A layette is a collection of clothes and bedding for a new baby. In the past, women would have hand-sewn everything the baby would need during pregnancy, a craft most of us have lost in modern times.
When you are shopping for your newborn, it’s helpful to know what is useful to buy and what you can do without.
What to wear
• Cotton vests that close with snappers at least 6-7
• Sleep suits you will need at least three or four and/or nighties with drawstrings at the bottom.
• A soft hat or bonnet to wear outside, if your baby is born in winter, or a wide brimmed sunhat for a summer baby.
• A soft blanket or two to wrap and cuddle your baby in.
• An all-in-one warm suit is also useful if your baby is born in winter. It can be worn over a sleep suit and is perfect when going outside.
• A cardigan or two to provide an extra layer. Cardigans are better than sweaters because small babies tend not to like having clothes pulled over their heads.
What to sleep in
• Cotton crib sheets and cellular blankets.
• Muslin squares are great for cleaning up baby sick and can be used as a soft surface for the baby’s head to sleep on in the stroller or cot. Buy lots of them!
• A couple of small towels or special baby towels with hoods on them are useful for bath time.
Make sure everything you buy is machine-washable! Where possible, try and buy everything in 100 per cent cotton. Eczema is more common than you think. Many of the fleecy polyester jackets and blankets can make a baby too hot and irritate his skin. Keep all your receipts and buy a mixture of sizes — have a couple of newborn outfits ready but remember, your baby will outgrow these quickly and may be born larger than you think. If you buy an outfit for a baby aged 3-6 months, bear in mind that it may be a different season by the time your baby wears it.
Remember to wash everything you buy before use in non-biological washing powder, to avoid irritating your young baby’s sensitive skin.
Buy the basics before your baby is born and put aside some money to buy some more later. Friends and family are likely to buy clothes as presents and it’s easy to end up with far too many first-size clothes, which may never be worn. This is the reason that baby clothes are such good value at nearly new sales.