When my daughter was eight weeks old she had her first public outing. We were off to a backyard birthday party and I dressed her in a crisp white dress with a scalloped edge skirt and capped sleeves. For a splash of colour she wore a bright pink flower headband and matching barefoot sandals.
We did one quick lap around the party and proudly accepted compliments on her cuteness. But it was thirty degrees in the shade and our poor little flower was drooping. The headband made a red indent into her forehead; the sandals slipped off her heels; and sweat dampened the layered skirt.
After only a few minutes we stripped off the whole ensemble. For the rest of the party she lay comfortably in a simple cotton onesie.
What was the point?
Sure, she looked #sopretty – but when it came to my little one, I realised that her comfort should take precedence over my dream of playing dress-ups with a real-life Baby Born.
My little doll has a stunning wardrobe, brimming with dresses, playsuits, skirts and vests – but each of her fancier outfits comes with its own set of challenges, and are just not suitable for everyday (or any day) wear for a newborn.
- Lace fabric outfits: I have very quickly learnt that there is no room for lace in my baby’s wardrobe. Her sharp little dagger claws that make short work of fine lace, and the thicker outfits are forever soaking in a tub of Nappy San. Have you ever tried to clean chunky milk vomit out of tiny lacey loopholes? It’s like pushing porridge over a cheese grater.
- Outfits with beads, pearl and sequin embellishments: Can anyone say ‘choking hazard’? My baby is not Honey Boo Boo and this is not ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’. There is no real-life situation that seems appropriate to weigh her down with beads, pearls, sequins and other embellishments.
- Outfits without nappy support: Knowledge that I can never unlearn… Newborn baby poo has the thick, sticky consistency of the swamp that swallowed Atreyu’s horse in ‘The Neverending Story’. Those little press-studs are annoying, but clothes that fasten between the legs help to keep the nappy up and the contents in. Which, in the case of my child – whose tiny chicken legs that stick out of nappy holes like chop sticks – is particularly important.
- Any two-piece outfits: Two-piece outfits are as appropriate for babies as a midriff is to a muffin-top. Babies are sweaty, squirmy, and are lifted up and down all day. When my little cupcake is wearing a two-piece, I’m constantly pulling her shirt down and tugging her shorts up to keep her back covered. And then there’s the issue of poop. Again. My perfect storm seems to be a trip to the supermarket with my little one in a pretty two-piece. On more than one occasion she has expelled a month’s worth of excrement as soon as we reached the store, and without the confines of the one-piece there was nothing to stop the car capsule from becoming a bowl of soup.
- Overalls: Repeat all of the problems with two-piece outfits, and add the difficulty of continually tucking the shirt into shorts (or, even worse, skorts) that gape open at the top. What am I trying to do, raise a little hillbilly? She cannot stand up, so her shoulders cannot support her clothing. And she definitely does not need a tiny little pocket on her chest, as I’m sure I’ll be carrying around her belongings until she is at least five.
- Tutu skirts: I felt sorry for my tiny tot when I dressed her into a tutu. She just looked so uncomfortable, lying on her back with a thick tufted skirt. But every gal wants a baby ballerina, right? So I persisted. Until it was time to buckle all that tulle into a car capsule. She looked like a squashed meringue.
- Buttons on the back or nape of the neck: Remember that song that we all used to clap to: ‘Miss Mary Mack, all dressed in black, with silver buttons, all down her back’? Yes, well Mary was not a baby, but I bet her mother still struggled with all those damn buttons. Babies are floppy. Really, really floppy. They have no neck control, cannot sit unaided, and in their first few months hate tummy time. Without two sets of hands, there is no safe or easy way to do up a sequence of tiny buttons on their back – at least without sending them into a raging fit.
Can you relate? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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