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Newborn Layette - The List of Basics for a New Baby

Updated on November 25, 2012

Newborn Layette

When you discover you are pregnant, resist the temptation to rush our and buy every baby related thing you see in the shops. It may well be an Old Wives’ Tale, but it’s considered bad luck to buy for a baby that isn’t here, considering all the things that could go wrong in a pregnancy.

So in early pregnancy, while it’s nice to think about what you will need in the coming months, it’s better not to buy anything until your pregnancy has progressed past all the dangerous times.

The danger times of pregnancy are during the first 12 weeks as this is the time when spontaneous abortion is most likely.

While spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) are horrible experiences coming, as they often do, completely out of the blue, it is nature’s way of telling you that something wasn’t right.

The baby may have been severely handicapped, or its placenta may not have been in good health, or it may even be that your cervix has something wrong with it, and only successive miscarriages will ring an alarm bell with doctors to check.

However, if all goes well, the earlier part of the second trimester isn’t a good time to buy a newborn layette either, as it is during this time you may learn that your baby is handicapped, and you may still choose to terminate the pregnancy.

This will be all the harder if you have already bought your baby its first layette.

Come the third trimester, with everything looking good from a medical point of view, you can choose your first baby layette in relative safety.

Newborn Baby

What will baby need?

You will need to buy about 6 first size baby sleeveless body suits. Babies puke up and wet themselves, so you will need enough for several changes a day. I prefer the baby body suits that fasten under their wee bums, because normal vests ride up and you’d spend all day pulling them down into position.

Baby body suits used to be called babygros, which was an apt description, as they fit while baby grows until their legs get too long for them. For that reason, I am going to continue to called them babygros here.

Babygros are a great invention. Slip a baby into one of these and they are snug as a bug inside.

They can be used for both daywear and nightwear.

Again I recommend buying at least 6 first size. Babies grow very quickly and will soon outgrow them, but make sure you have enough for those first few weeks.

Even if you have had an ultrasound scan that told you the sex of the baby, I would make its first layette in dual colors, simply because ultrasounds have been wrong in the past.

Your dual colors are green, white, and lemon.

When baby is born, friends and relatives will buy baby pretty dresses or romper suits in all the traditional colors associated with boy or girl babies, and don’t forget, babies grow very quickly. They will grow out of clothes before they ever wear them out.

And if you don’t like the clothes given to you, you will be going to the shops yourself within days of giving birth and can buy new stuff then, if you like.

Baby bibs are a must. They are boon at keeping a dribbling and sicking baby's clothes dry. Buy loads of them. I always preferred the type you pull over baby's head as opposed to tie on ones.

Baby cardigans are great. Even better if you have a relative or friend knit them for you, or if like myself you knit loads of cardigans yourself. Unless you live in a hot country, babies are always going to need cardigans.

Again I would suggest about six, to allow for washing time.

Baby socks and mitts.

Usually first size babygros come with a convertible cuff, that you can easily turn into a mitt for baby, and if they are wearing a babygro, they don’t need socks as well as their feet are already covered.

Forget those tiny little newborn shoes. They are a waste of money as your newborn does not need footwear of any sort.

A shawl to wrap baby in would be appreciated. You can either knit or buy one. If anyone else offers to knit one, jump at the chance. Shawls are great for getting newborn babies to sleep well. Wrap them up snugly in one and put them down to sleep. It reminds them of their unborn state when they were in the womb and unable to move much (in late pregnancy) and this soothes them.

Diapers (nappies)

Diapers are something else that are a must. Where terry diapersare great for baby, disposables are great for mum.

I used terries for my first 3 babies and I loved learning all the different ways they could be fastened.

They were no problem to wash as soiled nappies were placed in a bucket containing Napisan or other nappy sterilising fluid, before being rinsed through a washing machine and hung out to dry on the line.

Terry diapers didn’t keep babies dry, even when you used a diaper liner.

And worse than that, you had to wrap a layer of plastic over the diaper to prevent the wetness steeping through to their pram or crib mattress, and the combination of heat and wetness gave babies diaper rash.

Treating Diaper Rash

While various nappy creams help prevent diaper rash by forming a skin barrier, inevitably at some point baby ended up with a pretty severe diaper rash, which in my day was cured by bathing baby in a bath containing a few Condy’s Crystals. (potassium permanganate). This turned the water purple and your baby’s skin brown, but very quickly healed diaper rash.

We’ll assume that you are planning on giving your baby disposable diapers. Only buy a few in at first. The reason being that you do not know which brand is best for your baby. Some brands might fit your baby better, others might make your baby feel uncomfortable if not outright allergic to. So buy in enough for the first few days after your baby is born. Assume a diaper change every 2/3 hours over 24 hours and you will then know roughly how many to buy.

Baby Bottles

Are you planning on breastfeeding or bottle-feeding? Read this article if it can help you make your mind up.

Even if you choose to breastfeed, you may still want to have some bottles handy in case of emergency. I know all the health professionals don’t agree with this, but I think an occasional bottle doesn’t do baby any harm. I am a mother of six, all of whom were breastfed.

Nothing is better than experience. If you do indeed follow my advice and have bottles and teats (don’t forget you have to buy the teats separately), then for a newborn you will also need to sterilise all equipment before you offer anything to baby.

There are three ways you can do this.

Boil the equipment in a big pan of water for a minimum of three minutes.

Use a sterilising fluid and following instructions on the label, mix with water and place your equipment in it (bottles, teats etc) for the recommended length of time.

Buy a proper sterilizer for baby equipment. These things are a boon as they save effort and time.

For a layette, if breastfeeding I would recommend a minimum of three bottle, and six teats. If bottlefeeding, go for at least 12 bottles and 24 teats, plus a proper sterilising unit as you will be using it a lot.

A baby bonnet would be a good idea if your baby is born in wintertime, especially in a cooler or cold country. Babies regulate their body heat through their heads. Sometimes just a bonnet is all they need to warm their whole body when they are feeling cold.

Buy in baby shampoo, talc, nappy cream in preparation. You will be bathing them daily so they will need this. I highly recommend anything by Johnson, although there may well be a cheaper alternative available on the market. Johnson baby products have been looking after babies for a million years and a newborn baby smell is often confused with the smell of a Johnson product.

Strictly speaking, your newborn layette does not require a heavy all-in-one outerwear outfit, but you may find it is beneficial when you take baby out in a pram, in mid-winter. While you will have prepared the pram with a bottom sheet and a blanket, it might be advisable to double-wrap baby. Again, this depends entirely on climactic conditions where you live.

A newborn baby does not need an anorak or outercoat when they are already wrapped top to bottom in something warm. Just so long as you remember that heat loss occurs through their heads, you can put a warm bonnet or hat on their heads depending on the weather.

For further information in what furniture you need to buy for your baby, click here. Baby Crib Furniture.


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