Clothing concerns

When you're buying clothes for your newborn, choose a 3-month size or larger so that the baby doesn't immediately outgrow them. In general, look for soft, comfortable clothing that's washable. Select sleepwear that's labeled flame resistant or flame retardant, which can be either a synthetic fiber or cotton treated with flame-retardant chemicals. Avoid buttons, which are easily swallowed, and ribbons or strings, which can cause choking. Don't buy garments with drawstrings, which can catch on objects and strangle a child.

Because you'll likely be changing your baby's clothing several times a day, or at least changing diapers, make sure the outfits are uncomplicated and open easily. Look for garments that snap or zip down the front and the legs, have loosefitting sleeves and are made of stretchy fabric.

During the first few weeks, babies are often wrapped in receiving blankets. This keeps them warm, and the slight pressure around the body seems to give most newborns a sense of security.

Dress for the weather

New parents sometimes overdress their infants. A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in the same number of layers that you would feel comfortable wearing. Unless it's hot outside, you might put the baby in an undershirt and diaper, covered by pajamas or a dressing gown, and wrapped in a receiving blanket. In hot weather — over 75 F — a single layer of clothing is appropriate, but a cover is needed when the baby is in air conditioning or near drafts.

Remember that your baby's skin will sunburn easily. If you're going to be outside for any length of time, protect your baby's skin with clothing and a cap. Keep the baby in the shade to avoid overexposure to the sun. You can use sunblock after your baby is 6 months old, but don't rely on it as the baby's only sun protection. Babies don't sweat easily and can become overheated.

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