It's fun and exciting to pick out a special outfit for your baby to wear when you bring him or her home from the hospital. With all the cute baby clothes out there, the choice may not be easy, though! Here are some tips for choosing a coming home outfit for baby that is comfortable, travels well and photographs well.
Consider the Season
Infants need to wear one additional layer of clothing over what adults would wear, except when it's very hot. Think about what season it will be when baby arrives, and plan the type of outfit accordingly. If you'll need to be outside in the cold, baby's going home outfit should fit inside a fleece coat or suit, and you should have a warm hat, as well. If it's hot, a single layer of clothing is fine, but you may still want to buy a coordinating sun hat or shade blanket to protect your baby's skin.
Comfort is Key
Newborns have sensitive skin, so look for soft, breathable fabrics and stretchy arm, leg and neck openings. If elastic is used to gather the openings, make sure it's not too tight, and that there's a layer of fabric between baby's skin and the elastic, to avoid irritation. Make sure snaps and buttons are attached well and won't scratch baby. While it's normal to want to dress your baby up in something fancy for the trip home, remember that overly fussy dress clothes often aren't comfortable, so don't be swayed by the ruffles and grown-up details if the clothes aren't also soft and comfy.
Check Sizes Carefully
Many parents try to buy baby clothes in slightly bigger sizes in hopes that their baby will be able to wear the special clothes for a longer time. This is a great strategy when baby is a bit older, but for newborns, remember that a few pounds can make a big difference in how clothes fit and look. Buying bigger sizes will likely make your newborn look like he or she is swimming in that special outfit. Look at the weight ranges on the sizing tags and go by those rather than age ranges whenever possible. Compare clothing brands in the store to see if your favorite one seems to run big or small.
Easy On, Easy Off
You would think that all baby clothes manufacturers would make their clothes easy to fit on actual babies, but that's not really the case. Sometimes the openings intended for baby's head are only big enough for a foot, or snap openings don't extend far enough to do any good. Look for head openings that are very stretchy or that get wider with snaps or buttons. Don't forget that a few diaper changes may be necessary, so look for snap openings at the bottom or outfits that are easy to remove entirely. Double check that the clothing is machine washable, too.
Basic is Best for Baby
On baby's tiny body, clothes with lots of details and huge adornments tend to look out of place. Simple clothes in solid colors or fairly low-key patterns tend to look best on newborns. These types of outfits also tend to photograph well, so baby will be ready to smile (or snooze) for the cameras on the way home, too.
Carry a Spare
Unfortunately, babies don't understand the importance of your carefully selected coming home outfit, so it's possible that one of baby's first messes may land all over it before you get out the door to go home. It's a good idea to have a second choice outfit ready to go just in case the first gets soiled. This is also good practice for the next few years - you'll likely need to carry spare clothes for baby all the way through potty training.
If you're driving home from the hospital with your new baby, any special outfits will need to be able to fit in baby's car seat. Very long dresses or sleep sack-type outfits that would need to be bunched up in order to buckle the car seat may not be a good idea. You don't want to have lots of extra fabric bunched under the car seat harness or behind your baby, for comfort and safety reasons. If it's very cold, consider putting baby in the car seat and then tucking a warm blanket over the top of the harness, or else put baby in a thin fleece suit. Don't use thick snowsuits in a car seat.