Monday, 26 January 2009

All About Baby Clothes

(this came out longer than I thought, so I am warning you now, if you are uninterested in the dilemma of clothing a baby with a big butt, just go through and click on all the links to see cute photos)

As most of you know, Lily is a cloth nappy baby. We used disposables for her first couple weeks (when her poop was gross, she needed her belly button to have air to breathe and I couldn't face washing nappies every day) and still use them when we go away, but the rest of the time, she's in cloth. I am so glad we made this decision - it is cheaper in the long term, especially since future sibling(s) will also wear them; we have never really had an issue with nappy rash; no stinky nappies to have around the house until garbage day; no nasty chemicals right next to her butt. The ONLY downside so far is that we like to air-dry our washing and that can be tricky when it's an English winter and the nappies therefore take a full 24 hours or so to dry.

Oh, and it makes her butt ginormous. Personally, I think this is adorable. I also think it's part of the reason she sat so well, so early - she had some extra weight and support (I'm sure this is just silly, but I choose to believe it anyway). Problem is, most people use disposables and therefore, baby clothes aren't made to fit over big butts like Lily's. For the first 6 months or so, we managed to get away with just having her in slightly bigger sizes than her age. It helps that she's always been rather barrelly in the chest too, so there wasn't too much issue with onesies/bodysuits fitting both top and bottom. However, as she's become more mobile over the last couple of months, she's really starting to stretch out - continuing to add to her already 'tall' length, but losing some of the chubbiness. So, at 6 months old, she had clothes designed for 9-12 month olds that didn't fit her at all anymore - too small in the butt, but too long in the leg.

The first week of December, I went on the hunt for clothing that would fit over a cloth-nappied butt. Plenty of people are using cloth nappies these days, so there must be stuff out there, right? Well, not really. I found lots of other people complaining about the same thing in forums and a single, solitary company called Cut 4 Cloth that was recommended over and over. They're not called Cut 4 Cloth anymore, they're now Frugi and I am writing all this to tell you that I am in love with their clothes. They are totally adorable, organic, fairtrade, great quality, everything good that you could hope for in clothing for any member of the family. All their stuff for under 2s is cut so as to fit over a cloth nappy. They do baby, girls and boys ranges, but we have already bought from all three, since the boys clothes are just as cute and we have no problem dressing Lily in any colour (besides, we'd like to have some clothes we can re-use if our next kid is a boy - see Lily in the 'boy' and 'girl' version of the same style top). They also have beautiful nursing tops (I only own one so far, but there are 2 more on their way and I am really hankering after that dress) which is great, since my wardrobe has become all about being able to discreetly feed a very inquisitive baby. As can be expected from such ethically produced, quality clothes, they're not cheap, but from what I've seen so far, are totally worth the price. Plus, they have great sales if you can wait until stuff is not 'in season' (although, I can't really see anything we've bought so far being out of season, other than maybe the summer dresses, but even they can be wintered up, as Lily shows here). I've just placed my fourth order with them today and have so far spent... well, more than I want to say, really, but worth every penny.

My favourite thing we've gotten so far is the Explorer Bootcuts (modelled by Lily here and here). I love them so much that I have just ordered a pair in the next size up so we will have them when she grows out of her current pair (which, thankfully, shouldn't be for a few months - it's so good to have clothes that fit for longer than 2 months). I also wrote about them to send as a trial review to Frugi themselves, in the hopes of becoming one of their Crusaders (reviewing new clothes, discounted beautifulness - sweet), which is what prompted me to finally write this blog post that I have been composing in my head for the last few weeks. So, here's the review I sent them (oh, and for all my Australian friends - we usually refer to them as pants, but that word means underwear here, so I call them trousers in public, even though it feels weird to do so :D):

My favourite piece of baby clothing is the first ever pair of trousers we bought from Frugi - the Explorer Bootcuts. Finally, a pair of trousers that fit over a cloth nappy without being too big in every other place. The soft, covered elastic waistband pulls on easily over the bulk that is Lily's chubby thighs combined with her cloth nappy and together with the drawstring keeps them nicely in place without looking uncomfortably tight. I love that the drawstring is sewn in the centre back to stop her pulling it out - Lily will grab and chew on anything within reach at the moment, so I like knowing that even when this ends up in her mouth, she won't have access to the whole cord - such a simple little detail that I, and seemingly most other clothing manufacturers, had never even thought of.
Aside from the practical stuff, once they're on, they're the cutest little trousers I've ever seen. The embroidered flowers on the front pockets are cute and colourful, without being overwhelming and the little bird on the back is like a sweet surprise when you see your little girl from behind (or above, as she struggles to try and crawl). The hard-wearing woven cotton has a pretty green tinge, but like the embroidery, it's subtle enough that the trousers will go with pretty much anything else in a little girl's wardrobe. And they have to, because you'll quickly find them in high rotation - ours rarely make it back into her drawers before the next wearing and are often grabbed from the (clean) laundry basket or drying rack to put back on.
Since it's winter, the trousers have only really been worn long so far, but once Spring hits, we'll be rolling them up. Then the adorable little trousers become equally cute shorts with a matching green knit fabric cuff. Plus, to stop adventurous little ones from turning them back into trousers, there is a strap and a pretty little natural button on each leg to hold the cuff in place. This is also a plus when your baby is on the shorter end of the scale and/or needs room to grow - most every pair of trousers can be rolled up, obviously, but hardly any will stay that way and very few will look as good.
Probably the best testament to how much we love these trousers is the fact that we have also purchased them in the next size up...

Question: If you use/d cloth nappies, how do/did you compensate for the giant butt problem?

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