- Women's Health
Getting Ready for Baby - The Perfect Layette
Before becoming pregnant, phrases like "layette", "night feedings", "nursery", were words that applied to other people. That has all changed now, and your life will never be the same. Now these and other phrases, like "breast feeding", "formula", and "choosing the right crib" are looming in your mind. There are so many details to plan for before baby arrives. Knowing what constitutes the perfect layette will remove one of these concerns.
You know you need a crib, a baby thermometer, bottles and formula if you don't plan to breast feed, and some other items, but what about all the rest. There are so many lovely outfits, crib toys, strollers, baby bonnets - and the new-born sets are so sweet. How do you know what you need, and what is nice, but not essential? Not every selection will be perfect for every new family or budget - we are not "one size fits all" - but there are some basic items that you will need ahead of time, starting with one special outfit to bring baby home from the hospital.
First of all - what exactly is a layette? Collins Dictionary defines it as follows:
layette [leɪˈɛt] n a complete set of articles, including clothing, bedclothes, and other accessories, for a newborn baby [from French, from Old French, from laie, from Middle Dutch laege box]
The amazing thing about babies, is that not only are they widely different, with very different needs, those needs will grow and change as quickly as they do - which, by the way, is far too fast. Just when you think you have something figured out, they will suddenly change, and there goes the ball game. Fortunately, there are some general guidelines for what you will need at first.
You will need at least two or three dozen cloth diapers. You can, if you wish, start with two dozen new-born size. These are easier to handle at first, but have your full-size ones handy. Don't worry if they seem huge at first, your baby will grow into them quite quickly. Most babies have out-grown their new-born clothing within two weeks.
Cloth diapers may seem old fashioned, however they don't end up in the land-fill! The single largest-volume contributor to land-fill these days is disposable diapers. Choose a green-friendly alternative to disposable diapers. Wash cloth diapers using a gentle detergent, and an extra rinse cycle, and be prepared to do laundry every other day. Babies need to be changed as soon as they are wet or dirty to stay comfortable.
If your friends are throwing a baby shower for you, suggest that you would love to have a diaper service for baby's first year. It is such a caring and practical gift, and a great boon for new and working mothers.
You will also need at least six to eight receiving blankets. I was fortunate to have a friend who loved to sew baby things and she happily zipped up a dozen out of the cutest, cotton flannel prints. These are great for placing under your baby when changing diapers, or for laying on your shoulder during feeding. They also make a great, light, extra wrap when baby is tiny.
Onesies are probably the single most valuable invention in baby clothes, next to the snap neck t-shirt. Babies' heads are the biggest part of their bodies, and many pullovers are too tight, or gape open once they're on, from being stretched.
Onesies are a happy combination, of a baby tee-shirt, either short or long-sleeved, and connected short pants, much like a leotard or teddy hat snaps at the crotch.
Most tees ride up as baby moves around, leaving the tummy bare. The onesies solve that problem with a clever design that elongates the shirt-tails to snap closed over the diaper, while leaving baby's legs free.
Onesies do well on their own for hot weather, or under leggings or pants if the weather is cooler.
Baby baths, or bathinettes, are often a simple, shallow plastic tub that can be placed on the table for bathing baby. Bathing babies in a full-sized tub is not recommended until they are able to sit up unaided.
These "bath chairs" are even safer than a shallow basin, as they allow you to use both hands to bath baby, while the infant is held securely above the water. When baby is older and more active, you can transfer the chair to the bathtub, especially if they love to splash. This also makes the transition to the "big" bath quite seamless.
Kniited Baby Clothes
You will also need some sweaters, a few bonnets, leggings for cold weather. Lucky you if you have a "Spring-born" infant, as you won't need to stock up on heavy clothing. You will need a bunting bag for taking your baby out - even just as far as a warm vehicle. It can be lined, quilted, or light, depending on your climate.
Baby clothes and little knitted booties are so adorable it's hard not to go overboard, but your infant will only need three or four light sweaters to see them through their first six months. Booties will certainly not be worn out, either. They'll be grown out of before they can begin to look used.
I was fortunate enough to have a dear friend who exchanged baby clothes regularly with her sisters and cousins, and I was able to participate. As soon as one baby outgrew their clothes, the best of their apparel was boxed up and shipped to the next child to need that size.
Baby BlanketsClick thumbnail to view full-size
You will also need at least three large, soft blankets for taking baby out and also to serve as crib blankets. Once your infant is sitting in the stroller, you can use the extra blankets as a sunshade or breeze-stopper.
Having three blankets will give you a spare, in case one is in the laundry. We managed quite nicely with one very thick, fluffy one and two lighter, woven cotton blankets.
It's hard to limit yourself to just a few, there are so many lovely fabrics and colors available.Try not to beggar yourself with buying all the lovely items - leave something for baby's doting relatives to supply.
As well, you may be lucky enough to be given one or two hand-crocheted baby blankets. With a bit of extra care, these will make wonderful heirloom gifts for future grandchildren's children.
Infant Car Seats
Though not clothing, these items do fit under the heading of baby accessories. The old image of the new mommy wheeled to the curb to be driven home with baby in her arms is now officially a thing of the past. Many hospitals will not allow you to leave with your baby unless you have a safe car seat fitted.
Canadian guidelines recommend a car seat that bolts to the vehicle's frame, as the safest in the event of an accident. Some research will show you what is available in your area.
Strollers do not need to have over-sized tires, frames and handlebars to be sturdy - unless you are planning to take cross-country trips with your infant in tow. Then, by all means, they are fabulous. However, if you are an urban mommy, have pity on the rest of us. Have you ever tried to navigate the aisles of a store behind one of those all-terrain strollers, especially with a shopping cart?
Not necessities, but nice to have...
Robeez baby shoes are perhaps not a necessary item, but they are a great find. Made of soft leather, they are not only durable, and comfortable for baby's feet, they are much kinder to Mommy's and Daddy's thighs when bouncing their little bundle on the lap.
Robeez have suede leather soles for better purchase, and come in sizes from infant right up to toddler. Unlike hard baby booties, they allow the child's foot to flex and grow naturally.
A baby carrier, or snuggly, can be one of the nicest things you can do for yourself and your infant. Much has been written about the psychological benefits to parent and baby, but experiencing it first-hand is one of the best things about having a baby. Happy baby!
Some Helpful Links
- The Ultimate Layette Checklist
Baby's arrival is just around the cornerare you ready? What do you really need? Practicality is the operative word when it comes to
- Basic Baby Needs
What are the basic baby needs? Use this baby needs checklist to purchase the baby clothing, bedding and layette items that will make your newborn baby feel safe and welcome.
- Vintage Stitches Baby and Toddler Crochet Patterns
Baby Knitting Layette Patterns... We offer a wide array of vintage baby patterns for knitting and crocheting as
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