A Pediatrician’s Guide to Dressing Your Baby

Most people do not turn to their pediatrician for children’s fashion advice, but there are a few questions that come up often. Below are my thoughts as a pediatrician and a mother about some baby fashion dilemmas that have a medical basis:

    1. Ear piercing: The American Academy of Pediatrics does not give a clear recommendation about what age children should get their ears pierced, if at all. This is a personal decision for the parent and child to make, although your pediatrician may have an opinion. Generally, if the piercing is performed carefully and cleanly, there is little risk, no matter the age of the child, although after the first tetanus shot at 2 months is safer. A good rule of thumb though is to not pierce ears until the child is mature enough to assist in the care of the piercing. Gold posts minimize the risk of an allergic reaction and inflammation so are best for the first pair, which you leave in for 4-6 weeks.  More info: http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/pierced-ears.html
    2. Teething jewelry: You may have seen some babies wearing amber teething necklaces, which are thought to help soothe the pain of teething. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims and these necklaces pose a choking risk. Silicone teething rings and wooden toys are safer teething options. More info: http://www.chop.edu/news/teething-pain-risky-remedies-avoid
    3. Shoes for new walkers: There are many designer shoe options for new walkers out there, but since you baby will outgrow these shoes within a few months, the good news is that it is better for children to be barefoot. Of course once they are walking outdoors, you will need shoes, but these should be comfortable, flexible, and well-fitting and do not need to be expensive. Since children’s feet grow quickly, you should check the fit of their shoe frequently and have a professional fit their shoe if you have any questions. More info: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/baby-shoes.html?ref=search
    4. Newborn hats: We have all seen the adorable photos of newborn babies wearing the pink and blue striped hats. Many new parents wonder though: how long does my baby have to wear that hat? Newborns have a hard time regulating their body temperature, but by the time they are ready for discharge, they can also stop wearing that knit hat routinely. Since infants lose heat through their head, wearing a hat can help keep them warm when you need them to be. In general, newborns need 1 additional layer than you need for the ambient temperature. So if you are comfortable in a t-shirt, your infant needs a onesie + blanket or a long-sleeved shirt. More info: http://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/warmth-and-temperature-regulation
    5. Sleep sacks: All parents need more sleep, so they are also always on a quest for anything that will help their child sleep better. Once your child is learning how to roll, you should no longer swaddle them, so that if they were to roll over while sleeping they can protect their face with their hands. Therefore, transitioning from swaddling to a sleep sack makes sense in the first few months. Remember though that it is more important that your baby sleeps on their back in a safe crib, than what pajama brand they wear. More info: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx


[The above is for general informational purposes only and is not to be considered as medical advice for any particular patient. Please contact your health care provider for advice about your own child. This post was originally published in the QVNA Magazine, March 2017, here.]

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