Preparing for Baby: A Minimalist Wardrobe

Most conventional weekly pregnancy updates contain a to-do list which invariably asks the expectant parents to buy this or that each week. New parents hope to have a baby shower to help curtail the costs of the expensive and expansive baby gear. By the time the baby is born, s/he already has more belongings than the average medieval king.

This is my third go at it. At first we wanted two children, so I felt generous in gifting away my baby gear to friends and family with more urgent need. What these two factors mean is that I’m starting from scratch with a whole lot more parenting wisdom than I once had.

I like the minimalist wardrobes that I designed for my boys but a newborn has different needs.

Special Considerations for This Age Group (0-6 months)

  • A young baby does a lot of sleeping with few transition times, so clothing should be comfortable to sleep in. No one wants to wake up baby to put PJs on.
  • Unless you’re very lucky in hand-me-downs (or a shop-a-holic), you will probably never need to “cull” a baby’s wardrobe. This is because they grow out of sizes or damage their clothes so fast that the collection is pretty self-limiting.
  • Ease of nighttime changing should be a real priority. Waking up to feed and change a baby is exhausting enough without dealing with finicky clothing.
  • Footies are especially helpful as babies, with no control of their limbs, still manage to kick off shoes and socks which are much too difficult to put on those tiny, delicate limbs in the first place.
  • Hats and mittens for indoor use aren’t mere accessories. Many young babies have long sharp fingernails and can easily gouge their faces. They also often have bald heads which lead to heat loss.

My List of Essentials

  • 1 outdoor car seat / travel suit. These preferably have build in hand and feet coverings, a hood and a crotch so that you can fasten a car seat whilst the baby is snug inside. This is especially essential for winter babies.
  • 2-3 pair of indoor mittens. Light weight to prevent scratching. Baby socks can substitute for these.
  • 2-3 indoor hats. To keep that big bald head warm. They don’t tend to get really dirty and can be reused between washes.
  • 7-10 onesies. These are those snap-able white body suits used as infant underwear. Short-sleeved lasts longer, but if you intend to use them as actual shirts, long sleeve is great for winter babies or kids with eczema.
  • 7-10 sleep and play body suits. I prefer ones that zip and have feet attached.

 

That’s it! I know it seems like a small number of items, especially when compared with the boys’ wardrobes, but babies don’t do a whole lot except for growing.

This is a great base to have, but you’ll probably get gifts from family and friends to supplement these items and to change things up. There certainly are so many cute outfits that you may get (and not want to use on a regular basis due to finicky parts). Pieces with sweaters and pants and buttons in weird locations.

All About Sizes

For the uninitiated, baby sizes are really confusing. For the first year, a baby could go through as many as 6 sizes (preemie, newborn, 0-3 month, 3-6 month, 6-9 month, 9-12 month). Some garments will be marked with a single month (6 month, 9 month and 12 months are common) and some garments, such as outdoor suits and sleep sacks, are designed to hit a large range of sizes (ex. 0-9 months).

Sizes are more like guidelines, though. Different companies may use a different scale and a kid could be stuffed into the same clothing item for a large span of time, especially when short sleeves are used.

My babies have historically been on the large side of things. For this reason, I consider 0-3 to be the perfect first size for my family. Incidentally, I try to get this size in gender neutral prints so that if there is a surprise in the delivery room, I’m not unprepared.

When asked which sizes I want from friends and family, I usually ask for size 6 month and up. The reason being is that enthusiasm over a baby wanes and once kids start eating solids (usually around 6 months), hand-me-downs and stocks in used clothing stores dwindle due to so many garments being ruined by babies past.

Gender Talk

We think we’re having a girl. The effect this knowledge has on my minimalist wardrobe considerations is small. I have bought a couple of those headbands with bows on them to jazz up an outfit (especially those from older brothers), a few alligator hair clips in the event she has enough hair to keep it from her eyes, and I hope to pick up a single cute dress for photo shoots or meeting grandparents and such events. Future sizes, 3-6 month and up will probably include more feminine prints, but I think the onesie and body suit combination is perfect for this age group and especially for a winter baby (she is due in October).

I hope this knowledge from one parent to another is valuable and may your own little minimalist be comfortable and happy.

Until next time, live lightly!