AND I ordered two more packages of bodysuits in size 3-6 months for poor Henry, whose mother does not seem to know how old he is and so last time ordered sizes like 6-12 and 12-18 months. And I ordered a 99-cent flag tank top for Elizabeth for next year.
Now let's turn our attention to issues other than what I am shopping for. Let's talk about what someone else is shopping for. Sarah asks for our help:
Ok, I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but can you help me figure out what a baby wears?! Currently, my 15 week old son is wearing rompers (today is his first day at daycare so I put him in what I call an outfit, but at home with me, he'd be in onesies!). That's fine. But what about when the weather is colder? He'll be about 6 months then - am I really supposed to dress him in full on outfits (pants, shirt, sweater, etc?) - who can afford that?! Do they make wintery rompers or are they just pj's. What's wrong with wearing pj's to daycare (joking...or am I?). I just spend more money than I care to admit at this Old Navy sale (all for next summer if I planned the sizing correctly - who knows) - but what I really need help with is what you dress a baby in realistically, and where I can find said clothing for not too much money (garage sale is good in theory but a lot of work for slim pickings). Resale shops are ok. Old Navy sales are great.
There are two questions here:
- Is there a baby dress code?
- Can it be met without selling my body on the streets to raise funds?
Babies can be dressed a number of different ways, from onesies/pjs around the clock up to coordinated pants/shirt/shoes/socks/hat/bib ensembles. I dress little-ittle babies in the same stuff day and night: Henry wears sleep 'n' play type outfits (footed sleeper things sold in 2-packs or 3-packs for about $10 but regularly available on sale or clearance) day and night, and I change the outfit when it needs it, not "in the morning" and "before bed."
When a baby is a little older, I start changing the baby into pajamas at night as part of the bedtime routine. At that point I usually find the baby looks "too babyish" in sleep 'n' plays, and that's when I start dressing him in soft one-piece outfits. When the baby is older still, I start dressing him in jeans/shorts/overalls and shirts.Now. How to buy the clothes without spending too much. I have changed my clothes-shopping methods over the years. When Rob was born, we lived in an area chock full of consignment shops. I could go into one and come out with a huge pile of nearly-new stuff for practically nothing. So that's basically what I did: I shopped consignment shops.
When Rob was ten months old we moved to an area without such good consignment shops. I persevered with what was available, but when Rob started needing 2T I noticed the stock dropped wayyyyy off: suddenly there were only pilly sweatpants and worn-out character t-shirts. And then William was born, and going to consignment shops with a toddler and a baby was getting rough.
Luckily, by this time I had discovered Target clearance racks. Clearance rack stuff was cheaper than consignment shop stuff, and of course it's new which is nice since it's going to end up being handmedowns (consignment shop jeans have already been worn by 1 or 2 children, so that's 1 or 2 fewer who can wear them at my house). I started buying clothes end-of-season at 75% off. It didn't always work (sometimes there wasn't much in his size or I wouldn't find the clearance until almost everything was gone), but in general I could get a nice assortment of things for Rob that way. I wasn't sure even what I liked him to wear, so I was willing to try things if they were cheap enough.
I also bought AHEAD: if I found some nice basic solid-color t-shirts at $.94 each, I'd buy them in his size 2T but also in 3T, 4T, and 5T. This helps a lot with the "nothing left in his size" problems: if you're looking three years in a row for 5T stuff, you're likely to have a nice stash by the time the child needs it. I kept boxes in his closet labeled 3T, 4T, 5T, etc., to make it easy to keep things sorted. When he went up a size, I pulled out a new box.
When Rob was in kindergarten, I opened up the next box of clothes and found he had only two long-sleeved shirts in that size. I had to scramble to find more shirts for him to wear, and that's when I started finding the fun in buying some of his stuff on sales as well as on clearances, and on more expensive store clearances: not just the $1.74 Target clearance shirt, but also the $4.99 Target sale shirt and the $6.99 Baby Gap clearance shirt. What I do now is buy a lot on clearance ahead of time, but then fill in the gaps (including the "fun to buy a few more things" gaps) with sales while the child is actually wearing that size.
When Elizabeth was born, I made a new policy for girl clothes. The policy is this: "This is the only time in my life I will be buying baby girl clothes for my own girl, and I don't want to be sorry I missed it."
I still buy things on sale, on clearance, and ahead--because I love to do that. But I buy her more than she needs, and if something is only 30% off I might still buy it, not waiting for 50% or 75% off. I've even bought a few things at *hushed tone* full price.
I think the keys to dressing a baby affordably are (1) buying clearance and (2) buying ahead. You can get a baby a cute, extensive wardrobe that way, and it's a fun shopping hobby--especially with online stores, which mean you don't have to hit the mall twice a week to keep up with deals. It's easier when the child is a little older and going up one size per year rather than one size every time you step out to get the mail.
So spill it: what does/did your baby wear, and how do/did you buy it on the cheap?