Children grow. Children grow very, very fast, and the smaller they are, the faster they grow. A baby will go through as many as 5 to 6 size changes during her first year alone. Considering the dirty clothes a baby generates just hanging around in the newborn phase, such as spitting up and leaking diapers (less likely with cloth, but it can still happen) it can be mind boggling to consider the amount of money you need to spend on just clothing in the first year. This is not even taking into account once a baby becomes mobile and testing solid food for the first time, either, which brings a host of new mess opportunities.
There are a few tricks you can employ when you are pregnant to start building a nice clothing stash, and you can use these methods throughout your little one’s childhood as they grow.
Do not be afraid to accept gifts. In fact, and particularly for a first child or grandchild, babies can have too many clothes at first. People love buying baby clothes. Love it. Love it too much, in some cases. To combat this, and to make the gifts last a little longer, have your shower hostess include a note that says you’d love clothes in any size up to 12 months, for example. Or register for onesies in a multitude of different sizes. In some cases, the itty bitty clothes that many just love to buy will go unused, so don’t be afraid to request a gift receipt and exchange for different sizes or store credit.
Thrift stores have a plethora of awesome kid clothing. It’s super inexpensive and, particularly when shopping for little ones, the clothes are often not used very much at all because, as I said above, kids grow so fast. You can find awesome brand name clothing in thrift stores for rock-bottom prices and as the stock constantly changes you can shop weekly and always find something new.
If you love to go to garage sales, you may already know that you can score some awesome kiddie clothes for nickels and dimes. You may find, that with little ones in tow, it doesn’t always make for a great time shopping, so if you can leave your small children with your partner or other caregiver, head out at 7 in the morning and see what you can find. Other family members are often willing to check out sales for you if they are already going, so send out a feeler to see if they’d mind.
Discount or clearance merchandise at regular retailers is an excellent way to get clothing. Near the end of every season, retailers will drastically mark down items, so if you can try to predict your child’s size next fall or spring, pick up what you can. It’s usually cheap enough that even if it doesn’t fit it’s not a huge loss, or you can gift non-fitting items to friends or family members. Watch circulars in your mail or newspaper — often stores will have a wonderful sale that gives a percentage off already discounted items. Score!
About Monica: Monica has been writing professionally since 2000 and has two published books — Teach Your Baby to Sign and Baby Talk. Her writing appears in a number of websites. The mother of four children, Monica is a cloth diaper and natural parenting enthusiast. She also sews custom fleece soakers at Mama Bird.