Monday, April 20, 2009

What NOT to buy for your new baby

In this week’s baby bargainista column, Jenny explains why you won’t need to shop for baby clothes before you welcome your new baby into the world.

If there’s one thing you DON’T need to worry about buying before baby is born, it’s baby clothes.

I know, it seems counter-intuitive – what will poor baby wear? – but trust me on this. Save your money, at least until after baby arrives. Here’s why.

1. You’re likely to receive innumerable gifts of baby clothes after the birth even if you don’t have a baby shower. In my experience, it’s the number-one go-to gift from friends and family – especially hand-me-downs from anyone who’s already had their brood and has been hanging on to bins of good-condition newborn baby clothes in the hope of finding them a good home. (At this age babies grow out of their clothes quickly, and nothing gets worn out until baby starts to actually crawl.)

2. In the early weeks it’s easier to keep baby swaddled in a blanket or two rather than buttoned into a sleeper or onesie. This allows for faster unwrapping for that essential skin-to-skin bonding that helps your milk come in faster, and kick-starts baby’s nursing instincts (by the way, the same holds true for bottle feeding – baby feeds more effectively when skin-to-skin). It also allows for faster diaper changes – and there will be plenty of those, believe me!

3. Until your baby is born, you can’t know what size he or she will be. Don’t put too much faith in the tags that give age ranges or lbs – those are just a guideline. There are major variations between brands, and every baby is different. The photos above are of three sleepers, from three different brands (George, Snugabye, and Joe Fresh), all helpfully labeled 0-3 months – and as you can see, they vary greatly in length. If your little one turns out to be on the smaller side at first (as our most recent arrival was), you might find her swimming in onesies that are far too big despite being “right” for her age; or if your baby is longer (i.e. taller) than average (as our first-born was and still is), you might find that 0-3 month sleepers don’t offer enough room for her legs.

So when you pack for the trip to the hospital, bring just a few sleepers of various sizes and brands so you can pick the best-fitting one for the trip home; and when well-wishers ask if there’s anything baby needs, give them the specifics on weight and height to help them shop. At worst, you can always send the father or a grandparent on a quick trip to the nearest Real Canadian Superstore for some Joe Fresh sleepers or onesies. And you won’t end up with pangs of regret as you pack away or give away, unworn, the perfectly good baby clothes that never quite fit.
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  1. You're absolutely right on this Jenny. We've picked up a few things on deep discount/sale, but outside of that we plan on waiting because we have no idea if baby will be shorter like me, or rather lanky like my tall husband.

  2. Thanks Rebecca! Picking up a few things on deep discount is a good exception to this rule, especially if they're utility items like sleepers or onesies that can be worn anytime, at any age. If baby is born shorter like you, he or she will eventually grow into them!


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