Dressing a baby is a piece of cake—that is, after you’ve mastered a few tricks for maneuvering her head and limbs through those tiny neck and arm and leg holes.
Step 1: Choose clothes Decide what the baby should wear based on the same factors you use to decide for yourself—the temperature, the time of day, and the activities you have planned. In general, babies should wear one more layer than you do.
TIP: For comfort’s sake, choose soft cotton clothes and avoid anything with buttons or appliqués that could come loose, ribbons or strings that could wrap around limbs or necks, and rough inside seams that could scratch baby’s skin.
Step 2: Lie baby down Lie the baby down on a safe surface, such as the bed or a blanket on the floor. Changing tables generally aren’t roomy enough to dress a baby safely and easily.
Step 3: Change diaper Change your baby’s diaper first, if need be.
TIP: Talk, sing, and play with the baby as you dress her to make it fun for both of you. And don’t forget to give her a big raspberry on the belly at every opportunity.
Step 4: One-piece outfit If you’ll be out and about, choose a one-piece outfit that snaps or zips up the front from ankle to neck—they’re easiest to put on and take off for diaper changes. Lay the outfit out and place your baby on top of it. Slip her feet through the leg holes or into the feet, pull her arms gently through the sleeves, and snap or zipper her in.
Step 5: Two-piece outfit If you’re opting for a two-piece outfit, put on the top first. Choose tops that will go easily over your baby’s head. A stretchy neck or snaps or buttons on the shoulders work well. If it’s a snap-top, simply lay the shirt open on the surface and lay the baby face up on top of it. Slip one arm into a sleeve at a time and snap the shirt closed.
TIP: A kimono-style t-shirt with snaps on the side is best for infants, especially if their belly button hasn’t yet healed. A tee that snaps at the crotch, like a onesie, is best for older, more active babies—it’ll stay tucked in.
Step 6: Slip on shirt If the top is not a snap-on, use both hands to stretch the neck of the t-shirt as wide as possible, then slip it over her head. To get her arms through the sleeves, reach into the sleeves, grab her hand, and pull it through. Lift her body slightly with one hand to pull the body of the shirt down so that you can snap it.
Step 7: Put on bottoms Now put on the bottoms. Avoid bottoms that have to be zippered or buttoned; elastic-waist pants are ideal. Bunch up one leg at a time, reach in, and pull your baby’s foot through. Then lift her hips slightly with one hand while you tug the pants up and over her diaper.
Step 8: Slip on socks If her feet are bare, slip on socks. Choose stretchy ones with a roll-down cuff; they’ll stay on better. Booties with elasticized ankles are also more likely stay on.
TIP: Avoid patterned socks with loose strings inside—these could get tangled around those tiny toes.
Step 9: Put on hat & layer Now pop a hat on her head, and any other extra layers she may need, and let her know what a fashionable little baby she is.
FACT: During the 1600s, American babies were generally dressed in so much clothing wrapped so tightly that they were usually immobilized from head to toe.