New parents have an overwhelming desire to dress their newborns in cute outfits. But before you spend your hard-earned cash on a little pink sweater, take some time to consider the functionality of baby clothing. Babies grow fast, so it’s important to focus on staple pieces that will keep them comfortable and provide a lot of wear for your money.
A onesie is the foundation of every baby’s wardrobe (although some people call them “bodysuits,” since Gerber trademarked the name). These tees are easy to get on and have snaps at the crotch, making diaper changes quick and easy. Look for onesies that have envelope-style necks, too. The flaps don’t just add a sweet touch; they serve a vital function: After a major diaper leak, they let you pull the bodysuit down over your baby’s torso and legs rather than pulling it up over their head, which makes cleaning and changing them much more efficient.
Once your baby outgrows the onesies, you’ll need a few pairs of pants and leggings to cover their legs. Leggings are great because they’re stretchy and breathable, which keeps them cool during summer days in the sun and winter nights in cold climates. Look for organic cotton options to keep your baby’s skin happy. Pants are more difficult to get on and off, so make sure your baby is big enough to wear them before you invest in any.
Your baby will probably wear a hat for the first few months or so. Choose a soft, lightweight one from a brand like Touched by Nature to keep their head cozy. And don’t forget a pair of socks for the feet, to prevent their tiny toes from getting cold.
Some people might think it’s cute to dress up their babies in outfits that are gender-specific, but the American Association of Pediatricians advises against this. Not only can it lead to over-stimulation, but it’s also dangerous because the clothes can cause rashes and other skin irritations.
Fortunately, there are many companies that offer stylish, gender-neutral styles that will be just as cute on boys and girls as they are on any other kid. For example, Monica and Andy offers a wide variety of mix-and-match pieces for newborns made with the softest GOTS-certified organic cotton. The mom-founded company also has a personalization service and carries all-in-one newborn outfits, as well.
Finn and Emma is another brand that sells high-quality baby clothing made with ethically harvested, non-toxic materials. The site is a one-stop shop for pajamas, tops and rompers, as well as accessories including hats and diaper bags. Another great online resource is Spearmint Love, which carries brands such as Burt’s Bees Baby and Finn and Emma along with all-in-one sets.
Regardless of the brand or style you choose, remember to always try things on in person and read size labels before you buy. Otherwise, that adorable sequin jacket will just sit in your baby’s closet or dresser drawer until they outgrow it!