Buying clothes for your baby's first months (0-3)

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You baby's here or about to arrive. What clothing should you buy for the first 3 months?

When  I first wrote this guide, my daughter was 5 months old (my first), so you can bet I did all the usual mistakes on purchases as one would possibly expect. This guide is intended to save you the trouble (and money) of buying things your baby will never (or hardly ever) wear.

Snowsuits: they make your baby look (and feel) like an austronaut on moonwalk. They are thick, synthetic and extremely uncomfortable. So unless you plan to go skiing or wish to expose your baby to extreme cold for no particular reason, chances are you will never or scarcely ever use them (it is not a coincidence you see so many of them listed on Ebay under the description "worn once").

2pc (or more) Outfits and sets (i.e cute dresses and pants and all those little miniature clothes, and generally anything other than onesies): Trust me, your new baby will wear them only in demonstration events. That is to say, when grandad and grandma come to visit. Which means that buying 1 or 2 sets would be more than enough, if not a luxury (unless you intend to cast your baby for a baby product advertisement). Plus, you must try to think like your baby: you have been swimming in a nice, warm bubble for the past nine months of your life, and suddenly you are stuck in pieces of cloth filled with seams, zips and rubbers around the waist. Not really a nice change, is it. Especially clothes with elasticated waists are the worse: they cling onto your baby's body, making the diaper underneath virtually stick unto its skin (see below comment on tights). Limit your enthusiasm on dressing up your baby in the latest trendy fashions and do your little one the favour of preferring less stylish, no doubt, yet more comfortable clothes (such as all cotton onesies) at least for the first 3 months of its life, when it's skin is more sensitive and vulnerable. Avoid 2pcs and go for onesies (maybe with a warm cardigan or jacket over them for colder months).

Synthetic clothing: although clothes containing synthetic materials (such as velour and others containing too much lycra and elastane) are usually cheaper and warmer, I believe they should be avoided because they do not allow your baby's skin to breathe properly. Remember that your little one cannot regulate its own temperature properly yet, so sweating can occur very easily especially if you overdo it with layers of clothing or synthetics. Plus, synthetics (although most can be machine washed) tend to bulge after a couple of washes and most cannot be tumble dried.

Girlie tights: I bought quite a few of them, even wore them on my daughter, once. They are the most useless piece of clothing one can buy for a new baby (0-3 months). Not only are they useless (allbeit extremely cute), but, for the reasons explained above (fit closely on waist and skin, and contain too much synthetic), they are also extremely irritating for the baby (after I took them off her, 2 hours later, my little one's waist and legs had reddish patches here and there, carrying obvious marks of the seams).

Socks and pram shoes: I'm like the Marcos widow, I can never have enough shoes. I thought the same principle could be applied for purchases of socks and shoes for my baby. Only to find out later (not too later) on, that the baby loves to be in its little cotton onesies (the ones with incorporated feet), which rendered all those little socks virtually useless. Don't get carried away, usually a couple of pairs will suffice for the first months. Your baby's little feet will not, I repeat, will defintely not remain little long enough to enjoy the right size of pram shoes in the first months.

Outerwear in general: Trust me on this, in the first 2 months of its life your new baby will spend most of its day feeding and the rest, sleeping. If born in late autumn or winter, as mine, you will have to admit that its outdoor ventures will be extremely limited; so plan well and spend accordingly.

Sleepwear: Three golden words: Cotton. Cotton. And, of course, Cotton, 100%. Do not settle for anything else for your baby's sleepwear, as your precious one will be wearing them unto its skin 24 hours a day. The best are the onesies with poppers in the front that start from the neck line and go all the way down to its little feet. The ones with poppers on the back or the sides are not at all practical, because you have to swift the baby backwards and forwards during nappie changes. You can buy short-sleeved or long-sleeved ones (or combine a short-sleeved vest underneath with a long-sleeved sleepsuit over it), but please mark my words: Cotton, Cotton, Cotton. 1 sleepsuit per day (7 in all) plus a couple extra to cover for "diaper accidents", with an equal number of vests, should be more than enough.

As a last comment, don't buy on impulse, buy on plan. Besides, you'll be receiving gifts from friends and family for months to come (most of which gifts, as far as clothing goes, will be outworn by your precious in a couple of months!). Buy clothes that you can machine wash and tumble dry, with non-toxic coloring. In the first 3 months, especially if this is your first baby, your hands will be too full to have time to hand wash clothes. The same principles apply for later on, especially if you plan to go back to work and time will be even more limited.

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