Especially if you have a fussy baby, it’s difficult to know what’s bothering him at any given time. Even if he is wailing in pain over a simple discomfort such as a shoe being on slightly crooked and uncomfortably, you might just assume he’s having his usual post-dinner fits because he’s tired. Until your baby can tell you what he needs, you’ll play this guessing game for quite some time. If your baby is having a screaming fit, check to see how tight his or her clothes are. Often, babies are uncomfortable, and it can be difficult for parents to gauge how tight the clothing must feel.

Recently, I went shopping for a friend of mine’s birthday and wanted to pick up a gift for her three-month-old baby. I felt stumped in the baby section. While I knew which general size to search for, all of the items looked small for the baby I was picturing in my head. I purchased the closest size that seemed right in every way, and when I gave it to her, she actually explained the standards she uses to tell whether the clothes are too tight for her baby. First, she checks to see if the sleeves can roll up comfortably. This can be checked as soon as the baby tries an item on. Next, she watches to see if the shirt rolls up on its own when the baby is lying down, and finally, she checks for indents where the seams were when the clothing is removed. This is an excellent system if you’re unsure how comfortable your baby is. Clothing that is too tight can cause skin problems such as rashes, and in serious cases, it can also cause the circulation to become cut off.

We’re all trying to save a buck in this economy, but forcing your baby into clothes he or she has grown out of will only cost you more in the end. He or she could develop rashes and circulation issues that will rack up the medical bills. Always double-check your baby’s shirts and pants to make sure they aren’t too tight, because that just might be the reason he or she won’t stop screaming. If you really love that one outfit and can’t bear to see it get tossed into the Goodwill pile, consider saving it in an airtight container to give it to your grandchild someday.

Source: Marilyn A Chard et al: Common Skin Problems in the Newborn and Infant. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing. Volume 3 Issue 2 pp. 27-38 1978

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