6 Baby Clothing Hacks for First-Time Parents
At first glance, it may seem that all baby clothing serves the same purpose: to keep baby snug, safe and ready for a photo op. While that’s true, it’s important to look beyond the funny sayings and eye-catching patterns for multifunctional pieces and features from Carter’s that will also make your life easier. After all, you have a lot on your hands, and you don’t need to pile on more dirty laundry. So here are six things to keep in mind when it comes to shopping for and maintaining baby’s wardrobe.
1. Opt for sleeper gowns overnight.
When it’s time to dress baby for sleep, choose something soft and warm that’s also quick to adjust for a late-night diaper change. (After all, who wants to fumble around with snaps when you’re already sleep-deprived?) A [sleeper gown](http://www.carters.com/carters-baby-girl-little-baby-basics/V_126G707.html?dwvar_V 126G707_size=3M&cgid=carters-baby-girl-little-baby-basics&dwvar_V 126G707_color=Color#start=77&cgid=carters-baby-girl-little-baby-basics) is the easy-access solution you’ve been looking for: The cinched hem keeps baby’s feet enclosed, while the foldover cuffs prevent baby from accidentally scratching their face.
2. Keep bibs where baby eats.
Feeding, whether by breast or bottle, is always a little messy. But once baby can sit in a high chair and eat solids independently, things can get out of hand (and on that clean new shirt) pretty quickly. Rather than scrambling to find a [bib](http://www.carters.com/carters-baby-neutral-little-baby-basics/V_126G905.html?cgid=carters-baby-neutral-little-baby-basics&dwvar_V 126G905_size=OSZ&dwvar_V 126G905_color=Color#start=55&cgid=carters-baby-neutral-little-baby-basics) once you’ve already secured baby in the chair, place an adhesive hook on the back to store bibs within arm’s reach at all times. We guarantee you’ll do less laundry.
3. Take coats off in the car.
Bundling baby up in a [jacket](http://www.carters.com/carters-baby-girl-jackets-and-outerwear/V_127G684.html?dwvar_V 127G684_size=12M&cgid=carters-baby-girl-jackets-and-outerwear&dwvar_V 127G684_color=Color#prefn1=filterNavLevel3b&prefv1=New+Arrival&navID=header&start=1&cgid=carters-baby-girl-jackets-and-outerwear) is necessary to stay warm during the winter, but when it’s time to get in a car, it’s all about safety first. That means removing bulky outerwear before hitting the road. Puffer jackets (and even windbreakers) may seem like they’d provide a good buffer between baby and car seat straps, but the opposite is actually true: They can get in the way, making the straps seem more secure than they actually are. So take off baby’s outer layers before buckling up, and use a [plush blanket](http://www.carters.com/carters-baby-baby-neutral-blankets/V_D06G210.html?dwvar_V D06G210_color=Color&dwvar_V D06G210_size=OSZ#q=plush%2Bblanket&prefn1=websiteBrand&prefv1=carters&start=1) over the car seat restraints instead.
4. Look for bodysuits with expandable shoulders.
Without getting into nitty-gritty details, let’s just say it’s cleaner for everyone—and everything—if you change baby postblowout by removing a bodysuit from the shoulders down, rather than over the head. Although snap buttons simplify most diaper changes, when it comes to switching outfits, the extra shoulder fabric is there for a reason. It makes it easier to lower an outfit over baby’s body to change clothes faster with minimal fabric stretching.
5. Choose zippers for every day.
For baby’s day-to-day clothing where function is most important, look for pieces that can easily transition throughout the day, whether it’s naptime, tummy time or mealtime. The simple solution? Stock up on cotton [Sleep & Play](http://www.carters.com/carters-baby-neutral-little-baby-basics/V_115G368.html?cgid=carters-baby-neutral-little-baby-basics&dwvar_V 115G368_color=Color&dwvar_V 115G368_size=3M#prefn1=filterNavLevel3b&prefv1=New+Arrival&navID=header&start=4&cgid=carters-baby-neutral-little-baby-basics) outfits. These breathable, zip-up one-pieces are a quick way to get baby dressed and undressed. Plus, they’re outfitted with a fabric safety tab to prevent the zipper from irritating baby’s neck or chin. Bonus tip: Choose ones with built-in footies and you won’t even have to deal with socks.
6. Get mesh bags—doing laundry without them is a wash.
Keeping pairs of adult socks together is tricky enough, but tiny baby booties? Forget about it. Baby’s outfits will occasionally call for [socks](http://www.carters.com/carters-baby-boy-socks/V_CR03254.html?cgid=carters-baby-boy-socks&dwvar_V CR03254_size=0-3&dwvar_V CR03254_color=Color#navID=header&start=1&cgid=carters-baby-boy-socks), and reuniting a matching pair after doing a load of laundry is often a lost cause. Buy a few zippered mesh laundry bags to sort things like socks and items with Velcro closings (like bibs and swaddles). Keeping these troublemakers separate will prevent pulls and snags and make sorting and folding laundry that much easier.