So, like I mentioned last time, I am now one of those people ungraciously burdened with newfound knowledge (at a stretch, I’ve called it wisdom, but that’s pushing it) about what it’s like when you’re suddenly left to look after a baby. We had prepared beforehand on the clothes front, but of course, when you haven’t done it before, no amount of clothes shopping, buying, washing, folding, organising or ooh-that’s-so-cute-ing is going to help you work out what you really need. Here’s 10 random nuggets of cold hard truth we’ve discovered in three months of poo-related outfit changes and endless laundry.
- Don’t forget yourself. In the epic stock-up-for-baby ahead of time, don’t forget that a) if you breastfeed you will need an array of easy-access tops, not to mention the pricey maternity bras, and b) you might need a post-baby wardrobe refresh if things don’t quite fit for a while or if – like me – you realise that your non-work wardrobe is a little lacking when you’re spending most days at home. This can all take quite a chunk out of the wardrobe budget, so keep it in mind.
- You can never have too much wool. Unless you live in far more tropical climes than where I do, woollen under-layers are invaluable for making sure you’re keeping the baby warm enough, and a merino onesie is breathable and suitable for autumn/winter/spring. One or two will not cut it! And for a winter baby – wool pants are a thing!
- Think through the mechanics of how you’ll put an outfit together to figure out what you really need more of. A lot of the outfits that attract you these days when you’re an expectant new parent are onesies. They tend to be the cutest and most adorably, now-essential things you’ve ever seen. Thing is, especially if it’s a little chilly and you’re going woollen onesie underneath as per #2, then either you have to double-down on your onesies and put your cute one on top of a warm layer (so many snaps, yo!), or what you actually need is a cute tshirt instead.
- You are not too cool for pants with feet in them. Especially not cool ones like these (as pictured). End of story.
- Pick either top half or bottom half and put emphasis on buying adorable patterns for just one, while sticking mostly to solids for the other. If you buy adorable patterns for both, you will struggle to mix your orange cartoon lions with your grey geometrics, trust me.
- You are not too cool to shop the cheap stores. From time to time the cheapest places I’ve been to have great quality cotton baby clothes that are as good or better than the same items elsewhere.
- Your baby can’t always wear big cosy jackets. Don’t forget to add some light sweaters or cardigans that can add a layer of warmth without looking like they are ready to hit the slopes.
- Your baby might be longer/shorter/bigger/smaller in certain areas, and that will affect how long they fit different sizes of different items. Take this into account when trying to guess sizes ahead of time, as you could place a wrong bet if you stock up too much on any particular size/item combo. My long-torso baby is in 6 month tops and still fits newborn pants, for example, so had I purchased too many newborn or 0-3mth onesies/tshirts (I didn’t, luckily) I would have regretted it.
- Save the designer purchases, overseas imports etc until you know what you most like to dress your kid in. That said, don’t forget some of the overseas stores are surprisingly affordable and a great spot to get those extras that you can’t pick up locally. The Zara romper pictured is cute for $20US.
- Yes, things with zips are easier. Yes, things with built-in mittens are useful. Yes, natural fabrics feel better. Yes, the amount you paid for this very high quality item is inversely proportional to the ease of doing it up. Yes, baby hats will mostly end up in your handbag, because you will only put them on your baby when you go out, and they will only stay on your baby’s head when you go out for a very short period of time before you end up hanging onto it and then it gets filed along with the three others already in your bag. And yes, there will be a day when your baby ends up wearing the horrible brown onesie with the fluffy sheep on it that your Great Aunt Hilda gave you, the one that says “ewe are so cute.” Go with it.
PS: all of the above should be taken alongside the advice that none of it matters. It’s a baby. They always look adorable. So just keep ’em warm, dry & comfy and the rest is mostly for your enjoyment.