Another obviously essential requirement for the newborn baby is clothing. The sensible parents will have already bought the layette during pregnancy, so that everything will be ready when the baby arrives home. Some new mothers regard their babies rather like dolls to be dressed up to look pretty, but clothing for babies should be functional, and the main considerations are:
- good design
- suitable choice of fabric
The expectant mother will know the time of year the baby is due, and will buy summer or winter designs accordingly in suitable weight fabrics. The new baby grows very quickly so it is a waste of money to buy expensive first-size garments. Nightdresses, day dresses, Babygros, vests and jackets will all need washing nearly every day; it is therefore important that they are made from easy-care fabrics, needing little or no ironing.
Garments should be easy to get on and off, remembering that babies do not like being dressed and undressed. Wide-necked vests, long back openings on nighties, and popper fastenings along the legs and front of Babygros, all make the job quicker and easier.
It is essential that clothing is checked for safety. Many babies have choked with draw-string necklines or long ribbons used at neck and wrists. They can catch their toes and fingers in openwork lace jackets and shawls. Fluffy wool can be swallowed and be irritating, and some dark colours will run if they are chewed or get damp, which can be harmful. Some chemical dyes can cause an allergic reaction such as a skin. Buttons and decorations must be well stitched on or they can come off and be swallowed. Thick seams, bulky gathers, tight elastic, and belts tied round the waist, will all be uncomfortable for a baby who is lying down all the time. Baby wear can be attractive as well as functional, and most chain stores have a good selection of well-designed, safe and comfortable garments.