Real boys wear bonnets: Musing on dressing babies

2 Jun

“Your son is wearing a bonnet”

This is the observation a coworker of my husband’s made when they were looking at pictures of the twins. A very keen observation. *rolls eyes* I love my hubby, he just shrugged it off and informed him that historically boys always wore bonnets.

We get this a lot, though it’s not like I dress my boys like girls. I am a HUGE believer in the importance of hats. My boys always have something on their heads when we go out. I’m also a big believer in hand made clothing and most specifically, hand knits. It is a great privilege and responsibility to dress a baby. They are incapable of dressing themselves, they cannot say they don’t want to wear something, they cannot voice that they do not want to be used as a billboard and the only way for them to say something is uncomfortable is to fuss and cry. So, it is the responsibility of the parent to dress a baby with respect and consideration.

So how is a bonnet on a boy respectful? Well, I’ll tell you: these that I put on my boys most often are “sun bonnets” they shade the face without being uncomfortable if baby is being worn in a sling, riding in a car seat or stroller, or rolling around on the ground. They also tie, snap or button on so these buggers aren’t just going to fly off leaving the boys’ heads exposed to the sun and heat. Not to mention, hubby is right- boys wore bonnets too, and they are making a comeback.  Oh, and they provide a good screen for nursing in public!

Also considering loose, comfy clothes made of natural fibers is a way to lovingly dress your child. Clothing with give allows baby to have lots of opportunity to move and explore his world. Learning to roll and crawl is NOT easy in skinny jeans. Natural fibers breath and help keep baby cool in summer and warm in winter as well as prevent rashes and discomfort to baby’s delicate skin. Cotton, linen, hemp and wool are our choices (and this mama has a particular love for all types of wool and linen. It’s just beautiful stuff!) Babies are not yet able to regulate their body temperature, so selecting appropriate clothing and hats is very important! The most body heat is lost through the head and given the disproportionately large head of a baby just think of what this means for their body temperature. Like I said, I’m a firm believer in hats so choosing a good lightweight one for summer and a cozy wool one in winter is important. A good rule of thumb is to allow baby one more layer than you are comfy with and adjust accordingly!

Sweaters, knit cotton gnome caps, woolies and booties for this morning’s play time.

For our boys, my husband and I chose cloth diapers for many reasons, not the least of which is the comfort of our babies- we use cotton pre-folds with hand knit wool covers primarily. This configuration breaths and is kind on their little bums, the environment and our wallets. I’ll chat more about cloth diapers again I’m sure!

More than all this, isn’t there just something wonderful about seeing a baby dressed  like a BABY? Swathed in hand knits and natural fibers? I think it’s just so sweet.

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