India doesn’t allow sex determination, it is illegal and hence we decided not to buy too many things for our unborn child, especially clothes. We wanted to wait and see if our baby was a boy or girl and then accordingly purchase clothing essentials. But, naturally, when you have eager and over-excited parents, your hard-bound decisions will go out the window. Before we knew it, they had bought enough clothes to last us a year.
In a way, we were glad to be stocked up, once Z was born, we knew exactly what to use and what items to store away, depending on her growth. Here is a list of clothing essentials that we used/use:
- Swaddle – Swaddling is almost like a religion in this country; if you defy it, you are going to get rapped on your knuckles. Like all Indian parents we swaddled our child too, initially with the cloth, and later we moved on to Swaddle Me, a ready-made swaddle with strategically placed Velcro patches to wrap your child.
Swaddling is important, no doubt, as it keeps the child cozily ensconced; restricts her moro reflex and of course, helps her to sleep . But our baby’s hands always found their way out, so, eventually, we stopped wrapping her hands. You don’t have to go crazy wrapping her like a kathi roll. Doctors have advised to keep the swaddle loose for the child to move their legs around. Please do not follow any advice blindly, especially from people who are not experts in child matters, and trust me you will come across a lot.
- Cotton Vest – Again on the advice of elders, we bought some cotton vests and even got some stitched. But this just didn’t work for the baby; it virtually left her naked and hardly protected. We stopped using these jhablas (yeah that’s what we call it in Gujarati) within two weeks, even though they were perfect for humid weather.
- Onesies – these are one of the most important pieces of clothing your baby will ever need for at least a year. They are convenient, comfortable, provide easy diaper access and make for the cutest baby photos. There are various types of onesies you can experiment with – sleeveless, short and long sleeves and close-toed. See what best suits your baby
- Diapers – Your biggest investment as far as clothing is concerned. Again there are various diaper types to choose from but the ones we are very comfortable with the ones with a “pee indicator”; as soon as the child passes urine it changes colour. A diaper can definitely take two or three flows before you change. But we went on the duration, as we were told not to keep Z in it for more than two to two and a half hours. In the first two months we changed her anywhere between 8-10 times. But as she grows older this number will come down.
- Cotton Nappies – We know a lot of people who are comfortable using reusable cotton nappies but it wasn’t convenient for us. You have to be constantly on your guard and probably need house help who will be washing these regularly. Unlike disposable diapers, these nappies caused spillage everywhere, soiling her clothes and bed sheets as well.
- Mittens, cap, socks – Our baby hated the cap, simply because she couldn’t hold her hair. She loves her hair. We only made her wear the cap when we would go out. Mittens are a must as she scratches her face on regular basis but then we became more cautious and started clipping her nails every alternate day. Socks are great while she is sleeping or travelling, otherwise she finds a way to remove those as well.
- Nighties – It is important to create a habit of night change for the babies, right now for them it doesn’t matter but it is necessary to develop this concept so when they are older they associate nightwear with sleep. For us, it has become second nature as we bathe her at night so we change her into something fresh and comfortable like a night shirt and pajamas
- Blankets – Needless to explain. Apart from doing their primary duty of keeping her warm, these are also one of those items associated with sleep. The faster the child picks this up, the better it is for you.
- Towels – Another essential item that are usually designed with hoods for babies. We have a couple of these specially for our daughter’s use and a pretty cute one with her name on it that was gifted by our friends.
- Napkins – Make sure you have these by the dozens. It is very natural for newborns to spit up and regurgitate milk. Napkins and wash cloths will be your best friends for months to come.
Tell me about your kid’s favorite piece of clothing or an essential item that has made your baby more comfy.