Only what you need for your baby. Really. (OK – and some fantastic things you don’t that are pretty cool.)
If you’re already clear on this, go ahead and skip this post. I thought I was but then, after I looked at the stack of onesies, pajamas, swaddling blankets, Velcro swaddles, Miracle Blankets, and sleep sacks, I realized I wasn’t.
Here’s what I knew:
Which meant no pajamas for the first couple of weeks after we got home. Soooo…infant shirt + diaper + a swaddle and no blanket? Would that be warm enough in a 70-degree room? And even after the pjs entered the rotation, would I use a sleep sack? And if I was swaddling Astrid, how exactly was a sleepsack supposed to work when they have armholes? Urgh.
Little Madeline will be fine wearing an infant shirt on top + a diaper on bottom + a warm swaddle at night.
Since we used swaddle blankets for the first few weeks, I was comfortable that Astrid’s legs were wrapped up and covered by a few layers of flannel even if she wasn’t technically wearing anything on the bottom. If you’re using swaddle sacks (like Kidopotamus or a Miracle Blanket) where her legs will only be covered by one layer of fabric, you can add some infant pants to the mix.
If you’re still concerned that she’s cold, yes, you can zip up a sleep sack over the swaddle. It will look peculiar because her arms won’t come out the armholes (since they’re swaddled), but she’ll be toasty. That said, especially if you’re using a fleece sleep sack, do check the back of her head to make sure she’s not too hot: fleece is a lot warmer than cotton and doesn’t breath as well so babies can overheat like the rest of us.
Accessories: you can warm her up in a little sleep hat like the ones the hospital gave you. No jaunty bowlers please. And no, there’s no need for infant mittens at night since she won’t be able to scratch herself because her hands will be swaddled. Save those for daytime flailing (or, my recommendation, skip them entirely in favor of Gerber’s infant shirts with mitten cuffs).
After the umbilical cord heals
Same drill as above except now you can put Gerhard in full-body pajamas and rest easy that his whole body is warm enough. If you’ve been using a sleep sack over the swaddle to keep his legs warm, you can reconsider: the pjs + swaddle in a warm room will probably be enough.
(Side note: I didn’t put Astrid to bed in onesies/bodysuits because her one-piece pajamas just looked a lot more comfortable than having snaps between her tiny legs. Also: those pjs are damn cute, so own it while you can! Just my two cents.)
You will have to be the judge of when your swaddling days are over, based on your baby’s Houdini skills, sleeping skills and your level of comfort with a rolling baby still being swaddled. (I wrote about this in more detail a while ago.) When you do decide to skip the swaddle, the sleep sacks officially enter the rotation if you haven’t been using them before this. They will replace the swaddle until Harold can reliably stay under a blanket at night, which might be at a year or not until he’s three. There’s no shame in the sleep sack: don’t rush it! They even have ones (which Astrid happily wears) that have elastic foot holes, so she can toddle around in her Jawa outfit when she gets out of her crib.