Finding baby clothes that suit preemies are not easy. There are different factors to consider before selecting clothes for premature babies. One must consider these 10 tips to choose clothes for premature babies, as preemie clothes have to satisfy some extra needs.
Not all the department or discount stores stock preemie clothes that fit well the baby who come early. However, many online sites like miniklub stock a range of premature baby clothes. This makes choosing clothes for premature babies easy .You can order from home and take the delivery from your doorstep. Easy, convenient and specific.
When Can A Preemie Wear Clothes?
It depends on how premature the baby is. Micro preemies (babies born before 26 weeks gestation or weighing less than 1 kg) will have very delicate skin. They, therefore, take weeks before they are ready to wear clothes.
At the same time, you don’t have to wait until the baby gets out of the incubator to make them wear clothes. Actually a baby in NICU who becomes strong and healthy enough to wear clothing is considered a milestone. The NICU team will intimate when the baby is ready to wear clothes.
Usually, the NICU team permits the baby to wear clothes when:
- The health of the baby is stable. Until then, the NICU team needs to get quick access to the baby’s body. Therefore, the chest and front part of the baby needs to be bare
- The baby’s skin is developed enough to wear clothes
- The IV line in the umbilical cord is removed
Babies in the incubator also will be connected to wires and tubes and machines. It is important to monitor their vital signs and they may as well need support for feeding and respiration.
Therefore, the basic principle when it comes to choosing clothes for premature babies is to choose ones that won’t interfere with the various wires and tubes which are connected to the baby.
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7 Tips To Choose Clothes For Premature Babies
There are many aspects to consider while choosing clothes for premature babies.
1. Select clothes that provide easy access to all parts of the baby’s body
When a premature baby is in NICU, the nurse usually makes the baby wear a nappy and hat so that the NICU team can have quick access to various body parts of the preemie. You have to keep this in mind while buying clothes for the premature baby.
The clothes you choose should accommodate various wires and tubes that will be connected to the baby in NICU. At the same time, the baby should be comfortable. Clothes with soft hoop-and-loop fastenings are ideal for premature babies. This permits the NICU team to perform all the necessary tests and checkups without difficulty.
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While choosing clothes for premature babies, you can choose clothes with additional opening options on the shoulder or sides along with the front. This not only permits you to make the baby wear and remove the dress without disturbing the tubes but also provides easy access to wires and tubes.
Some preemie clothing available in the specialty stores will have special tags saying designed for NICU. Fully front open designs are also available. This will not disturb the central lines connected to the baby and are ideal for premature babies.
2. Select machine washable clothes
When it comes to preemie clothes, it is always ideal to select machine washable. This is because before every time you make the baby wear the clothes they should be sterilized by washing at a high temperature. Washing at a high temperature will help to get rid of any dust or impurities in the clothes.
It is also important to use a detergent that is formulated to wash baby clothes. Dye-free and fragrance-free hypoallergenic detergents can be used to wash the preemie’s clothes. Also, place the clothes in a smoke-free environment.
The skins of premature babies are highly sensitive. Their respiratory system will be highly delicate. Strong smells or harsh chemicals can bring about allergic reactions. Likewise, never use dryer sheets or fabric softeners in the baby’s clothes
3. Premature babies do not need a big wardrobe
Preemies grow and transform fast. Thanks to the extra care and nourishment given to them. Therefore, stocking too many dresses for them is not a good idea. Instead, buy different kinds of minimal clothes that the baby needs to pass this phase.
You can ask the nurses in NICU about the types of clothes to buy for your preemie. Because even for preemies the needs will be different depending on their gestational age and health issues.
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Even micro-preemie clothes differ from preemie clothes in some aspects. Buying the appropriate cloth is very important. But, there is no need to buy a lot of micro-preemie cloths, as the baby grows out of this size pretty fast.
Therefore, with the help of a nurse plan to buy a few important items that will keep the baby comfortable. Although, you can easily find preemie sized clothes in many stores and online, not all the preemie clothes suits all premature babies.
4. Clothes for premature babies should cater to basic needs
Many factors like the size of the baby, health condition, types of medical equipment the baby needs, etc. play a role in what type of preemie clothes the baby can wear. Once the preemies are home, you do not need to focus on NICU friendly features.
However, still, you should stick on to buying quality clothes that fit specific to preemies. Buying clothes that cover basic needs is the key when it comes to choosing clothes for premature babies.
Here are some basic clothes to buy for the preemies:
Premature babies tend to pull the wires and tubes attached to them. They also tend to scratch their face. Therefore, it is important to include anti-scratch and extubation (pulling and removing tubes) mittens while choosing clothes for premature babies.
The preemie should wear mittens especially if the baby is wearing the dress without fold over the cuffs. Mittens help to keep the preemie’s face free of scratch.
There are vests designed for preemies in an incubator. Many of these vests are adjustable and machine washable. They also accommodate various tubes and wires. They generally are front open, like this one and allow for easy access to body parts.
Preemies’ head has a relatively large surface area and if not properly covered lots of heat will be lost in a very short time. It is always important to maintain the body temperature of preemies as they have no control over their body heat.
In an incubator the baby might not need a hat as one of the purposes of an incubator is to maintain body temperature. But when they are taken out for kangaroo care, it is important to make the baby wear a hat that suits his head.
When the kangaroo care helps to maintain the body temperature of the baby through the skin to skin contact, a little hat on his head prevent heat loss through the heat. This increases the effect of skin to skin contact.
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Regular baby clothes
When the preemie starts to grow up, as per the opinion of the NICU team you can make the little one wear normal vests, trousers, sleepsuits, etc. However, it is important to make sure your baby is comfortable wearing it and never compromise on its quality. Avoid big and baggy clothes. Intend, go for sung ones.
Like full-term babies, premature babies also like to be swaddled. Swaddling soothes the over-stimulated preemies. Many NICU staff promotes swaddling as it will make the preemie feel more secure (as in the womb).
Unlike full-term babies, preemies are swaddled with their arms on the chest and the legs tucked up. What you have to keep in mind is to buy swaddle designed for preemies rather than going for the normal ones that are too big for them. Preemies get the effect of swaddling only if it is done with the right sized swaddle.
5. Be wise with the size when buying clothes for premature babies
When it comes to clothes for premature babies it’s important to be aware of the sizing requirements. Not all the labels that say “preemie” mean it in the real sense. Especially, the brands that are not specialized in making preemie clothes. Just making small sizes than newborn size does not satisfy all the preemie needs.
Choosing the right size of clothing for premature babies can be tricky. This is because; just a small difference of few centimeters makes a big difference when it comes to preemie clothes. Also, sizing for preemie clothes varies from one brand to the next.
Many brands cart the size depending on the height and weight of the baby rather than the gestation age. This is because the height and weight of the baby sometimes do not match the gestational measuring chart.
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Many brands provide three sizes for the preemies that cover the weight of around 500 grams to 2.5 kgs. The height is measured from shoulder to leg. It ranges from around 12 inches to 18 inches depending on how premature the baby is.
However, it is always advised to take the measurement of your baby and keep his height in mind while buying clothes for preemies
6. Fabric for clothes for premature babies
Newborn babies should always wear clothes made from soft, breathable fabrics, preferably cotton. The quality of the fabric gains more importance when it comes to clothes for premature babies.
This is because the skins of preterm babies are more sensitive and may not fully develop yet. Therefore, their skin will be more prone to damages. Anyway, go for natural fabric. Clothes made from organic fabrics are also available for preemies in many stores. These are friendlier to the preemie’s skin.
7. Choose wise patterns
It is equally important to make sure the preemie cloth does not have any harsh seams. Wrap around patterns with gentle velcro closing are ideal for babies who need special care. This pattern not only provides easy access but also can be easily removed.
What Is The Difference Between Preemie And Newborn Clothes?
When it comes to clothes for premature babies, it’s not just size matters. On the other hand, a preemie should wear clothes that permit the doctors and nurses to complete different procedures in NICU without difficulty. And yes, early baby clothing range is different from regular baby clothes.
For example, typical snap, made of metal, used in newborn clothes can’t be used for x-rays. Likewise, regular sleeves don’t offer openings for IVs or cables.
Preemie clothes are designed after considered all these factors. Whereas, newborn clothes are made only taking into consideration a few features like soft, breathable fabrics and easy to wear and remove.
You will be able to use a more diverse assortment of clothing once the baby grows to weigh about 1. 5 kg. This includes sleep sacks, dresses, onesies, and more. Your options will increase yet again once your baby crosses the 2.5 kg benchmark.
By that time they will be in the category of a newborn with low birth weight. Once they pass the 3 kg range, you can finally dress up your little one with all the cute designer clothes you want to! So be patient. Your little one is growing up.