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When you find out you are expecting your first child, it is an experience you want to cherish and savour. However, there is no denying that the new world of parenthood you will be introduced to can be overwhelming. If there is one true thing, it’s that everyone has an opinion on pregnancy and motherhood.
But while unwanted opinions can seem to be par for the course, there is also a wealth of knowledge and information you will come across. Suddenly parenting takes on a whole new level of overwhelm as you try to decipher what you should be doing, what you should be avoiding and the best way to prepare for your new arrival.
But how can you decipher the good from the bad, the required knowledge from the can be dismissed information and more importantly, how you can be a good parent!
Many people like to wait until they have passed the 12-week mark before they start to tell people or buy anything for their new baby. It is understandable as there is always the worry that something will happen before this time.
One of the first things people will buy once this point has passed is clothes. And let’s be honest, there are some really adorable baby clothes on the market right now.
From your basic plain sleepsuits and vests to elaborate designs and patterns that can elicit that loving “coo” from admirers to full outfits that are not only cute but perfectly designed for babies of any age.
Should You Wash Your Newborn Clothes?
Fabrics go through a lot before they touch your baby’s skin, from hand-me-downs to brand-new purchases. Clothing, for example, is frequently stored in warehouses that may also house a variety of bugs and rodents right next to your child’s new onesie.
Furthermore, formaldehyde is sometimes used to keep baby clothes looking fresh during shipping. Who knows how long hand-me-downs have been in storage, collecting dust or possibly even mould? At the end of the day, whether it’s chemicals, pests, or dust, you want to keep your baby safe from the outside world.
You also need to consider what the clothing can contact when being stored, for example, household dust, pet hair if you have pets or cleaning chemicals you use daily.
While it can be tempting to hang up the new baby clothes you have bought or have been given from family and friends, many dermatologists will advise you that washing your baby clothes before you put them on your newborn is the best option to help you remove any irritants that can adversely affect your new baby skin and their health.
When Should You Wash Your Newborn Clothing?
To remove as many irritants as possible and keep the clothing items fresh and clean, it is advisable to wash them as close to your due date as possible. However, we know that babies don’t always stick to the plan or arrive on their due date. Around 1 in 4 babies arrive on their due date. In 2017, 73% of babies were born before their due date.
So with this in mind, washing your baby’s clothing in the weeks leading up to their birth can help you be prepared in the event of going into labour early. Once you have washed your baby items, you want to make sure you keep them somewhere where they won’t come into contact with anything that can add irritants to the fabric or become dirty before you need to use them.
What Should You Use To Wash Newborn Clothing?
Some parents prefer to wash their baby’s clothes with non-biological detergent. Biological detergents contain enzymes that aid in stain removal; however, some parents are concerned that these enzymes will irritate their baby’s skin. There isn’t much evidence for this, but you might want to be on the safe side. A gentle fabric softener may aid in preventing itching in your baby’s clothes.
Many people use this rule whether they are buying newborn clothing or older kids clothing too, as children’s skin can be sensitive as they get older. So it is worth bearing in mind that the practice of washing children’s clothing isn’t just beneficial to babies but also to older children and teenagers too. And children can go through a lot of clothing as they grow over the years, meaning you will constantly be looking at updating their wardrobes with good quality kids clothing for many years to come.
How to Prepare Newborn Clothing to be Worn
The following steps can help you to sort through everything you have bought and make sure it is clean and fresh, and ready to use for your newborn.
- Get Your Items Organised – Sort the items first by colour. After that, secure zippers, buttons, snaps, and other closures before turning the garments inside out. To avoid ending up with solo socks before your baby has even had a chance to wear them, wash baby socks, bibs, and other small clothing items in a mesh bag.
- Choose Your Washing Detergent – the next step is to choose a detergent you are comfortable using. Try to avoid using highly perfumed detergents to reduce further irritants that can upset your baby delicate skin balance. There are many non-bio detergents on the market that are ideal for use on baby skin. In fact, they are perfect for the whole family if you decide to switch to a different brand for everyone.
- Wash and Dry – Launder your child’s clothes as usual, following the instructions on the fabric care label. In general, hot water should be used to wash diapers and cold water for everything else. Use a gentle-to-normal washer setting, especially for the first wash.
- Put Away – Then, once you are happy the clothing is clean, you can organise your items into any furniture you may have the baby ready for when you arrive home after the birth.
What Should You Wash?
As a general rule, pretty much any clothing or material items should be washed before you use them with your baby.
- Baby Clothes and Fabrics – Throw your baby’s onesie, bib, burp cloth, hat, or socks in the washer with your chosen laundry detergent before the baby arrives. Then, when you bring your precious baby home for the first time, you will have nothing to worry about.
- Blankets – It is best to wash blankets on the gentle cycle in the cold setting with a laundry detergent. You can get warm and cosy snuggling up with your baby, confident that nothing is going to upset them.
- Soft Toys – It’s a breeze to keep baby’s favourite cuddle buddy clean. Place the stuffed animal in a mesh laundry bag for added protection, add your liquid laundry detergent, and wash on a gentle cycle before hanging to dry. They’ll be spotless and ready for your baby’s arrival in no time!
Can You Use a Fabric Conditioner on Baby Clothes?
A fabric conditioner is a great way to soften any bought items, and as such, it is ideal for use on newborns clothing. However, you might feel more comfortable using a hypoallergenic fabric conditioner such as Comfort Pure. This removes any risk of allergic reactions or irritating your baby skin.
Used in conjunction with a suitable detergent for newborn clothing, using a fabric conditioner can help you keep your baby clothes soft and ready to wear.
What Should You Know About Newborn Clothing?
In many cases, your baby will go through multiple outfits per day due to nappy changes, spilt breast milk or formula as you get into a feeding routine and from any spit up after feeds or when winding the baby. As a result, most parents find it easier to forgo the cute outfits that can be fiddly to put on and take off during this period and use sleepsuits only with popper buttons for comfort and ease of dressing and undressing.
Ensuring you have a supply of baby sleepsuits and vest means you can be ready for any changes your baby needs throughout the day without worrying about ruining a new outfit. Once your baby gets older and becomes more confident with your routine and dressing, you may find it better to add in outfits.
When choosing newborn clothing before your baby is born, it can be helpful to buy a variety of different sizes to take into account potential birth weight should they be early, on time or late. You can then choose with you in your hospital bag, so you are prepared for different birth weights.
Most of the time, newborn specific sizes will cover a range of different birth weights and can be suitable for babies born between 7-9lb in weight. But it is advisable to check the birth weight and size between different brands, so you have a good selection and aren’t caught short without anything to fit your newborn as much as possible.
All that is left now is to find the perfect newborn clothing for your baby to help you prepare for their arrival.