7 Things You Need to Know When Dressing Your Newborn
One of my favorite things about newborn babies is the cute, teeny clothes we can dress them in. We had piles of puppy dog sleepers and dinosaur onesies for my son and ladybugs, ruffles, and kitties for my daughter. Retailers know we moms like to dress our babies up in the cutest of cute; that's why the infant clothes industry brings in $11 billion a year!
Newborn clothes are the cutest, but dressing them can be incredibly challenging. They are equally delicate and strong, and are filled with instincts and reflexes that make it difficult to actually get the clothes onto their tiny bodies (not to mention, you will be sleep-deprived and not thinking straight)!
Here are seven tips that can make it a little easier to dress your little one.
You may have spent the last few weeks of your pregnancy strolling through the baby section of Target with a wistful look on your face, lovingly admiring those teeny little baby jeans, tights with ruffles, or complicated outfits with way too many buttons, but when baby arrives, you'll soon find that less is more. Babies poop a lot. Babies pee a lot. Babies throw up a lot. This means lots of diaper and clothing changes for you. Dressing your baby simply in a onesie or sleeper can drastically cut down on your clothing frustrations.
I don't care who you are — if you can snap a baby sleeper on the first try, I don't trust you. I've never been able to fasten a sleeper, and countless times have put my baby back to sleep with a wonky sleeper. Choose clothing pieces in the first few weeks that are easy to take on and off. One of my favorite baby items is a “baby bag”, essentially a sleeping bag with arms that keeps your baby warm, allows her to move her little legs, and is easy to unzip to change a diaper. Plus, it's much safer than an actual blanket.
Baby shoes! Amiright? They are perhaps the most adorable baby item while also being the most useless. Babies can't walk, so they don't need anything to protect their feet, and while they are cute, I guarantee you'll be putting them back on flailing little legs many, many times. Life is too short for doing shoe checks every 5 minutes to make sure you didn't lose one. Opt for cute “shoe” socks instead if you want to complete the look for your baby's outfit of the day.
Little baby fingernails are surprisingly sharp. Have you ever been sliced by a newborn baby finger? It's like a razor. Many moms swear by the little mittens sold to protect your baby (and you) from accidental fingernail cuts, but my personal opinion is to skip this item on your registry. Most babies are accustomed to touching their face while safe in their mother's womb, and when they are out in the big, bad world, holding little fingers to their face gives them a sense of comfort. Covering tiny fingers may keep them from this biological way to self-soothe, which could mean more fussiness. Pick up a tiny pair of nail clippers and steady your hand to give those little nails a trim.
Speaking of those little fingers (and toes!), they are very bendy. That's one thing I didn't expect when my little ones were born. When you're pulling on t-shirts, onesies, and pants, flexible fingers and toes can easily get caught in the fabric and bend. Although it isn't necessarily painful for your baby, it will probably catch her off guard and you'll get an earful. Save her some annoyance (and save your eardrums) by bunching up the arms of her shirt or the legs of her pants first, then push the garment onto her arm or leg. She should slip her arm right into the sleeve.
If leg and crotch snaps are difficult, back snaps and buttons are nearly impossible — as well as uncomfortable. Back is best when your baby is sleeping, and snaps running down the back of his sleeper can be quite bothersome. Additionally, back snaps are very hard to manage since newborn heads are incredibly floppy!
Babies are sturdier than they appear — and also stronger. You may have an instinct to pick your baby up and hold him with one hand while you're laying down the sleeper, but resist. Babies can wiggle or push at just the wrong time and make you lose your grip, especially if you're just holding him with one arm. Instead, lay your baby on the changing table first, then roll him to the side, gently pushing the sleeper under his little body. Repeat on the other side.
What are your best tips for dressing a newborn?