Friday, 13 March 2015

Mommy Money Matters: Baby's First Wardrobe

Baby showers are a rite of passage for any mom-to-be. It's a little cheesy, full of fun and food, and then of course there's the baby loot! Nothing quite makes you feel loved like multiple car trunks packed full of blessings for your new addition. For my husband and I, although we were well and truly spoiled, we had an unexpected expense afterwards - clothes. We were surprised as to the gender, which made it unappealing, if not downright difficult, to find appropriate clothes ahead of time. Not only that, we had no idea how big my son would be... Did we need preemie stuff? How long would the baby wear newborn size (if at all)? How many outfits a day will this little bundle wear anyways?

While I can't help you determine size or gender (that would be a trick), I can give you a sense of how much you're going to need pre-washed and folded when you get home from the hospital and beyond. This list assumes you have a stock of quite a few receiving blankets, bibs and socks (don't go crazy), and are doing a load of baby laundry approximately once a week.

The first month

The first precious weeks of your child's life don't involve much. They will be eating and sleeping the majority of the time. To a point you wouldn't think possible, in fact. They will also probably grow dramatically during this time, so they won't be in anything long. Sure, you will have visitors, and you'll want a cute little ensemble for coming home, or maybe photos, but otherwise, keep it very practical. You want easy access for diaper changes and skin to skin time, so a bunch of decorative layers won't serve you well. You can swaddle in blankets for warmth, if that's a concern, but sweaters and leggings will just be frustrating. Dress your child (and yourself) simply so that you can focus on the important things; healing and bonding as a family.

Most important pieces: the basic white onesie, cute pajamas

Suggestions on quantities: 10 onsies, 7 pajamas, 4 bottoms, 2 sweaters

One to four months

After the initial growth spurt, your little one will level out a little. As they become more aware and you become more comfortable, you will probably spend more time outside the house. Since he or she will remain largely stationary, clothes can be a bit more elaborate, but don't have to be. They will be at a point where poo-sposions and large spit ups are a daily threat, if not a guaranteed occurrence, so you will need more separates for quick changes. A change for yourself in the diaper bag also wouldn't be a bad idea! I would recommend making sure you have a decent amount of neutrals to pair with the oh so tempting three piece sets you will no doubt be gifted and buying. A pack of bigger white onesies never hurts. They're cheap and match everything.

Most important pieces: neutral separates (pants and onesies)

Suggestions on quantities: 14 - 18 onesies, 10 bottoms, 8 -10 pajamas, 3 sweaters

Four to nine months

Tummy time and crawling are really starting to increase, and your little one will start to get more dirty. You'll likely introduce solids, go to play groups, and otherwise expose your baby to experiences that challenge them more physically. They will spend more time in carriers and strollers, making blanket bundling a little less practical, so you will need more layering pieces. While durability is important, you baby will still only be in sizes for a relatively short time, so concentrate on comfort. Even if you prefer to buy new, you might consider getting more rugged pieces like denim and jackets from second hand stores, as they are still usually in great condition.

Most important pieces: a good jacket, footwear not easily removed themselves

Suggestions on quantities: 14 onesies or shirts, 10 bottoms, 10 pajamas, 5 sweaters

Nine months and up

By this point you'll wonder if you had a baby or hired a personal trainer. Your little one will be crawling, climbing, walking, and getting in to all manner of mischief. This troublemaker will come home in mud, paint, yogurt... Even before they outgrow it, you might have stains a holes that destroy that outfit, so as usual, don't go overboard on price. Comfort is still important, so consider how your baby is moving and will move before buying the next size. Maybe loose tops expose your guy's tummy in the ball pit, or your girl always has her dress over her head. There are also functional pieces sold for your mover, like pants that have built in knee pads. Hey, why not?

Most important pieces: jeans, shoes/ boots with harder soles

Suggestions on quantities: 14 onesies or shirts, 8 pants, 8 pajamas, 5 sweaters

Again, this is just a sample as food for thought. Both my sister and I over bought newborn clothes, quickly going from "nothing to wear" to "too small." My cousin has only 5 daytime outfits for her son's current size and does a lot of laundry. My son had 26 three to six month onesies and didn't wear half of them! You have to strike a balance between fear of running out, and "when did he get this shirt?" You really want those cute outfits to get some wear before they are passed on or relegated to a closet for the next one. Shop smart and plan ahead, always the keys to getting your money's worth!

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