Parents of a newborn baby may not spend a lot of time thinking about clothes until the day arrives to bring the baby home. And in cases of full-term pregnancy, it is not uncommon for parents to have already received a large volume of bodysuits, sleep suits, and other baby clothing from friends and relatives who want to contribute. But as with most things related to infant birth, parents of premature babies are in a unique position. Clothes designed for full-term babies tend to be much too large and not accommodating enough for smaller children with medical needs.
In light of the baby clothes dilemma faced by parents of preterm children, the internet has been a real lifesaver. Parents can now go online and find just about everything they need with a few clicks of the mouse. Just use your favourite search engine to search the term 'premature baby clothes' and you'll instantly have more results than you know what to do with. It then becomes a matter of shopping for the right pieces just as you would any other kind of merchandise.
Hospitals do a great job at assisting parents and their premature children. While your baby remains in the hospital, it may be that his or her healthcare team prefers to use clothing designed specifically for premature babies rather than sleep suits and bodysuits you provide. This is understandable. Your child's healthcare team is primarily focused on creating a positive medical outcome for your baby; the clothes your baby wears are less important.
Throughout the UK, numerous charities supply local hospitals with premature baby clothing. Most of these charities pass along clothing donations they receive from parents alongside custom-made pieces their volunteers have put together on their own. These wonderful charities could use your support as well. Once your baby has outgrown his or her premature clothes, why not consider donating them to one of these very important charities?
When it's time to bring the baby home, a charity may have some clothing they can provide through your hospital. If not, you will probably spend some time online shopping for clothes in the days and weeks before your baby's homecoming.
A premature baby needs the same kind of clothes a full-term baby would need: bodysuits, sleep suits, vests, hats, mitts, etc. The primary difference with premature babies is size. This is also where the biggest challenge comes in. You have to buy items that will fit your baby but also provide a little bit of room to grow so you don't go bankrupt every time your child's wardrobe needs to be updated.
As you shop, you will discover that the best way to determine size is to go by weight. Parents of full-term babies sometimes purchase clothing items based on age, but weight is a better measurement for preterm babies. There are four primary categories used by manufacturers and retailers for preterm babies:
Once the baby reaches 7.5 to 8 pounds, he or she is considered, in terms of size, a newborn. From there, parents can continue purchasing based on weight or age (in months).
Parents should note that babies grow more in the first 12 to 16 months than at any other point in their lives. The growth in some babies happens so rapidly that new clothes have to be purchased every few weeks. This may or may not be the case with your premature baby. Depending on how quickly your child passes through the stages of early development, you may need new clothes more slowly or quickly than other parents. The important thing to remember is not to compare your baby to someone else's.
Keep in mind while shopping for your premature baby that comfort and warmth are high priorities. Of course, you want to purchase from retailers who carry reputable brands you can trust. Name brand clothing is more likely to be of higher quality that will make caring for your baby easier.
Brand and quality issues aside, here are some things you should look for when shopping:
If parents have trouble finding what they need online, hospital staff and midwives are there to point them in the right direction. Should you have any questions, please don't be afraid to ask. There are plenty of people who want to help you provide proper care for your premature baby, from the moment of birth through homecoming day and beyond.
Finding premature baby clothes is just one of the things you will have to do as a new parent. Don't let it be something that creates a lot of stress. There are enough retail choices out there that you should be able to find what you need without a lot of fuss. Once purchased, you will be able to concentrate on other important matters.