Dressing a baby is much more difficult than you’d imagine it to be. As someone still exasperated from trying to get my seven-year-old’s soccer boots on each weekend, I’d love to tell you that they’ll be doing everything for themselves soon, but that’s not always true. It may not seem like that tricky an endeavor before you start, but it’s fair to say that there are a few things to consider that you may not have thought about before.
Babies can’t regulate their own body temperature
This is by far the most important point to consider. Until they’re around 11 months old, babies cannot regulate their own body temperature as adults and older children do. In fact, newborns lose body heat 4X quicker than an adult does. This means that you need to pay careful attention to the temperature of their surroundings to decide on what they need to wear.
Don’t be tempted to just leave your baby in a sweater though. They are also prone to overheating easily, and will need something loose and breathable in hot weather. As a loose rule of thumb for colder climates, dress them in as many layers as you’d expect an elderly woman to don in the winter: a vest, long-sleeved sweater, trousers, and a cardigan should suffice.
Their skin is incredibly delicate
Although they can overheat quickly, the worst thing you could do in hot weather is to have your baby topless outside. That new and delicate skin will become sunburnt far quicker than ours, and has the potential to make them much more ill. In bright sunshine then, always ensure that your little one’s skin is covered up by sleeves, trousers, and a wide-brimmed hat if you’re planning on spending more than a few minutes outside.
Babies don’t always listen to sound advice, and may resist wearing a hat, but their often thin hair makes their scalps particularly prone to burning. Try to get a hat on them, and if they keep taking it off, adjust your plans accordingly so that you’re either in the shade, or not outside for so long.
Try to be gentle
I wince sometimes when I see some people get their child’s arms in all sorts of positions in an effort to get it in a sleeve. Babies are resilient, but try not to rush when dressing them, just in case you hurt them by accident. One thing to look out for is to ensure that all five of your child’s fingers are in the right position to emerge from a sleeve. If you pull too hard on a sleeve whilst getting it on, you risk pulling thumbs or pinkies that may have snagged halfway, backwards. Take your time to check everything is where it should be, even when you’re in a rush.
Avoid tight-fitting headwear
Babies’ skulls don’t form completely until they’re around two years old. This means that prior to that, they’re left with a soft spot on the top of their heads that if you sit and watch long enough, you can actually see pulsate (I wouldn’t recommend looking though unless you’ve got a particularly strong stomach!). As such, you’ll need to make sure that any cute bows or elasticated headwear isn’t too tight. Very light pressure on the spot is fine, but a headband that’s too tight is a bad idea.
Follow these tips and your babies will be lovely and comfortable in the clothes that you’ve chosen for them. Whether or not they coordinate properly however, is a different story. I still get criticized by my wife for my own dress choices, so you’re on your own there!
Robbie Meechan is a parenting and lifestyle blogger at paternaldamnation.com. We're excited to have him as a guest blogger here at DadGifts!