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baby's first wardrobe

Baby's clothes have taken on a whole new look. With more silhouettes, colors and fabrics than ever, the tiniest fashion stars have finally found their place in the nursery closet. And moms couldn't be happier! Of course, babies can't live by fashion alone, so in addition to the cute factor, you also need your little one's clothes to be practical. With such sensitive new skin adjusting to the outside world, fit and comfort are both crucial.

And don't buy too big, too soon; you won't get extra wear out of bigger sizes because you'll only have to wait for baby to grow into her clothes. Also keep in mind: you might be doing three or four loads of laundry a day. You've got to have staples that will withstand the heavy wash and wear — that means they should be easy to clean and hold their shape and color even after several washes.

With tons of adorable choices and options galore, this is an area where experience definitely comes in handy. If you're new to this, you may want a little help from a seasoned pro. This might be the perfect time to invite Grandma to help shop for the newest member of the family. And we're here to give you a little guidance too.

what does layette mean?

You've probably heard this term all over the place by now, but many parents are surprised to learn that layette encompasses a lot more than just baby clothes. Layette consists of many baby essentials, including feeding and bathing accessories, bedding, sleepwear and outerwear. All pieces should be easy to care for, simple to use, and designed specifically with your baby's comfort in mind.

bodysuit: This is simply "one-piece underwear." It's usually designed with a stretch or envelope neck to fit easily over baby's head. It also has non-binding or raglan (wide) sleeves for comfort and snaps at the bottom for easy diaper changes.

side-snap shirt: Primarily for a newborn, a side-snap shirt isn't pulled over baby's head, but rather fits similarly to a jacket with snap closures in front. This allows you to easily provide head and neck support while dressing baby. To ensure comfort, it's designed with no side-seams and wide, raglan sleeves.

pullover shirt: Perfect for newborns or toddlers beginning potty training. Design features may include a stretch neck to make dressing and undressing easy, raglan sleeves to prevent binding, and no side-seams for comfort.

infant gowns: It may not be red-carpet ready, but it will keep baby nice and warm and make changing easier. An infant gown features an open, banded bottom and wide or raglan sleeves. Some come with mitten cuffs, which cover baby's hands and protect from accidental scratching.

sleepers: Being so tiny, it's easy for baby to lose body heat. A sleeper is designed with long sleeves and legs to keep baby toasty and comfortable, especially during cooler months. To make dressing and changing easier, snaps go all the way down the front and down each leg. Due to Federal Regulations, cotton sleepwear may only go up to size Large. X-Large sleepwear must be flame retardant polyester.

caps & booties: These help stop the loss of body heat from baby's head and feet, (the two areas of the body prone to a chill) . You'll find a variety of cap and bootie sets. Caps often have multiple knitted layers for added warmth, and no irritating side-seam. Booties may feature Velcro closures, elastic at the ankles for a snug fit, and large cuffs to tuck in pants.

teething bibs: Where there's a baby, there's bound to be a bit of drool, especially when teething. So use this bib to keep baby dry from neck to chest during this "moist" period.

feeding bibs: Larger than a teething bib, this style is designed to protect clothing while baby is fed. It features an adjustable neck and is available in a multitude of prints and materials.

hooded towels and washcloths: Two bathing essentials. Use a soft washcloth to gently clean baby's tender skin; and after the bath, cover baby's head and body with the hooded towel to avoid chills.

receiving blankets: Receiving blankets are primarily used for infants during the first 6 weeks. The soft, warming material actually helps re-enact the "womb" experience. They come in various weights and materials, so baby's covered during any season.

wearable blankets: Sure, it sounds enviously comfy, but it's also safe! Wearable blankets replace loose blankets in the crib and lessen the chances of possible suffocation. Additionally, bedding that bunches up around baby's nose or mouth can cause re-breathing of oxygen depleted air, a possible cause of SIDS. Many wearable blankets are sleeveless, providing freedom of movement and reducing the risk of re-breathing into the sleeve. These fit right over baby's sleeper for a cozy night's sleep, and cannot be kicked off.

basic baby clothing

Get ready to have lots of fun picking out clothes for your baby. The possibilities are endless with so many styles to choose from — each in a variety of colors and patterns! You'll find different fabrics and textures, and lots of adorable accessories. As baby's personality develops, so will your sense of baby's style. From colors that look best to which fabric appliqu̩ fascinates your little one the most, you're both sure to find favorites from a range of fashionable choices.

additional clothing options

Romper: A one-piece garment with short sleeves and shorts, and is traditionally made of a woven or knit material. It features a snap crotch for newborns and infants, and is worn for play during the warmer months.

Coverall: A winterized romper, this one-piece is also traditionally made of knit material and features a snap crotch for newborns and infants. However, it has long sleeves and long legs, can be footed or unfooted, and is worn for play during colder months.

Shortall: The great clothing compromise. A shortall is also a one-piece garment featuring a snap crotch for newborns and infants, but it features short sleeves and long legs, either footed or unfooted. Available in a variety of fabrics, it's appropriate for play anytime during the year.

choosing the appropriate size

Since every infant grows at a different rate, there is no set sizing standard for layette. For this reason, layette packaging indicates size by the age and height/weight of your infant. As a rule, infants usually wear clothing one size larger than their actual size.

sizing chart

The following guide is approximate. Because manufacturers design clothes differently, refer to the sizing chart on the clothing package.

Size Height Weight
Newborn 10-20" 5-9 lbs.
0-3 months 20-24" 9-13 lbs.
3-6 months 24-26" 13-17 lbs.
6-9 months 26-28" 17-20 lbs.
12 months 28-30" 20-23 lbs.
18 months 30-33" 23-26 lbs.
24 months 33-36" 26-29 lbs.

for winter

When it's cold out, dress baby in three outerwear layers. This scientific approach uses layering to keep your infant warm, dry and comfortable. Keep in mind, the layers listed are on top of baby's undergarments and clothing. Because body heat is lost so rapidly through the extremities, be sure to bundle up baby's head, feet and hands. Regulating zippers and adding or subtracting layers will ensure your little snow bunny doesn't overheat.

first layer

The first layer should be made of a non-absorbent, loosely woven material that allows any perspiration to be absorbed by the next layer. Because cotton absorbs moisture, it doesn't make a good first outer layer.

second layer

The second layer will trap air between the first and third layers, as well as allowing any excess moisture to move to the outermost layer, away from baby's skin. It should be constructed of a light, breathable material such as wool or polyester fleece.

third layer

The third layer protects your baby from the elements, such as wind, sleet, snow and rain. The outer layer should be water and wind resistant. Materials such as polyester and specially-treated nylon are good choices.

layette know how

Layette is the basic essentials you'll need for baby. To make it easier for you to prepare for your little one's arrival, we've provided a summary of just what you'll need to get ready.

layette colors

You can find layette in every color and pattern under the sun. There are styles and colors that are most commonly used for boys or girls, plus many neutrals that are appropriate for either gender.

your layette needs

tips for fun in the sun

An infant's tender skin is particularly sensitive to the sun's rays at any time. High mid-day temperatures pose another concern. The following tips will keep your infant safe during the warmer months.

  • Children of all ages should ideally avoid direct sunlight and peak sun hours. If your infant is out in the sun, and if her skin and scalp are exposed, use a sunscreen with SPF-15 or higher and both UVA & UVB protection.
  • Use insect repellents only as directed on product labels and also check with your pediatrician.
  • Do not wear perfumes or use fragrant soaps before walking with your infant. This may attract bees and other insects.
  • Avoid walking in areas where insects may gather, such as in the woods.
  • In high temperatures and/or humidity, keep your infant indoors.
  • Venture outdoors before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. when the sun is weakest.
  • Dress your infant in loosely fitted, tightly woven fabrics, like cotton.
  • Choose light-colored clothing over dark to reflect the heat.
  • A wide brim hat will help protect your infant's face and scalp from the sun.
  • Use sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB protection.
  • Avoid walking near bodies of water or sand; they reflect light.
  • Make sure your infant continues to drink enough liquids to avoid dehydration.