Tori Kropp, RN / Baby Care Basics


In the early weeks of parenting, simply dressing a newborn can seem monumental. Here are a few tips to make the process easier.

- Choose clothing with quick-change features. Your best bet: onesies, which are short, snapped t-shirts or footed stretch suits with zippers or snaps up the front. The easiest way to get these on is by laying the unsnapped or unzipped garment down first, and then placing your infant on top of it. Use one hand to guide your baby's arm through the sleeve. Use the other hand to reach through the cuff and gently pull his arm through the opening. With older infants you can even make a game of it: "Where's baby's hand? Where's baby's hand? Here it is!!"

- At night it can be very convenient to dress the baby in a layette. This is a simple sack-like nightgown with an elastic or drawstring at the bottom. This allows for easy diaper changes.

- Shirts that need to be drawn over the head can be tricky. First, you'll want to make sure that the garments have spacious or expandable necks. Even so, you'll want to stretch the opening as wide as it will go before sliding it over your baby's head. Use your fingers to keep the material from catching on his face.

- For pants, reach in the pant leg, gently hold his foot and guide it through the opening.

- Don't buy garments with stiff seams, or tight arms and legs. And, for safety's sake, avoid anything with ribbons or strings. These can be a choking hazard.

- A simple rule of keeping your baby warm enough is that she needs one additional layer to whatever you are wearing.