So what’s a layette anyway?

Newly expectant women generally find themselves hungry for information. (And pancakes. But that’s another story.) It’s your heart insisting that your brain hurry and get with the program; there’s a lot to learn for baby’s arrival!

No doubt that in the process of scouring message boards, parenting magazines and pregnancy books, you came across the notion of a layette. It sounds like something you should be buying for your baby, but if you’re not sure exactly what it is, you’re not alone.

A layette is simply a baby’s first wardrobe.

Layette comes from the French word for little drawer—so if you’re buying the baby a layette, you’re buying her a drawer full of clothes, or at least the essentials you’ll need to get through the first months. These include:

•  Body suits, often called “onesies”
•  Longjohn style one pieces (“romper” or “playsuit”)
•  Sidesnap or kimono style tees that don’t have to pulled over a baby’s head
•  Soft stretchy pants Socks or booties
•  Jacket or sweater for colder climates
•  A cotton cap and no-scratch mittens
•  Receiving blankets in various sizes
•  Soft bibs and burp cloths
•  Hooded towel Pajamas which can substitute for play clothes too
•  Sleep sac for nighttime
•  One “photo ready” outfit

If this is your first child, you may end up showered with more baby clothes than you’ll ever reasonably need. But if you end up finding yourself thumbing through racks and racks of cuteness that you are simply unable to resist there are a few things to consider before you plunk down the plastic.

First of all, a newborn’s skin is extremely sensitive, so look for items made of soft fabric—be a detective when you pick out clothes and imagine how a scratchy tag or stiff fabric would feel against that new baby skin. You can also look for clothes with covered snaps or zippers, and fold-over mittens at the sleeves of pajamas that can cover baby’s jagged little fingernails. You won’t want him to end up with a face full of scratches.

Also make sure the clothes are machine washable and will hold up under many (many, many) spins through the laundry with a gentle, dye-free detergent.

Cashmere and linen may look great in a special photo op, but they won’t look nearly as good five minutes later with spit up down the front.

If you don’t have a complete layette by the time the baby makes his exciting arrival into the world, there’s no need to worry. If there’s one fun thing about being a new mom, it’s the continued hunt for the most adorable clothes on the planet.

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