Clothing - A Suitable Outfit ree movement is so essential to development F during the first year or two of life that the mother should be careful to clothe her baby so as to allow unrestricted play of the muscles.
The baby in his second year must be able to walk freely. He should be lightly clothed with garments sufficiently warm to protect him from chill. Heavy garments fatigue a child, cause him to become overheated and to perspire. Insufficient clothing allows the escape of heat from the body with risk of chill.
The child during the second year must be clothed according to the season. Light muslin garments are quite unsuitable in winter, even in the house. Then, many mothers err on the side of providing a child with no covering for the legs because they think it smart for baby to wear dainty socks all the year round.
Short-sleeved frocks are not nearly so much worn as formerly. They are, like low neckbands, quite unsuitable for winter wear. Unless the upper chest of a child is adequately protected by an under-vest and little woollen dress, the lungs are exposed too much in cold weather.
No large extent of skin surface should ever be exposed, and for this very reason the legs and arms must be sufficiently covered in cold weather. A superficial chill may mean the beginning of internal inflammation, and both the under-garments and the little dress should be made of woollen material reaching to the wrists and finished with a little neckband.
Stockings should be warm and the knickers ought to be made of a light woollen material. The child's dress should be fairly short. It allows a freer play of movement. All clothing, of course, should be porous, light, and of woven woollen material, and a garment of cellular texture should be worn next the skin. This is really warmer than flannel, as it retains the air particles in its meshes and makes for ventilation and warmth.
Tight versus Loose Clothing
Another important point with regard to clothing at this age is that it should be elastic - that is, it should give with the child's movements and not press tightly upon any part. During the second year baby is growing rapidly, and in many cases grows out of his little garments very quickly. It is cruelty in such cases to make a child wear anything that is too small. Pressure upon the circulation will do a great deal of harm, and the child's muscles cannot develop if they are at all restricted. The evil results of keeping a child in tight garments are seen in an extreme way in Italy. There the bambinos are swathed round and round with material, and are carried about on a pillow. When they reach the walking stage their legs are so thin and emaciated, and the muscles so atrophied, that they cannot support the child's weight, and become bent and crooked.
If we permit our children to wear tight clothing their development is certainly affected in the same way. Tight clothing which presses against the stomach will produce indigestion and colic. The tight under-vest, by pressing upon the lungs, prevents deep breathing and causes various chest ailments. The wearing of heavy boots is positive torture to some children, who are over-fatigued and cramped by the weight they have to lift. During the second year especially, only the very lightest footgear should be permitted. Heavy outdoor boots are not necessary at all because the child is not likely to be walking much in winter out of doors, especially if there is the least suggestion of dampness under foot.
As to outfit for a child in the second year, the following might be considered suitable:
Three pairs of light woollen hygienic combinations; two pairs of flannel stays or bodices to which the knickers are buttoned; six pairs of knickers, and four woollen petticoats are sufficient in the way of underclothing. Doctors sometimes like children to wear woven belts, and in this case three or four should be purchased.
For everyday use, baby should have four light dresses; while for night wear pyjama suits, of which three will be required, should be worn by boys and girls. A warm outdoor coat and a light felt hat will complete baby's layette in the second year. Various pinafores or overalls can be added to this simple trousseau as desired.
There is nothing nicer for children at this age than simple, long-waisted, linen overalls, finished with a belt. Four or six pairs of light woollen stockings and at least two pairs of shoes ought to suffice. It is never a good plan to have too many boots and shoes in wear at the same time, as baby rapidly outgrows them, and they are apt to become too small before they can be worn out.
When the child is of rather a fragile physique or is recovering after bronchitis or other illness, one or two Shetland vests with long sleeves should be added to the wardrobe. These protect the chest and arms from cold, and yet are light and loose.
Children, like grown-up people, differ in capacity for resisting cold, and a child may be naturally of a somewhat chilly disposition. Then he requires more clothing than the child with a perfect circulation. Body heat, however, should be kept up by natural movement rather than by heavy clothing. Two factors help in the production of body heat - namely, food and exercise. The child's food has already been considered, and exercise and growth will be dealt with in subsequent articles.