Choosing clothes for your little one can be quite a nerve-wracking task, especially if you're a first-time parent. There is more to selecting baby clothes than just a cute design – you need to consider factors such as size, softness, and even the type of fasteners used to ensure that your baby stays comfortable. The wrong clothes could result in rashes, overheating (and a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as a result), and other unlikely but still plausible negative outcomes. Read on to find out how you can choose baby clothes without losing your sanity.
Choose clothes in your baby’s size
Buying an adorable onesie for your little one only to find it too small or too big is quite disappointing as it means you will have to go through the hassle of making an exchange. You must always choose clothes that fit your child right. In addition to being comfortable, the appropriate size of clothing will also allow your baby to stretch and move effortlessly.
Most clothes usually have standard measurements to serve as a guide if you are unsure of the size that will properly fit your child. As you have probably realized, sizing tends to vary between brands, as well as from country to country. To select the right size clothing for your baby, start by considering age. That said, you want to always check a brand's size charts to give you an idea of the size that is most suitable based on your little one's weight and height.
A majority of clothing retailers typically provide size charts for the brands that they sell, so you want to check their websites before making a purchase. If you plan to purchase from a kids’ clothing store in your area, seek the guidance of the staff who will likely inform you if a label tends to run small or large.
The importance of fabric
Babies have very sensitive skin that can be easily irritated by clothes made from the wrong type of fabric. Cotton is the most common fabric used for babies’ clothes as it feels soft on delicate baby skin, plus it is durable and incredibly versatile – jersey, corduroy, denim, terry, fleece, and flannel are just a handful of the numerous cotton fabric variants available. Another perk that makes it the go-to fabric is the fact that most cotton items are easy to care for as you can toss them into the washing machine without having to worry about damage.
Polyester is another popular fabric used to make kids’ clothes. This is a synthetic fiber that is lightweight, quick-drying, durable, and resistant to stains and wrinkles. Polyester/cotton blends are commonly used to make sweatshirts, dresses, and sweatpants.
Polyester is also commonly used to make children’s swimwear, linings, and outerwear.
How safe is a design?
When shopping for baby clothes, keep safety in mind. Every year, countless clothes from different brands are because they fail to meet safety standards. To reduce the risk of strangulation, the North American Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) bans neck and hood drawstrings (the kind that was previously prevalent in kids’ hooded sweatshirts) in children’s’ clothing in sizes2T-12. Small parts, such as buttons, as well as decorative add-ons like bows, hooks, sequins, ribbons, beads, and flowers can become choking hazards if they become loose. Better Kid Care recommends that all fasteners and decorative attachments on clothing made for children under three have to be a minimum of 1 ¼ inches in diameter and 1 inch in length.
The CPSC also stipulates that sleepwear for kids ranging from 9 months to 14 years have to be either tight-fitting or made from flame-resistant fabric. Some pajama fabrics, such as a polyester fleece combo can trigger static electricity when your little one tosses and turns in bed. To avoid such a scenario, consider buying non-fleece sleepwear that is tight-fitting (no more than one size larger) and made of non-flammable material.
Look out for potential irritants
Clothing tags that are usually found behind the neckline are irritable even to some adults, so you can imagine how uncomfortable they feel against a baby's sensitive skin. Simply snip off tags, making sure to get rid of every bit of it. Alternatively, you can select clothes that are tag-free (some cloth brands sell items with clothing details printed on the fabric itself)
Some chemicals used in clothing can also irritate your baby’s skin, cause allergic reactions, or even expose them to long-term health problems. Look out for formaldehyde, a carcinogenic chemical that is used to keep clothes shrink-free and wrinkle-free, and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), used to make clothing stain proof and waterproof, which have been proven to be toxic.
Convenience is key
A baby never stays in one outfit for too long – frequent changes are required because of spit-up, poop, and pee, so you want to choose clothes that are easy to put on and take off.
Arm and neck holes
Go for clothes that feature wide arm and neck holes to make dressing and undressing easier. Clothes with an envelope neckline are ideal as they tend to be wide and stretchy.
Zips and snaps are the best types of fasteners for baby clothing. Buttons can cause a bit frustrating to fasten while your baby is flailing his/her legs and arms. Choose a zip-up outfit that also features a snap-over tap to keep the zip from sliding down, as well as to protect your child from scratches
Consider going for kimono-style onesies if you want to avoid the hassle of trying to get your baby’s outfit over his/her head. You won’t have to worry about touching your baby’s head thanks to the wrap-around design and easy snap fastenings in these styles of clothing.
With a wide variety of fabrics, styles, and brands of baby clothes in the market, it is understandable why it can be a bit overwhelming to choose the appropriate ones for your little one. To make your shopping experience fun and less stressful, consider the tips in this article to help you build a suitable and comfortable wardrobe for your baby.