Friday, June 3, 2011

The Budget Baby 2

Baby clothes. All those lovely little size 3 months outfits. Guess what? You can measure the useful life of that size in WEEKS on a full term baby. My oldest, who was always on the wiry, thin side, outgrew them in about 3 weeks. Her sturdier sister, who weighed 8 pounds when she was born, wore them for about a week. Assuming you have easy access to a washer and dryer (and a family member besides Mom who'll do laundry in the first two or three weeks), I would recommend getting no more than 4 t-shirt or onesie type shirts (long or short sleeve depending on the climate), and 6 or 7 one piece sleepers, and maybe one nice outfit to bring baby home from the hospital and take photos in. If the season is cold, you might want a couple more sleepers and fewer shirts. Babies can go through a lot of clothes in one day, but this is probably enough for 3 days. Get them second hand if possible. You can wash them, and most of the time, the clothes weren't worn more than once or twice. A couple of pairs of booties or 4 or 5 pair of socks, and one season-appropriate hat in the tiny size.

If someone is giving you a shower, request that most of the clothes be in 6 or 12 month sizes. Most babies seem to grow out of the 6 month size by about 4 months old, and the 12 month size by 10 months. My 6 month size wish list would include 8 to 12 t-shirts or onsies, 3 to 5 pairs of pants (with snaps), 8 to 10 footed sleepers that unzip all the way to the foot, 2 to 3 hats, 6 to 10 pairs of socks, 2 to 3 pairs of booties, and 1 to 2 sweaters. If you're having your baby in the fall or early winter, heavy blanket sleepers are better than the light ones, and you'll probably want a coat or even a snow bunting or suit, depending on the climate. If you're having your baby in the spring or early summer, you can probably use some of the lighter footed sleepers, and baby may be able to wear just a onesie and socks some days. You may still want some blanket sleepers, especially if it gets cool at night or you keep your house cool. Pick clothes that keep the baby comfortable and allow you to change diapers and clothes easily.

As far as the pretty dresses and suits? Remember that they'll probably only be worn once or twice, and unless it's summer, a dress alone really isn't warm enough for a small baby. If you have the money and really want them, go for it, but consider them "extras", not necessities. And no matter how much you love dresses, do your baby a favor and switch to pants from the time they start to crawl until they walk pretty well. Putting a dress on a baby who's trying to learn to crawl is frustrating for the baby at the least and usually results in unnecessary falls.

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