Remember that the baby grows very fast and soon outgrows his clothes. The baby clothe should be soft and comfortable as the baby’s skin is very delicate and can easily get chaffed.
The old Indian custom of using old clothes for the baby is a very sensible one. The frocks and vests should be easy to put on and take off, and open from the back to avoid their getting soaked with urine.
The buttons should not poke the baby in any position. Napkins should be soft but absorbant, and the size should be such that they serve the purpose for which they are meant. Triangular napkins have very limited utility. A square napkin (size ¾ metre by ¾ metre) folded diagonally is much more useful. The extra fold goes at the back in the case of a girl, and in front in the case of a boy.
A sleeping bag is useful and can be made out of flannelette or cotswool. It keeps the baby warm and you do not spend sleepless nights wondering whether he has crawled out from under the blanket.
A cot is necessary for the baby. A carry-cot made of plastic or cane is also handy for taking the baby out (instead of carrying him), and the baby can sleep in it for the first 3-4 months.
Clothes should be comfortable, easy to put on and take off, should not be tight; nor should the child be swimming in them. They should be easy to wash and iron. The colours should be such as not to run.
It is best to have cotton next to the skin. Vests should be made of soft cotton, with convenient tapes or small press buttons.
The neck should fit snugly and should not be tight. Nylon and other synthetic material should be avoided for small children.
Tight elastic in the sleeves, panties or socks can compress the tissues and cause swelling of the arm or the foot. Tight elastic in panties can lead to abdominal pain, and even vomiting. The child may want to pass urine more frequently.
Sweaters should open in front or along the shoulders. The wool should be soft, and not hairy. The hair may irritate the baby’s skin and even get into his mouth or nose.
Towelling is very convenient. Zippers and buttons on pants should be such that they do not hurt the child’s genitalia. If a zipper is pulled up carelessly, his skin may get caught in it.
Clothes should never be a deterrent to a child’s play and enjoyment. They must be neat, not fussy or expensive, and not too many. They must fit well to make the child look smart. Over-clothing is as bad as under-clothing.
Care should be taken, to change the napkin frequently, so that the wet napkin is not left on for any length of time. This not only leads to unpleasant smell but to napkin rash as well, which can be a great nuisance.
All clothes should be washed at home and dried on a line or washing stand. They should not be spread on the grass or on the hedge. This is a preventive against skin infection.
Napkins and sheets should be dried in the sun as far as possible, because the sun acts as a disinfectant.
The napkins soiled with stool should be kept apart from those soiled with urine. After cleaning the stool off and washing, these can be mixed with other napkins. This is much more hygienic.
Napkins may be boiled once or twice a month to keep them looking white and clean.