The Emotional Lifecycle of a Onesie

7 feelings you’ll experience from buying to retiring those tiny baby clothes.

The Emotional Lifecycle of a Onesie

Before a baby arrives, we build a picture of them in our imagination, evocative and alluring, captivating us whenever we have a moment for reflection. There’s nothing more suggestive of the mysterious newborn to be than their tiny baby clothes. The adorable patterns, simple and luxurious textures, even their glorious smells wrap us up in the deliciousness of our baby and the promise of the future. As new moms, we ride an emotional wave during the child’s first year, and the lifecycle of their clothing captures all of it in a nutshell.

Rarely do we consider the feelings that are evoked by newborn baby clothes. Intense expectation, haunting nostalgia, a million shades of wonderful coupled with a tinge of sadness. All of it is part of the first year. Here are the 7 phases in the emotional lifecycle of a onesie.

1. Anticipation. Even the most superstitious family is likely to buy a few key pieces of clothing before a baby is born. Onesies, pajamas and gowns, and blankets. All of them purchased when the baby is but a dream, possibly before we know the gender, and before there’s even a name. We could stare at those garments for hours, trying to envision the squirming bundle that will inhabit them shortly.

2. Celebration. Once the baby is born you will receive lots of clothing, all sizes, all seasons, every style, many of it not your style. I recall a particular crushed velvet jacket that I simply couldn’t touch too many times because I was enraptured. I loved everything about it, from its smell to the depth of color. My son wore it twice, as spit up and velvet didn’t really go together that well. But it sent me on a reverie I remember to this day. You’ll also get plenty of items that won’t be quite right and that will eventually lead you to feelings of….

3. Frustration. You’ll spend a lot of time managing clothing returns, figuring out what she’s outgrown and what has a week or two of wear left. If you line up everything by size in the closet as I did, your child will outgrow half of the wardrobe by mid-year. The season won’t align with his sizes, some items seem forever too big, and a few will be worn for a week or two. You’ll be in and out of stores, trying to remember how much money you have left in credit at this or that place. It will all be a blur.

4. Mastery. As you make your way through the clothing gifts, and get to know whether your child is big or small for their age, how certain brands size their clothing, you’ll become an expert on what will work. You’ll love the things YOU buy.

5. Nostalgia. Around this time you’ll start to retire lots of clothing, storing items away for future siblings. It’s not always easy to give up these old friends. Memories haunt them. She wore this dress to meet Aunt Clara, that gown when he was in the hospital, this onesie the first time he had a fever. As the seasons change, you say goodbye to what are now favorites. You wonder when you’ll see them again.

6. Recycling. With each pregnancy, mothers revisit the magic of the layette. I’ve had three sons, spaced roughly 18 months apart, so I’ve been in and out of the baby boxes many times and I’ve shared those special pieces with my sister who also has a boy.

7. Rekindling. Just recently, we were cleaning the basement and happened upon a forgotten stash of newborn clothes. Our boys are now 16, 14, 13 and 11 and many many onesies were collected along the way. What intense joy and sadness upon reacquaintance with their clothing. How could my son, now 6 ft. 3, have inhabited those baby shoes? Where did all the time go? Our boys will too quickly become men, as our memories scramble to get themselves in order. Hold on to some of those beloved items, the ones that take you back to the early days of motherhood, with all of its powerful associations, the ones you want etched in your mind forever.

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Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.


Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.


Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.


boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.


Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.


Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.


Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this


This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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