I'd delivered a baby three days earlier, and it was time to go home. I repacked the mad-dash-to-the-hospital bag, showered and slipped into terrifically stretchy post-baby pants. Then it was Baby's turn. I cajoled his noodly elbows and knees into one-piece footie pajamas with a matching cap (he was already a sharp dresser). Before I could even grab the camera, though, I heard a contented snuffle -- and realized why his grandmother had given him two going-home outfits.
I'll probably never understand how such tiny newborns can create crises of such large proportions (events I now call poo-mergencies), but this one demanded a change of clothes toute de suite and a new family tradition: giving and receiving going-home outfits. It's a concrete, inexpensive wish list item and a great way to involve grandparents or other family members -- Baby's older siblings, for instance -- in the big event. Although you may encounter the classic complaint that it's more difficult to find cute clothes for boys, at least there are options available. Until the early 1900s, male and female infants all dressed in gender-neutral white gowns.
While nearly any adorable, newborn-size outfit will do, you'll want to avoid waistbands, even if they're elastic. A simple one-piece outfit, loosely skimming Baby's tender belly button-to-be, is a good choice, as is a matching hat. Even in the summer, it's a good idea to cover a newborn's head; it helps regulate body temperature. And you'll get bonus points for a matching blanket -- you can place it in Baby's bassinet and use it as a complementary background for Baby's first photos.