If you're a first-time parent, shopping for a baby can seem overwhelming! It can involve a large outlay and you don't want to waste your money buying products that won't last the distance, are awkward or difficult to use, or don't fit with your lifestyle. This is where it pays to ask for help. Check with other mums on the layette items they found most useful and, perhaps more importantly, which ones they'd avoid in future!
Here are a few of the tips from the OHbaby! team that we hope will help you buy well:
1 Buy bigger because baby will grow into larger garments. And once you have a drawerful of tiny outfits, keep checking back to see if they fit yet because, before you know it, baby will have outgrown them!
2 Accept hand-me-downs from friends and family or look for bulk lots of basics on TradeMe.
3 Indulge in a few gender-specific items if you like, but if you buy most of your layette in gender-neutral colours you'll be able to reuse them for future babies.
4 You'll be amazed at how much washing someone so small creates, so go for easycare machine-washable clothing. Merino is machine-washable in many cases and can be just as useful in summer as in winter, as it's a light, breathable fabric.
5 Swaddling blankets are great not only for swaddling, but to help you feed your baby discreetly when you're out and about in public. Our favourites are the Aden & Anais swaddling cloths, which are robust but soft and wash and wear well.
6 Many babies get upset when tops are being pulled over their heads. You may find cardigans that fasten at the front an easier option than a jersey.
7 Chances are many of you had a fat cloth nappy on your own derrière when you were small. These days there are Modern Cloth Nappies which serve that purpose so much more effectively and easily, but there's still a place for the old-fashioned version.
Buy yourself a pack and you'll be amazed how handy they are - they can be a changing mat or a burping cloth. Pop one on top of baby's bottom sheet and it makes bed-changing so much easier if baby spills.
8 Bassinet blankets are also a great double-up - they're the perfect size for a car seat or pram blanket.
9 Onesies, stretch-n-grows or bodysuits - whatever you choose to call them, the ones you want to look for will have easy-to-fasten domes or a safety zip. Check the fabric quality around the domes because that can be where the fabric pulls, causing holes.
10 Sleeping bags are a must for keeping a child cosy at bedtime, especially when he's in the phase of kicking off the bedclothes. For quality that'll last and last, you can't go past the Merino Kids Go Go bag.
11 Babies can't walk - so they don't need shoes. You can happily get by in the first few months with socks and bootees. Grandma's hand-knitted bootees are a nice touch, but depending on the style, they're not the most reliable for staying on. If you want bootees that will keep those little tootsies toasty then we recommend bootees from Dimples, which are renowned for staying on.
12 There are pros and cons of leggings and stretch-n-grows with "feet" built in. On the plus side, you don't have to worry about lost socks but that said, the footless options will last longer as baby grows.
13 Once your baby has outgrown swaddling, he may tend to sleep with his arms flung out wide. This means in the colder months he may need little mittens and possibly a cross-over merino top to keep his top section warm.
14 Always wash new baby clothes before use. Lots of manufacturers treat clothing with chemicals so they don't wrinkle or attract mildew before they reach the shops. Babies' skin is super sensitive so it's best to wash these chemicals out plus any dye residues that linger.
15 As you'll see in our shopping guide, we have added a bassinet to the must-have list. To some this could be a nice-to-have, but the OHbaby! team all really liked having baby sleeping safely in Mum and Dad's room for the first couple of months at least. So that explains our friendly endorsement!
Some layette lists include an entire nursery fit-out - everything from bibs to bras to breast pumps. However, we're sticking to the more traditional definition of layette - a complete set of articles, including clothing and bedclothes for a newborn.
We've broken down the list into the must-haves and the nice-to-haves. Click on the image below to download and print. Armed with that it's time to go forth and shop!
Then comes a simple pleasure - the careful and meticulous washing, folding and putting away of tiny clothes in preparation for baby's arrival.