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Buying Clothes for Baby
There are not too many things I would rather do than shop. That being said, I feel I am a (self-proclaimed) expert on the subject of shopping. But I am a thrifty shopper. I look for the best long-term value when shopping.
When shopping for baby, especially if it is your first one, there are things you just don't need. All of the stores send out lists of stuff they want you to THINK you need, but you don't. Of course, it is a way to drive business to their stores.
I am a mother of three and the biggest mistake I made was always buying too many clothes before the baby gets here. Even with my last baby, I thought I had done better, but I had a lot of pullover type clothes, and having a broken collarbone, he couldn't wear them. So he wore lots of snap side (kimono style) t-shirts and sleepers, but no onesies.
If you do laundry every-other day or so, you really only need a few outfits for baby. Of course, if you are out and about a lot you will want more so that baby will always look fresh and cute, because when you wash your "few outfits" over and over, they start to look old and pilly. If you are like me and like to do laundry once a week, you'll need a few more things.
The best brands for holding up after washing are Carter's, GAP, Old Navy, Okie Dokie, and OshKosh (but only the denim for OshKosh - their other stuff fades QUICKLY). Two other great brands are Health Tex and Buster Brown, but they are harder to find (at least in SC they are).
If you use cloth diapers, you will also need more clothes. Cloth diapers, until "broken in," usually tend to leak around the legs. It is worth it in the long run.
I am a firm believer of buying used but not used-up stuff. Kids really do only wear their stuff a little while. So if you fall in love with the little boutique dress that is 80 bucks, you are likely to find something very similar and in very close to new condition for a fraction of the price.
Thrift stores, Goodwill, yard sales, and eBay are great places to find good used stuff for kids. When picking through bins or going through racks to find the good deals, make sure to snap and button everything on the garment. If you get into the habit of doing that first thing, you will avoid "missing" it until you get it washed & ready for baby to wear. It also provides a good chance to look at the condition of the buttons & snaps. You can usually tell a lot about a garment by the painted snaps. If the paint is off the snaps, probably the outfit went through a bunch of kids. Of course, if it is something like a nightgown or pj's, who cares? As long as there are no rips, tears, or loose buttons, it is good to go. Lastly, the two main places to look for hidden stains is around the neck (from drool & spitup) and on the back around the rear end (for muddy accidents). If you find something with a little stain and it is a quarter - go for it! Lots of times you can put a little stain-stick on it, let it sit, and it will come out. Resolve carpet cleaner does well on spitup stains. Good luck & have fun shopping!