Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cheap Baby Clothes Or Designer Baby Clothes?

We all want the very best of everything for our new baby daughter or son but the financial cost of having a baby can come as a big shock to new parents, especially if they don't know anyone who has already gone through the experience. Not only are there the major items to cover such as medical expenses and buying a crib, a car seat, a stroller - there are all the other things that add to the cost such as bottles, diapers, bedding for the crib, burp cloths, bibs and all the numerous other items you never realized were needed for babies. So, unless you have unlimited funds, it makes sense to economize on some items and buying cheap baby clothes makes a lot of sense.

When you make a list of the essential items of clothing you are going to need for your new baby, you will begin to realize just how many "onesies", sleep suits, socks, hats and other outfits are needed. But should you succumb the recommendations for organic or natural clothing (possibly more expensive!) or are regular products sufficient?  And once your baby is born and you settle into the day to day routine of looking after your baby, you quickly realize that while it might be nice to have designer clothes for your little one, they go through so many changes of clothes during a twenty four hour period (who knew babies could be so messy!) that designer clothes would be rather an extravagance.

Because babies grow so fast and are not very mobile during the first few months, they tend to outgrow their clothes rather than wear them out. For this reason the most practical clothes to put your baby in are all-in-one play and sleep suits. They are very comfortable for your baby to wear, which is the main criteria when choosing any infant clothes, and the design of them means that they make dressing and undressing a wriggling baby easy and the poppers make for easier diaper changing. Not only that they are among the cheapest of baby clothes you can buy and are suitable for either a girl or a boy.

As you will need a reasonable number of these items both for day and nighttime wear it is cheaper to buy them in multi packs. Take a look at the Gerber packs of short sleeved and long sleeved "onesies" that are available in places like Wal-Mart and Target starting for about $7.50 for a pack of four. You will also find multi packs of sleep suits, bibs, socks, mittens and hats at very affordable prices in these stores. It is also worth checking out other big stores like Babies R Us, JC Penney, Sears and other department stores to see what they have to offer.

Another way to save money on baby clothes is to wait until the stores have their sales. For instance after summer, when they are getting ready to introduce their winter clothes, and again after the Christmas holidays when the new spring and summer clothes are due to arrive you can often find some incredible bargains. Okay, so maybe the clothes will be last season's lines but they will still be cute and you will have got them a lot cheaper than buying them when they first come out. And don't forget to look in the paper for coupons to get even more money off your purchases.

For another great source of cheap baby clothes look in your local paper for garage or yard sales and make a note of any that specifically mention baby clothes. You can quite often pick up whole bags of nearly new and often brand new clothes for a fraction of the cost of buying them in stores. The same is true of visiting thrift stores.

However, if you really do prefer to buy new, then as well as checking out the big stores it is worth doing some research on the Internet. There are so many on-line retailers to choose from and again you will be able to buy multi packs of essential items.

So, although you may want the best for your baby, if your budget doesn't allow you to go out and buy designer outfits your little one isn't going to feel you don't care. Let's be honest, he or she is not going to know the difference between a Ralph Lauren sleep suit and a Wal-Mart own brand one! Buying cheap baby clothes makes economic sense for the parents and you can always suggest to the doting relatives and friends that they might like to buy the designer outfits for those special outings.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When Did Kids Clothes Become So Complicated?

As a parent of a baby you get to choose what newborn baby clothes to put them in whether your taste is for cute or funky, designer or cheap baby clothes. And you might expect that even when they reach the toddler stage they will be quite happy with your choice of clothes - after all, whenever you buy your baby cheap toys, they are quite happy to play with even the packaging the toy came in without complaint! But it seems that, at a much younger age than when my children were young, both girls and boys are getting definite ideas on what kid's clothes they want to wear. Even infant boy clothing and infant girl clothing can now cause headaches for unsuspecting parents!

When I think back to my own children my daughter was at least four years old before she started having definite ideas about what she would and wouldn't wear, in fact she flatly refused to wear dresses! On the other hand, my son at the same age was quite happy with whatever clothes I chose for him (except dresses!) although they were always more appealing if they depicted favorite characters such as Thomas The Tank Engine, Superman or Transformers.

Things have certainly been different with our grandson who is now four and a half years old. From about the age of two he has had very firm ideas on what clothes he wants to wear. He has always been keen on cars and vehicles and so buying clothes with pictures of those on them were always greeted with delight. One of his favorite movies was Cars and he loved having tops, socks and underwear with pictures of Lightning McQueen on them.

As he has got older and his game playing has changed so too have his favorite characters. A short time ago he was very into Ben 10 and proudly showed his Ben 10 pajamas and socks as he rushed about pretending to change into one of the figures he had seen on TV. According to his Mum he has now outgrown Ben 10 and he now wants to emulate Super Heroes such as Batman, Superman and Spiderman and save people from the "baddies". Now clothes with these action figures on are cool! How long this phase will last is anyone’s guess!

Another new interest is soccer and he now "supports" his local team Blackburn Rovers and the England national team and proudly sports the England shirt that someone bought for him. He thinks it's great because all his friends wear them too.

But it 's not just his friends who influence what he likes to wear. He also likes to get dressed up for a special occasion in a smart shirt and trousers just like Daddy. I'm not sure my son went through that phase until he was much older as he much preferred being in clothes that allowed him to rough and tumble.

Obviously my experiences are based on the relatively small sample comprising my children and grandchild, plus friends and relatives and what I see in the shops. But what do you think?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Newborn Baby Clothes, That's The Least Of Your Worries

From dressing them in newborn baby clothes to feeding them and all the way through to looking after their every single need, having your own baby brings unique physical and emotional challenges that you can't really appreciate until you have your own child. It is very very different than looking after other people's.

From the age of eleven I have been involved with babies. One of our neighbors had a baby girl and I used to go and play with her, watch her being fed, changed and bathed. As I became a teenager I used to baby-sit for neighbors and friends, a practice I continued until I got married.

Because of my love of babies and children I decided to take it up as a career. I started my working life training to be a pediatric nurse. Unfortunately because of family illness I was not able to finish my training. However, I still continued to take care of other people's babies and became adept at changing diapers, bathing them and giving a bottle. With all this experience you would think I would have been well prepared when I had my own first baby.

I certainly thought I knew enough to cope when I brought my daughter home from the hospital. Boy was I wrong. Yes I was capable of dealing with the practical aspects after all I'd looked after lots of very young babies over the years but what I hadn't factored in was the emotional side of things. It's easy to stay detached and cope when you don't have the responsibility of the baby twenty four seven but totally different when you are the mom and dad.

After giving birth you suddenly realize that this tiny, helpless miracle is wholly dependent on you for everything and you obviously want to make sure that you do things right. The first big hurdle comes with the first feeding time. If you are breastfeeding you have to learn how to do it right to avoid frustration for both you and your baby. But even if you are bottle feeding you have to learn how to make up the formula, and the best way to hold your baby to ensure they don't take in too much air when they are sucking.

Diaper changing is much easier these days especially if you use disposable diapers. When I had my children in the 1970s we used cloth diaper squares and even though I knew the different ways to fold them to fit the baby it somehow seemed a lot different now it was my baby. I was scared I might damage the umbilical stump or prick her with the pin, things I had never worried about before.

The same was true when it came to bathing her for the first time. I was worried I'd let her slide under the water or that I'd drop her when I was lifting her out of the bath. And was I too rough when drying her and was I making sure that she was properly dry so she wouldn't get a rash or chapped skin?

And how much harder is it to comfort a crying baby when you are tired and have no idea why she is crying having fed her, changed her, winded her and cuddled her? The more upset and frustrated you get the more that transmits through to this screaming bundle and it seems to become a vicious circle.

I am happy to say that I very soon became as competent caring for my baby as I had been when caring for other peoples children. It was far easier the second time around as you know more what to expect and you realize you are going to make mistakes but they usually turn out okay.

The feeling of wanting to be the perfect parent and get it right all the time never goes away even when your child is grown up and has a family of their own. When I look at my grown up family today and see what they have achieved I realize we did a pretty good job. And buying newborn baby clothes was the easy bit!