Tuesday, April 19, 2005

baby clothes

Before I actually had a baby, I periodically purchased baby clothes for gifts. I would try to be practical, but ultimately would select items based on their "cute" factor. However, once I actually had a baby, it made me rethink the topic entirely.

Back closures
Several items I received as gifts for my newborn had back closures. In other words, they had buttons, snaps, zippers or other attachments up the back of the garments. Clearly, the people who designed them had not had babies. Newborns spend most of their time lying down. On their backs. So, if you put an infant in a romper that buttons up the back, and then place him on his back! he gets little marks up his back and is surely uncomfortable. Clearly, clothing designers with side and tummy closures were thinking about babies.

While most baby clothes appear conducive to diaper changing, I received a few gifts that were trying harder to be clever than convenient. Those that open at the crotch but do not release the feet are fine, if you are willing to contort your baby and risk spillage. Those garments that do not open at the crotch at all? Well, unless they are something like soft knit pants or shorts, they are very inconvenient.

Babies have delicate skin; delicate skin is easily irritated by rough fabrics. So, when selecting clothing, blankets and towels for babies, look for the softest fabrics available. Brushed cottons, flannels, satins and fleece are all lovely and will usually be gentle on a baby's soft skin. Frankly, I enjoy soft fabrics, why shouldn't a baby?

I don't even understand why they make dry clean only baby clothes. Babies are inherently messy and their clothes should be easy to wash. While it may seem like a lovely extravagance to give a baby a cashmere sweater, she will outgrow it by the time it returns from the dry cleaner after the first spit-up incident. Get her a cute cotton sweater and put the rest of the money in her college savings account, instead.

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