Between spitting up and diaper overflow, newborns are constantly needing their clothes changed. Make it easier for yourself by choosing clothes that go on and off without a struggle. Look for shirts with snaps that open in the front or on the side, or that have wide neck openings. Choose sleepers that zip (or, if you prefer, snap) and pants with a loose, stretchy elastic waistband.
No matter how adorable they look, pass on infant clothes that will make it hard to change a diaper (we’re looking at you, baby “skinny jeans”). Thankfully, most baby bodysuits and one-piece outfits have snaps at the crotch.
Look for clothes that are soft and gentle on your newborn’s sensitive skin. Some experts recommend all cotton, although soft cotton blends also work for many babies. Avoid itchy or irritating embroidery, ruffles, lace, and decorations.
(Note: If clothes have decorations like bows, ruffles, patches, and buttons, make sure they’re firmly attached so they can’t come off and become a choking risk. Remove any drawstrings on necks or waistbands – they’re a strangulation hazard. Major baby-clothing brands avoid these risky embellishments, but homemade items, hand-me-downs, and pieces from small companies may have them.)
Another caution: “tagless” clothing, where size and washing information are printed on the back of the neck, sometimes causes skin irritation. If you notice your baby has redness in the area, switch to clothing with tags – you can always cut them out.
Finally, new clothing is often treated with chemicals, so make sure to wash all items before your baby wears them.
How to dress your newborn: A tear-free method
Some parents break out in a cold sweat trying to fit tiny clothes on a wiggly, screaming infant. A smart trick to make dressing your newborn easier: Make the clothes fit your baby and not the other way around. Open snaps and stretch necks wide so you can ease your baby’s head through them. Reach through sleeves and legs first to help guide little hands and feet.
It’s often easiest to dress your infant on the changing table or floor. Try cooing and talking to your baby as you put on each piece so he or she will associate getting dressed with special time with you.