Sometimes it seems like infant clothes are custom designed to be difficult to put on a wiggling baby. I find the multitude of snaps to be particularly difficult to navigate, especially when you miss a snap in a long series and then need to undo all of your work to refasten the tiny contrivances in the correct pairings.

I imagine there must be a good reason for the snaps but cannot come up with one on my own. What gives?

  • Buttons are traditional and snaps are better than buttons. Zippers are annoying because you have to undress them completely to change a diaper (snaps you just do what's needed). Not sure what's left? I recommend just purchasing pants and shirts. Much, much, much easier than these onesies. – Swati Oct 11 '13 at 6:47
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    Would you prefer velcro? – Dave Clarke Oct 11 '13 at 8:38
  • I assume we're talking about this? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snap_fastener – James Bradbury Oct 11 '13 at 11:05
  • The worst are the half-snap, half-button rompers that don't let you unbutton all the way down to the snap part (so you're left with one or two inches of solid fabric between them) – Charles Oct 11 '13 at 19:43
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    Tip: do up the snaps around the bottom before putting the garment on the child. Open the snaps on the neck. Stretch the nexk of the garment over the legs and up the body. This is easier and nicer than going over the head. – DanBeale Apr 10 '14 at 16:45

I agree that it can be a bother to close a onesie all the way down and find one snap left over. But it's no different than when I button up my shirt (except I wiggle less).

I can think of a number of reasons why snaps are used so often:

  • they're not a zipper. The end of a zipper can be pointy which can irritate, and the zipper itself can add just enough stiffness to be annoying. Also, depending on which direction the zipper is sewn in, you will have to open the entire zipper instead of perhaps just two or three snaps.
  • they're not buttons. Imagine having to button down all those snaps. Often enough there will be a button or two on one shoulder, to narrow the collar, and they are far more bothersome than snaps.
  • they're flat. When the baby lies on a snap, it's not something that leaves a big mark on the skin. Buttons and zippers are thicker.
  • they're fun to open. When you undress the baby, you can just pull the onesie apart with a swift plop-plop-plop and that's it.
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    I tend to wiggle more when other people button my shirt for me though; just to see the reaction. – SomeShinyObject Apr 10 '14 at 23:46

The simple answer is that there is nothing easier (with the possible exception of velcro, but one side of velcro is scratchy so a baby might not like that, and you sometimes have to pull velcro really hard)

You can work snaps with one hand, even with a wriggling child. If your worst case scenario is that you missed a snap - it's only going to add a minute. In reality you very quickly get used to starting from the end that makes it easy.

And as @Torben says, if there has been an explosion, you can very rapidly remove a onesie!

  • Good point. Snaps are your best friend post-blow out...there's nothing worse than trying to get a soiled onesie over a squirming baby's head (unless you don't mind getting poo in the kid's hair that is) – Jax Apr 10 '14 at 22:16

Both @Torben and @Rory give good answers about why snaps are a popular choice. I will add that is more about bad design and cheap snaps that make the snapping experience bad.

The female and male parts on a good design are not all on the same side, separating the snaps in shorter independent series.

  • Interesting way of improving on the snaps situation ! – lmjohns3 Oct 11 '13 at 21:06
  • The last part of this answer is the best, and is true. A quality garment makes it difficult to "miss" a snap because the snaps will only fit it's corresponding mate. One of those little things you never knew you didn't know and can thank your child for making you feel like a total ignoramus yet again. ;-) – Jax Apr 10 '14 at 22:13

Regarding why "so many", it's because baby poo goes everywhere.

With normal clothes, you can pull them up and down to slide them over the body. With baby clothes, you want to extract the child with the minimum of "spreading".

Ideally, a baby's onesie should, once popped, convert into a sheet that protects the surface they're from the stuff they've emitted, and which you can lift your infant from with the minimum of contact between their clean sections of skin and the part of the clothes that were exposed to the "not clean" sections.

And if there were less snaps on the clothes, that creates larger holes in it through which your child can put a limb and try and wriggle free.

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