Going into a shop that's bulging with baby goods can be a little overwhelming. How do you know what you really need straight away? Here's a list of basic layette items to get you started for your baby's early days. Some of the amounts may seem like a lot, but with extra items on hand, you won't have to do washing every day.
- 2 or 3 soft, baby-size bath towels and 6 to 10 baby flannels
- 6 to 8 receiving blankets
- 6 front-snapping stretch jumper suits, newborn gowns or onesies
- 6 to 10 cotton-knit, front-snapping T-shirts
- 1 or 2 jumpers
- 2 to 3 sleep suits
- 3 or 4 cot or bassinet sheets (be sure they fit tightly on the mattress)
- 2 to 3 thin blankets or quilts (fluffy blankets pose a SIDS risk), tucked in around the mattress
- 4 to 6 pairs of socks or booties
- Nappies sized for newborns. If you're planning on using disposable nappies, look for the kind with a notch cut out of the front for your baby's umbilical cord stump. Cloth nappies can just be folded over.
- At least one wide-brimmed hat to protect your baby's head and face from the sun during outings.
- A snow-suit if you live in a cold climate.
- Mittens if you live in a cold climate. Don't bother with the thin hand covers sold in many shops; infants need their hands free for exploring.
Clothing Safety Tips
Keep these guidelines in mind when shopping for all children's clothing.
- Stick with all-cotton or cotton blends, which are soft and easily washable.
- Check labels for the phrase 'flame retardant'.
- Don't dress your baby in items with strings (like hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings); these can twist around little hands, fingers, toes and even necks.
- Buy tops with generous head holes so that dressing your infant is easy for you and comfortable for her.
- Check regularly for loose buttons, which pose a choking hazard.
- Avoid outfitting your baby in clothes with decorative items like beads or ribbons, which are tempting for little hands. If they come loose, they present a choking risk.
For information on setting up your baby's nursery, read more about baby gear.