Updated: December 2023,
So you’re having a baby. You think you’ve thought of everything, but at the same time you’re terrified that you’ve missed something. Here’s one thing you may or may not have thought of: laundry. Yes, you know that you will have more, but have you considered the basic differences between your baby’s laundering needs and yours? If you regularly use perfumed detergents, bleach, or fabric softener, your laundering habits may need some reform.
Gone are the days of washing clothes just because they smell. Your baby is going to burp up stuff you’ve never thought of, and your laundry piles are going to skyrocket. This is only one new concern, however, since your baby’s skin is much more sensitive to chemicals than you and your spouses’ grown up skin. Laundering the baby’s clothing in detergents that are free of perfumes and dyes is one quick way to help ensure that your baby does not get unnecessary discomfort from irritating chemicals. There are detergents formulated specifically for babies, but for the most part as long as you stay away from perfume and dye heavy products, your baby should be just fine. There are of course rare cases in which the baby has specific allergies, in which case it is probably best to find one brand that works for your baby’s skin and stick with it. Unfortunately for your baby, this may mean a short trial and error process. As with food allergies, just keep a keen eye out and make sure you seek immediate medical treatment when you are concerned about anything.
Another thing that is important when laundering baby clothing is to make sure that you launder any cloth diapers separately. If you are using cloth diapers, you may think of the obvious reason: these items of clothing are obviously much more soiled than the average baby clothing item. It is best to launder these items twice: once in bleach with a double rinse, and then a second time with just vinegar during the last rinse cycle. This is important because not only is the baby using these items a lot more frequently (so they get a lot more wear), but also they are the closest to the baby’s very sensitive skin. So making sure that cloth diapers are as allergen free as possible is a key factor in keeping your baby comfortable and happy.
The last item on our laundry agenda will keep your laundry service or electric company well fed, and you plenty busy. As your baby quickly outgrows each new item of clothing, and a new one needs to be purchased to replace it, the new items should all be washed before being put on the baby. That includes outerwear and bath accessories, but is especially important for things that you buy a lot of, like undershirts, socks, and onesies. The first couple of months are particularly crucial in determining what kind of laundering ritual is best for your new addition. This is also a time in which you will be getting used to a lot of specifics about your new baby. Make sure no matter how you launder your baby’s clothes, you keep a good eye out for possible allergic reactions and rashes. A comfortable baby is a much happier baby.