The first time you need to buy baby clothes will usually be at a new and exciting time in your life. It is also likely to be something that you are unfamiliar with- mother and baby stores are specialist places (although a larger department store will have a stock of baby clothes online). It is important, too, to get it right. Luckily, these shops tend to be pleasant and supportive environments. The staff in baby clothes shops will almost always be happy to talk things through with you.
Another source of information and advice, and perhaps the most useful of all, is other people around you who have gone through the same thing- this is when extended family networks become absolutely invaluable! One of the nice things about parenthood is that it is an experience that generations can share- your parents, if they are still around, will remember buying baby clothes for you- maybe, if you're lucky, they still have your old stuff tucked away somewhere! As long as you (and possibly your partner) can tolerate all the embarrassing anecdotes about when you were a baby, this is a plan with no drawbacks!
There are also mother and baby groups, and the like, which can be invaluable- it is a reassuring thing to share the newness of this experience with other people, and swapping tips on this can be a wonderful thing. People are always happy to share these things- new stores they have found, mail order shops, and so on and so forth. It's also a good way to make new friends at a time when you might well feel like your life is getting a little focussed on to one thing!
Here are a few further general tips to think about when buying baby clothes;
- Size; your baby is going to grow very quickly! Something that is stretchy is probably a good idea, even if it starts off a little baggy.
- Comfort; Any parent will be able to tell you that It's difficult to get a baby to sleep, and a crying baby is hard to shush! It is important (for the sake of your sleep, if nothing else!) to keep your baby happy and comfortable. With this in mind, cheaper baby clothes are sometimes something of a false economy!
- Durability: I'm not going to be the only one telling you this- babies are sometimes very messy! The clothes you put them in are going to have to stand up to repeated washing. Also, as your baby learns to crawl and get around, they will find new and interesting ways to damage clothes. Be prepared!
- Cost; as we mentioned before, a baby grows very fast. Bear in mind that you will have to replace baby clothes on a fairly regular basis as your child develops, even if they are durable. Keep an eye on charity shops, and being part of a parents' network or group may mean you can get hold of hand-me-downs, or cheap replacements.
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