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Dressing Happy Babies

posted Mar 1, 2016, 12:28 AM by Kanika G   [ updated Mar 1, 2016, 12:32 AM ]

I remember taking my 3 month old baby out in the month of June in Mumbai. On days it did not rain, it was really hot. I would dress my baby girl in a light cotton onesie. That's all. No socks, no cap. She was comfortable. But not those around me. People would come up to me and tell me how important it was to make the poor kid wear a hat. After a few such encounters of unwanted advice I would nod and smile and move on but often I'd be tempted to ask them, “Why aren't you wearing a hat in this 40 degree weather?”

The thing is, in the first month, I had believed all the advice about keeping babies warm even on those unbearably hot days and my poor baby got heat rash. I learned my lesson. Babies are are humans too and have similar tolerance for temperatures. It may be sensible to keep them slightly warmer than the rest of us, but lets not go overboard.

About Jewellery:
Soon people wanted to know why I had not pierced her ears. She was just 4 months old.

I remember my own ears were pierced when I was 5 years old. The stud I was wearing got caught in a towel and came off causing me great pain and my lobe was infected for a week. I refused to wear earings again and the holes closed. I was 13 years old when I next got my ears pierced. Now why would I want my baby to go through that? I want my baby enjoy her childhood and play freely. It is already a tight rope walk between teaching caution and letting them learn from experience and be adventurous. But why unnecessarily increase the risk of injury?

I don't believe in making my toddler wear jewellery either. I don't want to burden her with the safety of expensive jewellery. Besides chains and bangles can also get caught in places, during boisterous play and moments of exuberance, increasing the risk of injury. Why not let them enjoy their childhood, no chains attached?

Comfort before fashion: As my daughter got older I have always made her wear light cotton clothing, suitable for the hot and humid Mumbai weather. Once she learned to walk I have made her wear light cotton pants. Even when she wears a dress, she wears pants or tights with it. This, in spite of taunts about how conservative that seems. I don't make her wear pants for modesty. I do it for purely practical reasons. She gets far fewer cuts and bruises when she falls making her feel confident and secure. This is not to say that I want my daughter to live in a bubble and never get hurt. But if a simple hack like wearing pants can enhance her play experience, then why not?

Respect before etiquette:
Comfort does not apply to attire alone. Kids need to feel comfortable in their social environment too. Often people will pinch a baby's cheeks or poke her tummy and expect to get a smile. Well if this person is a stranger, then from my daughter they will get a pretty stern frown. That is how she has been from age 6 months. She does not like it. Respect her space. And don't expect me to apologise for that frown you just got. I have not taught it to her, but I won't talk her out of it either. You need to have her permission, before you get too friendly. My kids need to feel comfortable saying no to people who, they believe, have over stepped their boundaries. Of course I do teach them, politeness and consideration, but I also teach them that these are all two-way streets. So yes I do teach them that a smile is the most beautiful thing they can wear, but also that they deserve respect and space and should not feel bad about setting boundaries.