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Infant Clothing: Clueless Designers or Cruel Joke on Moms?

G gets weighed in her onesie

G was born June 27, and we live in Tennessee. What that means is that for the first three months of her life, it’s been so unbearably hot that the only think I’ve dressed her in very much is cotton onesies. Now don’t get me wrong – these are CUTE cotton onesies, with little frogs and monkeys and daisies on them. But I haven’t much tried to put anything on her that I worry might even possibly allow her to overheat. So her personal style has been rather dull and predictable so far.

One good thing about the classic infant onesie is that it’s a breeze to get on and off of a squirmy 10 pound human. The fabric is soft and breathable and the only snappage you have to deal with are the three quick ones at the crotch. Easy peasy.

But a change in the temperature in the last day or two means autumn weather is nigh upon us. And that means I have to start dressing G in something more substantial than the onesies.

I do have lots of cute hand me downs from C, G’s next oldest sibling, who is only three years older, but this weekend I thought I’d do a little online shopping for some new fall and winter items for G.

Because G is my fifth child, I have honed my babyclothes shopping skills to a fine art over the years. With my first few children, I simply bought whatever looked the cutest, giving no thought whatsoever to how challenging the clothing item in question would be to actually get on and off of the baby. As a result, I often ended up with outfits that had so many snaps and ties and buttons that it they should have come with some kind of manual to explain how to connect snap A to snap B. I would put these outfits on and somehow end up with the legs buttoned or snapped wrong, leaving huge gaps.  It was a major hassle, especially when it came to middle of the night diaper changes.

I also discovered that many baby clothes don’t seem to take the baby’s own comfort into account. They would have cute appliques on them that were coarse and scratchy against the baby’s skin. Or they would have buttons up the back that meant the baby would be lying on an uncomfortable row of plastic buttons much of the time.

After a while, I decided that the people who design most baby clothes are A – childless designers who have never even touched a real infant or B – people who secretly hate babies and want to make them and their mothers as uncomfortable and inconvenienced as possible.

By babies #3 and#4, I’d adopted a  few shopping rules: all baby clothes had to be super easy to get on and off, and they had to be designed with the baby’s comfort in mind rather than just what might look cutest to me. That’s still my rule with G, but while I was surfing online over the weekend for a few new 3-6 month items for her that would meet my litmus test, I realized that 90% of baby clothes being sold today STILL have too many crazy snapping requirements or they are made of some kind of something that couldn’t possibly feel nice against a baby’s delicate skin. I would find something that looked just adorable and then click on it for a closer view only to discover that it would take a brain surgeon to get the baby in and out of the clothing item.

So I found myself falling back on my two standby fave baby clothing items for winter: the all-cotton zip-up stretchies from KidsPlace and the wonderful  and classic (but definitely kind of pricey) zip-up one-piece thingies from Hanna Anderssen. They are easy on, easy off. They wash and wear wonderfully and they work for daytime or sleep. Both of these items have never done me wrong, and I think my babies have always looked supercute in them. The Children’s Place stretchies get extra bonus points for being footed, which means I don’t have to chase down the tiny socks that babies require in cold weather but that seem to disappear in our house as soon as they come out of the package.

Yes, maybe it’s kind of dull that G will spend the fall and winter attired almost completely in these two items, but as a working mama with a passel of kids, I just don’t have time to deal with any more snaps or buttons.  I really do wonder why baby clothing designers and manufacturers don’t get a clue and start making infant clothing that’s easier to deal with and more comfortable for baby.

So what are your favorite, must-have infant clothing items for fall and winter? Tell me in the comments below and maybe I’ll expand my shopping repertoire based on your recommendations :-)

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