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Guidelines for clothing for babies

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 2:00 pm | By Stephanie Woo

When choosing clothing for children, it is important to consider it from many angles.

1. How does it affect their physiological functions, such as respiratory system, circulatory system and digestive system?

Make sure the clothing is not too tight around the waist and does not pinch them around the arm and leg hole. Babies grow fast, they can be a different size from one day to the next, so have several pant sizes ready. When diapering, do not fasten it so tightly around the baby’s waist that it blocks the belt channel, as mentioned in Chinese medicine. Let the qi flow.

2. How does it affect the way they move – does a particular piece of clothing make moving possible?

This point is critical. Never EVER put your baby/toddler in jeans or jean jackets. The material is so stiff it makes it impossible for children to move in them.

100% cotton onesies are the best for babies over 2-3 months. Unless they are going out for a special occasion, I recommend you put your baby in a 100% cotton onesie 95% of the time, especially when they are learning to crawl and pull up.

3. What is the climate – do we need to protect their skin from the heat, cold or insects?

I’ve seen many mothers from Asia bundle up their babies in so many layers the poor little thing cannot move at all!

4. What kind of fiber will we choose? Is it soft? Does it have uncomfortable seams?

Animal fibers, like wool, down and silk, are very warm for young children but much more difficult to care for than vegetable fiber. It is recommended that all clothing that touches the skin be made of vegetable fibers. They require a little extra care because of shrinkage issues but they are very soft, natural and breathable next to a baby’s skin. If you are so inclined, green cotton that hasn’t been treated is also available. Technological fibers (rayon, polyester, nylon, fleece, acrylic) are very easy to care for – just throw them in the washing machine. But they do not breathe and it is difficult to get odor and stain out of them. For years, parents dressed their children in polyester because it is so easy to care for, but now we know that technological fibers are not good for children. If money is a concern, a good balance would be dressing the child in clothes made of vegetable fibers if the clothing will touch the child’s skin whereas outerwear can be made of technological fiber.

5. What color?

Many clothes are dyed with bad stuff, so newborns, especially, should be dressed in white or light colors.

6. What style?

For example, when buying onesies, does it fit the trunk of the baby? Babies with long trunks or short trunks have different needs.

Brooke wears 18-24 month old clothes now (she is 8 months old). The arm hole and leg hole are all a bit big on her, the length of the trunk is just right, so we dress her so this way to ensure she is comfortable all around.

7. How many pieces should I have for each age?

To be discussed later, but with twins, the answer is A LOT.

8. Is it easy to care for?

Ask yourself, will it shrink? Are the buttons well-fastened or will it fall off?

Remember, do not wash baby clothes with adult clothes. Wash them in separate loads. If you are using cloth diapers, wash them separately from baby’s clothes. I recommend using a baby detergent, like Drelft, or any detergent that is free of fragrance, dyes, etc. (Seventh Generation, All for sensitive skin)

The best toys for exploration

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 9:26 am | By Stephanie Woo

Whenever possible, buy toys that are made of wood, rubber, metal or textile. They have distinctive feels and excellent for exploration. Give the child the best examples of what our world has to offer. Just found these things around the house to give to the kids as toys: wooden button, short honey dipper, 4 jingle bells tied together with a 1/2″ ribbon, two piece of cloth sewn together and filled with brown rice. Cut down on the plastic toys. If you must give them plastic, at least make sure it is high-quality plastic.

from left: honey dipper, rubber protrusion ball, two pieces of cloth sewn together with rice inside, basket to hold all three

Do not put your baby in a standing position

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 8:42 am | By Stephanie Woo

Babies love to sit. They love to stand even more. Parents will put babies in those positions because they look adorable AND it seems to make the baby very happy.

Babies love to stand because they get to see the world from a completely different point of view. However, there are several reasons not to do this before they’re ready.

1. Babies who stand before they’re ready can be bow-legged. Putting them in the standing positions is also problematic for their developing spine. The same goes for sitting. When you put a baby in a sitting position, if they fall forwards or backwards, it means they are not ready to be sitting. Don’t let them stay in that position for long. Bumbo seats are designed to keep baby in sitting positions before they are ready, do not put your baby in one of those. It is detrimental to their development.

2. Holding your baby up to stand or putting them in contraptions that keep them in those positions, like the walkers, are very bad for your baby. Children who are put in those contraptions tend to move on to the next movement milestone (sitting, crawling, pulling up, walking) LATER because they don’t have the motivation to learn to do those things on their own. Even more importantly, they don’t develop the proper cause and effect, “When I do this, I get to see this.” Instead, they don’t need to do anything and they get to see the world from the point of a view of someone sitting or standing. It skews their understanding of their body and movement – which is something they spend so much time exploring and learning the first couple years of life.

So help them develop the proper cause and effect of movement.  Be patient with them. Allow them to reach the stage where they can pull up to stand on their own. The joy and confidence they develop when they can finally do it by themselves is a priceless gift you can give them.