Not many parents stop and think about some of the lesser mentioned tasks of parenthood. Soon to be parents often learn how to change diapers, how to bathe their baby, feed and burp them, but how to dress them is far less mentioned. This leaves parents stumped and uncomfortable when the day finally comes and there is a delicate newborn before them.
This uncomfortable situation is certain to happen a lot as newborns often spit-up and over flow diapers. Older babies find even more ways to get dirty. While parents could simply wait, and learn from experience how to dress a baby, this simple step-by-step guide on how to dress a baby may offer a bit of assistance to help make dressing baby a little less uncomfortable and little more informed.
Dressing a newborn baby and dressing an older baby are slightly different, as well as clothing used during winter and summer will differ. This guide will cover dressing newborns and then as an added bonus cover older babies as well.
Newborns have less ability to regulate their own body temperature than an older baby has, but over clothing is actually more common than under. As a rule of thumb look at how many layers of clothing you are wearing and add one layer for baby. Remember to adjust clothing layers as you would your own. If you become to hot for example, your baby probably is as well.
Newborns also usually have unstable neck control, large heads and will have an umbilical stump at birth. These two things combined can make clothing that pulls over the head more difficult to use. The easiest way to dress a newborn is to use jump suits, onsies or other clothing that buttons all the way down the front. Using these, you simply unbutton and lay the clothing out, pick your baby up supporting the neck and lay him/her on the clothing and the button it up. You don’t have to worry about pulling them over that large head while supporting the neck or snagging on the umbilical cord.
If you do plan to use over-the-head type clothing make sure to stretch the neck enough that you can pull it over without touching the baby’s face. This often upsets them and their crying will often upset you.
With an older baby, dressing is far easier as the head has become more in proportion to the body, the neck has gained strength, and the umbilical stump has fallen off. As the baby ages it will become more and more mobile, which can make dressing even harder because the baby can run away. You may want to keep clothing simple because of this and easy to remove from the waist down for quick diaper changes. Most baby clothing has buttons in the button region for this purpose. Until the frequency of diapers slows when the baby is even older, you may want to avoid things like jeans or tights.
To make the clothing process more appealing to the child try turning it into a game, make dressing fun. In younger babies this can be done with a simple game of hide and seek. When you pull the shirt over his/her head simply say, “Oh, where did baby go?” and once you pull the shirt down say, “There he/she is!” In older babies, this may still work, but you could also try appealing to their desire to be a “big kid”. Explain how big kids get dressed and praise your baby when they do it correctly.
In the case of both newborns and older babies, some special care should be taken in different seasons.
How to Dress Baby for Warm Weather
-Layers are especially helpful in the summer as they allow you to adjust for temperature changes easily. Try to keep layers light in color and fabric type in the summer. The clothing should breathe well.
-Babies are even more sensitive to sun than adults are. Always be sure to use sunscreen and consider a small lightweight cap. You may even use those cute little baby sunglasses.
-Try to stay indoors during the peak heat hours of the day.
-Watch for heat rash, and remove clothing when your baby feels hot.
– Make sure baby gets plenty of fluids.
How to Dress Baby for Cold Weather
-Always cover the head. Whether it is a hat or a blanket draped over until you get to the car, cover your babies head.
-Layers are also good for winter as they allow you to remove a layer in the car for example and put it back on when you your baby is outside. Use lighter layers closer to the body and the thicker layers as an outside “shell” so to speak to break the wind. Remember to remove some layers when indoors as the perspiration will dampen clothing and make the baby cold when you go back outside.
-On especially cold days consider mittens.
-If the babies face becomes white or pale it may be too cold, and if it becomes red it may be to hot. Watch for cues for both over heating and chills.
-Make sure the babies diaper stays dry.
You may also find helpful:
How to Clean Baby Toys
Swaddling a Baby: Benefits, Risks and When and How to Swaddle
Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Changing Diapers