Baby clothing - what you need

Here's a guide to help you make a decision when buying clothes for your baby.
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  • Updated:22 Jul 2003

01 .Buying advice

Baby sleeping
  • Choose natural fibres wherever possible. Wool and cotton breathe and have very good insulating properties while allowing perspiration to evaporate, making them more comfortable next to the skin. Natural and synthetic mixes are also okay for most babies. Some babies’ skins tend to redden after contact with synthetic fabrics.
  • Buy plain cotton singlets for summer. You can buy a wool/cotton mix for winter if you like, but it’s not necessary.
  • Access to the nappy is important, and zips and pop fasteners are much easier than buttons. Nighties are easiest in terms of changing the nappy when you’re half asleep.
  • Clothes that button all the way up the front (and down both legs if there are legs) are the easiest option for new parents. You don’t have to pull it over your baby’s head (newborns especially don’t like this, and it can take new parents a while to get comfortable handling their baby) and the nappy can be easily accessed.
  • All-in-ones (jumpsuits/onsies) keep the baby warm and stop nappy and singlet from drifting apart. You’ll get more wear out of them if you cut the feet out when the baby gets bigger (but don’t wait until the feet begin to look squashed — small feet can be damaged very easily). You can also buy them with cuffs that can be closed over the hands and feet for warmth, or left open.
  • Boat-neck or envelope-neck pullovers or sweatshirts are easier to put on than ones with a crew neck. Jackets with press-studs or buttons at the front are another option.
  • Babies lose a tremendous amount of heat from their large heads and aren’t equipped with very efficient thermostats at first, so get at least one hat for winter outings.
  • Young babies tend to be in a pram or otherwise lying down when outside in the sun, so a sunhat won’t do much good in these situations -- and may make the baby hot. However, a sunhat is a good idea if they’re in a carrier.
  • Socks shouldn’t be tight or you might damage small feet, and avoid patterned socks; toes can get caught on the looped threads inside.
  • Children don’t need shoes until they’re walking.
  • Bibs are useful and you may get plenty as presents. In general the larger, terry-towelling ones with a velcro closure are better. Plastic-backed ones keep babies’ clothes dry when they’re dribbling constantly, during teething, for example, but may not be as absorbent. Bibs with a close-fitting crew neck aren’t as easy to get on but help prevent gunge collecting in neck folds. If you use a bib with strings, remove it before you put your baby down to sleep.

Handy hint: Avoid buying expensive things your baby will soon outgrow.


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02.Choose 'Low Fire Risk' nightclothes


All fabrics burn but some burn more readily than others, so it’s wise to buy nightclothes for your children that are either made from fabrics that are slow to burn or designed to reduce the risk of catching alight.

Look for labelling that indicates compliance with the standard AS 1249:2003 — Children's nightwear and limited daywear having reduced fire hazard, which includes a labelling scheme to indicate the fire danger.

Garments labelled "low fire danger" are relatively safe and made from fabrics that are slow to burn. Close-fitting garments such as tracksuit-type pyjamas are generally labelled "styled to reduce fire danger". "High fire danger — keep away from fire" indicates that the garment is highly flammable.


And if you make your own clothes, it’s wise to follow Standards Australia’s advice:

  • Use fabrics labelled as complying with AS 1249:2003 — Children's nightwear and limited daywear having reduced fire hazard.
  • Avoid fabrics that have a pile or nap, quilted fabrics that are more than 50 per cent cotton, linen, acetate fibre or acrylic, garments that fall below the knee (unless the fabric is safe) and long pyjamas with flared legs or arms.