I'm not going to lie, when I found out I was having a girl, I was immensely excited by the dress-her-up-in-teeny-dresses possibilities. I literally couldn't wait to get out to the shops and start buying stuff (but I was really superstitious I'd have a miscarriage so I held off for as long as I could bear). Anyway, before she was even born, Miss Daph had a whole load of lovely little outfits, most of which she either wore once or... never at all.
I know that everyone knows this, but you sort of don't REALLY realise it until it's in front of you - babies grow ridiculously quickly. Like, overnight. Even though Daph was a teeny tiny 5lb baby, some of the first bits we bought her lasted only two weeks. They're now tucked away in her baby keepsake box and every now and then I get them out and stare at how small they are and sniff at the memory.
As she's grown, I've tried to hold back a bit more on buying ALL the cute outfits, because really, it's a waste of money. It's lovely to see her looking sweet and dressed up, but it's also horribly painful packing away tiny velvet dresses and beautifully embroidered cardigans that I know she only wore once. I've been putting all the stuff she's grown out of in one of those laundry-bag things from JoJo Maman and it's already full - and those bags aren't small! I don't really know what to do with all her clothes - I'm saving them in case we have a number 2 (the jury's still out on whether we'll try to do that - how do people deal with sleepless nights, a baby AND a toddler?!) but there's still far too many, and I'm considering donating a lot of them to charity and only keeping my favourites.
Anyway, in the six and a bit months since we've had her, I've learnt a few lessons when it comes to buying baby clothes. Here's my tuppence worth, to help save some of your tuppences...
- You will mostly want to dress your baby in babygrows (sleepsuits) and vests. Honestly. Trousers, skirts, tights, dungarees - all the rest of it - they're just a bit of a faff. Lovely to look at but you'll save them for 'occasion' days when you're having lunch with the family or feel you can be bothered to wrestle with baby tights after changing a nappy. The rest of the time your baby will be wearing, pooing and throwing up on babygrows. So buy more of them and less of everything else.
- My friend Emma was right about baby socks. They are a waste of time. They fall off, they get lost, they are a bit pointless (even with those sock-on things).
- All the clothes you buy should have at least three months' growth in them, or you will hate yourself. This is my new technique - buying everything slightly too big. As Daph was small when she was born, most of the clothes she had were too big and it actually didn't matter - sleeves and trouser legs can be rolled up and it makes putting things on easier as they have plenty of 'stretch' room.
- Always buy coats in the next size up. Babies hate putting on coats and the bigger they are, the easier it is for you. I stupidly bought an adorable Joules jacket for Daph in size 3-6months and it was snug even when I got it - suffice to say she grew out of it in about a week and now it just hangs on the back of her door taunting me (£30!!!)
- On the subject of coats, we've found that cardigans with hoods are WAY easier to get on and off and make good substitutes.
- Petit Bateau do the most beautiful baby clothes known to mankind but they cost an absolute fortune. Unless you have parents who regularly do booze cruises to France. In which case, tell them to pop into an hypermarché on the way home, where they can buy all the PB you desire but at half the price. ;)
- Marks & Spencer's children's clothes are absolutely bloody phenomenal. I am obsessed. The cotton is amazing quality, the designs are fun and contemporary, they are really good value (£13 for five vests!!) and they have loads of cute outfits too (if you don't have the willpower to stay away from those rails). And their babygrows have a DIFFERENT COLOUR POPPER for the confusing popper at the crotch. Genius (this will only make sense to you if you regularly popper up a baby in a sleepsuit). They also do much cheaper sleeping bags than the market-leading Grobag, with a much better way of fastening the zip too (IMO).
- JoJo Maman Bebe rule the babygrows. Yes, everyone else's baby has the pink elephants one too, but they are such lovely thick cotton and the designs are really interesting. They're not cheap at all but they do quite often do sales online, so look out for them, and if you get a loyalty card you get stamps every time you spend a certain amount that turn into £15 off once you've collected enough.
- Babies look boring in neutral tones like grey and white. Well, my baby does anyway. Bold colours and patterns are SO much cuter.
- Small babies don't need pyjamas. They sleep in sleepsuits. Clue's in the name. You'll worry about their feet getting cold otherwise.
- TK Maxx has loads of lovely baby clothes from the likes of Ralph Lauren. DEFINITELY worth a visit if you're looking for something special.
- Baby Gap stuff is as lovely as you thought it was, but eye-wateringly pricey.
So yes, that's what I've learnt about dressing babies since having my own little pudding. Anyone got any tips they'd like to share? Leave a comment below!