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I've been in the process of sewing some clothes for a newborn coming in the next few months. In looking at designs for sleep gowns, it seems like they almost universally go over a child's head, even though many people recommend avoiding that the first month or two of a child's life and look for something with a zipper or a side snap style - a preference these first-time parents I'm sewing for share. Is there some reason I'm missing not to put a zipper or buttons down the front of a sleep gown? Pros versus cons for zipper versus buttons?

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    Zipper should ideally start at the bottom, btw, so parents can access the "business" end of the baby without fully undressing him/her. – Jax Aug 28 '16 at 13:55
  • Yup, that's the plan! Just can't figure out if there's a reason this isn't a thing. :) I would hate to make something that is totally unusable because I have no idea what babies wear. – cryptic_star Aug 28 '16 at 14:47
  • One more thing-do u really mean buttons? Or snaps? – Jax Aug 28 '16 at 22:45
  • Yes, I meant snaps. – cryptic_star Aug 29 '16 at 22:17
  • Phew! Buttons are bogus in this application. – Jax Aug 29 '16 at 23:46
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For a newborn, hands down zippers are the ideal option over snaps, and snaps would be better than anything pull-over. There's nothing more confounding in the middle of a sleep deprived night than snaps. Trying to match them up in the dark while baby wriggles and your eyes are crossed from exhaustion is hell.

The only disadvantage to a zipper is the slight chance of zipping up baby's leg (or some other body part) in it. However if the sleep sack/gown is roomy enough (as it should be) this is less likely to happen than with, say, a "sleeper" (the one piece pajamas with feet) that are a little more close fitting.

  • Great, thank you so much for this! As a quick clarification, since I've been having such a hard time finding a sleep gown with a zipper to model mine off of, do these typically have some fabric on the inside to ensure the zipper doesn't rub against the baby, somewhat like the fly on pants/jeans? Even if they don't usually have that, would it be helpful? Thanks! – cryptic_star Aug 29 '16 at 22:19
  • Some do, some don't. I would skip it, because it's just one more thing that might get caught in the zipper. – Jax Aug 29 '16 at 23:31
  • For an example of a great sleep gown to model yours off of, check out the Halo sleep sack. Those are my personal favorites, when I'm not using my wool (sleep sack + diaper cover in one). – Jax Aug 29 '16 at 23:44
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The reason commercial nightgowns don't do this is because of consumer product safety commission regulations requiring children's nightclothes to be either self extinguishing or close fitting to avoid burns. A zippered nightgown leaves the manufacturer open to lawsuit if the parents leave it unzipped and then drop a cigarette butt on it when they fall asleep and the child ends up burned.

That shouldn't be an issue when making a personal gift, especially if the parents don't smoke, so you're free to use or create a design with a zipper.

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