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Tips for Dressing Newborns

I almost forgot how awkward it can be to dress and change clothes on a newborn. It is certainly much different than a toddler who can help get dressed! I felt more at ease this time than when Rissa was a baby, but still… they are so little and you try to be gentle. I learned a few tricks that made dressing babies easier and hopefully they’ll help you too!

tips for dressing newborns

Xander in his Niteo Organic kimono style onesie.

Tips for dressing newborns

  • Keep outfits simple such as footed one pieces and bodysuits with pants or leggings. No matter how cute that three piece suit is, you’ll hate it when trying to strip it off without getting poo everywhere after a poopslosion blows out the back of baby’s diaper. Trust me.
  • Find clothing with wide open necks (you’ll see them overlap a bit on the shoulders) or open in the front (kimono style).
  • Lay open clothing down, then baby on top of it.
  • Reach into sleeves and pant legs to find baby’s hands and feet to gently pull them through.
  • For over the head shirts, place thumbs inside the bottom opening and gather the material in your hands until you can hook your fingers into the neckline. Gently pull over the top of baby’s head. It may help to slightly elevate baby with one hand as you start it or to lift his head and slip the shirt donut behind his head.
  • For footed outfits where the zipper or snaps only go down one leg (usually the left), put the right leg in first.
  • In warmer weather, dress baby light. In colder weather dress baby in one more layer than you would wear.

Along with these tips, I’ve found that I prefer snaps over zippers. I dislike pulling clothes over baby faces because their heads often get stuck and the get scared. My least favorite are the rompers with snaps in the diaper area but not down the middle. It’s not very fun trying to pull it down over their face, shoulders and body while they are laying on their back!

I also try to avoid clothing with tags since they can irritate baby’s skin. When I can I like to get organic outfits like the ones at Niteo Collection. I love how soft organic cotton clothing feels and they seem thicker. They stand up to frequent laundering better in my opinion and I know it’s gentle against delicate newborn skin.

What are your tips for dressing/undressing squirmy babies?

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Disclosure: We received clothing items from Niteo Collection’s baby line to facilitate our review.

Annette Broxton

Monday 25th of February 2013

I am not the mom, just the nana, but I feel like a kid with mine. I love the snaps!and I also love the pullover gowns, (old school~LOL)

Darcy Zalewski

Wednesday 27th of February 2013

I have some of the gowns too! Those are so nice for late night changes.

Ellen Christian

Wednesday 20th of February 2013

I agree! Snaps are so much easier! I always worried I would pinch mine with zippers.

Kathy Damron

Tuesday 19th of February 2013

Primarily something that is easy on/easy off! Nothing like trying to wrangle something with a lot of buttons or some silliness onto a wiggly baby!


Tuesday 19th of February 2013

I also look for soft material - not only in the tags, but in the outfit itself. No matter how cute it is, if the material feels "stiff" "hard" or "scratchy" to me as I touch it, I don't choose that outfit. I also try to avoid outfits that have lots of detail around the neckline, babies seem to be perpetually "squished" down into their shirts, and it looks uncomfortable (to me anyway, maybe they are perfectly happy!) to have a lacy ruffle, or big applique smashed into their neck and chin. Thanks for the info about Niteo - I had not heard of them, I will be checking them out.

MrsJoseph Heitzenrater

Tuesday 19th of February 2013

You and I seem to be of one mind about dressing newborns! I would add one point to your advice about pulling clothes over baby's head, though.

Instead of pulling straight down from the top of their face to the bottom of their chin, start by putting the neck opening around the top back of baby's head then sliding forward/down until it's approximately where a hat would sit (imagine a circle going around their head from the forehead, behind their ears, to the lower back of their head, and back to the front). Then, when the shirt or outfit is in this position, swiftly (but gently!) pull the bunched-up cloth down across their face while holding it out a bit from their skin so they don't feel smothered. Voila!

Darcy Zalewski

Tuesday 19th of February 2013

You described it better than me! That's what I pictured (and do). :)