When you are pregnant the classes will focus on several main topics, pregnancy, labour, birth, feeding your baby, your babies sleep and how to hold your baby.
But if you are not used to holding a new born, the idea of dressing them and getting their curled up arms and legs into clothes can seem daunting. It is always OK to ask your midwife for help, but here are a few guide lines to take some of the worry about hurting your baby out of dressing him or her.
Firstly don’t panic, babies look fragile, but they do not break easily. If your baby is hungry, feed them before dressing the baby, it is always easier to dress a calm baby.
Newborns needs are simple, they need to be warm, fed and loved. Loved, well, that comes from inside and will grow all the time. Fed, we hope you will breast feed, but bottle feeding is a safe and acceptable way to feed you baby too.
Warm – it doesn’t really matter too much what time of year your baby is being born, the clothes will be basically the same. Take simple clothes to the hospital, there will be plenty of time at home to put on all the pretty clothes and let your visitors see them.
You will probably dress you baby in a vest and a baby grow when at hospital.The easiest vests to put on a new born and the least fiddly for a new mum are the ones with envelope necks, and popper fastenings at the bottom. If you have never dressed a baby before, this is the easiest way to put it on. Unpopper the vest at the bottom, scrunch up the back and the front and open up the envelope neck – you now have a circular opening for the head and the rest of the vest pulled up. Place the baby on the vest so that the back of its head is in the circular opening and the back is under the neck. Now, hold onto the scrunched up front and with your fingers through the neck opening use one movement to pull the front of the vest over the baby’s head, now the whole vest is around the neck. Gently push the baby’s arms through the arm holes and roll the baby onto its side, pull down the back, roll it back onto its back, pull down the front. Popper up under the nappy and you are done.
It may sound fiddly, but this is the best way as the baby does not get tangled in the clothes, and you never have to entirely lift the baby. Also as the baby starts to focus you will find that you can maintain eye contact when you are dressing him/her which will help to keep the baby calm.
Then you just need to put a baby grow on top. This is simple, undo the baby grow and place it flat on the surface, place your baby on top and then gently push the arms and legs through and popper up the front. The easiest baby grows to put on are ones which popper all the way up the front and down both legs. If you can get hold of the baby grows with built in scratch mitts this will reduce the amount which you baby scratches his face in his sleep, and is far easier than trying to keep scratch mitts on a baby!
Finally when you leave the hospital you will need an outer layer, usually a baby hat made of soft cotton and a snuggle suit. When putting on the hat, put it under the head and then pull forward, a newborns neck is weak and trying to put it on from front to back is difficult. Put the snuggle suit on in exactly the same way as you would the baby grow.
Your little bundle is now dressed and ready to meet the world.