parts of a baby shower is seeing all the cute little baby clothes everyone gives the expectant mother. For instance, I once got a friend's son a T-shirt that said, 'My mom is hot.'. Another friend got a onesie that says, 'Give up the binky and no one gets hurt!” In addition to humorous messages that are completely lost on the baby, there are all kinds of adorable shirts and dresses that you can't help but want to see a baby in, even (or especially!) if it isn't yours. However, 'cute' doesn't always equal 'practical'. If you're confused as to what kind of baby clothes to buy, here are a few things to keep in mind.

-You'll probably want to buy clothes in a larger size than the age given on the tag because they usually aren't accurate. For instance, I've known several 9-month-olds who were in 12-month-old clothes and 18-month-olds in 24-month-old clothes! Babies seem to be bigger nowadays than they were before, and the clothing industry has yet to catch up. Some stores will go by weight rather than age, but you still might want to 'buy up' because babies grow insanely fast.

-Don't worry too much about what detergents you use to wash your baby's clothes. Unless she has very sensitive skin (and you'll know this soon enough), just use the same stuff you use for everyone else.

-Baby clothes should be easy-on, easy-off. Unlike 'regular' clothes, baby clothes are constantly being taken on and off by the babies themselves, for diaper changes, etc. Long zippers or rows of snaps down the front, a snap opening at the bottom, loose necks, etc are essential. It's worth noting that zippers can get stuck, though, so be sure not to catch any of the baby's skin or hair.

-Any clothing you get for your baby should be easy to move around in. For this reason, it might be a better idea to layer clothes on your baby to keep him warm as opposed to getting him a heavy coat. One common rule is to dress your baby in the same type and number of layers you are wearing, plus a blanket or something else that can keep him warm but is still comfortable. I'm saying 'blanket' because some babies are warm-natured and a blanket is an easy layer to remove if he feels hot. Fabrics should be light and breathable.

-Avoid a lot of embellishments like ribbons and buttons. I say this because these things are more likely to come off, thus posing a choking hazard. You most likely won't need a whole lot of 'Sunday go-to-meeting' clothes for a baby anyway unless your family goes to a lot of fancy church events.

-You probably already do this for your clothes, but wash all new baby clothes before use to reduce the possibility of skin irritation.

-Even if your baby doesn't wear shoes, she needs a lot of pairs of socks. Since baby socks rarely stay on for more than five seconds, it's probably a good idea to keep a few pairs in your purse or diaper bag. If she does wear shoes, they should be soft and easy to slide on and off. Socks and shoes tend to become chew-toys, so there shouldn't be any snaps or buckles that could become a choking hazard.

And, for a final tip:

-Remember that babies will put anything they can in their mouths. You'd be surprised how flexible some babies are, so it might be a good idea for shoes to be soft and 'feetie' pajamas not to have loose rubber on the soles.

Good luck, and happy shopping!

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