Organising a Baby layette

I seem to be one of those ladies who is eternally a lady in waiting.

Waiting for the bai to come

Waiting for the bathroom to get free

Waiting for the kids to get home from school

Waiting for the cake to rise

Waiting for the rain to stop.

No matter what stage of life I am in, I always seem to be playing a waiting game. And it also seems that I’m not the only one playing the waiting game. All of us are playing the game at some stage and in some form.

These days I’m playing a different waiting game – waiting for the baby to be born.

Not mine – of course, my daughter’s.

One of the joys of preparing for a baby is getting the baby’s layette organised. Most hospitals have a list of requirements for the new born and at first glance it is quite intimidating :

  • 4 dozen cotton nappies
  • 3 towels
  • 3 baby wrappers
  • 1 dozen baby “gowns” ( for lack of a better word!)
  • 1 dozen baby vests
and so the list goes on to include blankets and plastic sheets and baby powder and soap and oil and bonnets and…….. All these garments have to be labelled and washed and kept in readiness with the clothes required for the mother.
So Anna Shetty and I have been scouring the net and the streets of Mumbai looking for appropriate clothes. 
The last time I made a baby’s layette was over thirty years ago when Colaba Causeway had a few Textile Mill shops selling fabric by the yard. I remember going to the Bombay Dying shop with my mother and buying beautifully printed cotswool to make baby blankets. We also bought metres fine cotton cloth to make the baby dresses with satin ribbon tie-ups, sheets and baby wrappers. 
Today Colaba Causeway doesn’t have a single shop that sells yardage and  The Bombay Dying store which is the only Mill shop on the street doesn’t even know what Cotswool is! Gone are the days of making nappies, quilts, sheets and knitting booties: to assemble a baby’s layette these days, only requires knowing where to shop. So we decided to move with the times and go shopping : 
Kamdhenu, a multi specialty store at Napean Sea Road closest to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital a popular SoBo maternity option, has the entire range of baby stuff from cribs to prams to “Born Baby Clothes.” ( I’m not joking about that – there really are clothes for born babies). Just Moms and Pritams are two stand alone shops at Breach Candy who also stock baby things and are specially handy for picking up a gift for the newborn. And if you can go through the maze that is Premsons, you will also find baby stuff there on the first floor. 
Mama & BeBe near Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan off Chowpatty is ridiculously expensive and has a rickety staircase to the mezzanine where they keep cots and cribs that look distinctly used. When I asked the salesgirl how they expected pregnant women to negotiate the narrow stairs, she gave me a look which translated as ” Can’t pregnant women walk?”
RTI which was once the only place that knew what a layette was is now the only place where you get old fashioned stuff at thoroughly modern prices. This shop too is totally avoidable.
Westside across the road has stuff for newborns who are either going to be living in the Arctic or in an air-conditioned environment where the temperature is maintained at zero degrees. None of the clothes are suitable for a baby born in summer.

So I went down to Nandu Drapers in Girgaon and picked up most of the stuff.

There seem to be lots of stuff happening for babies these days : you can get a whole range of clothes right from the traditional “jhabli” to bodysuits coveralls which were unheard of when we were young. But try asking for a LAYETTE and you will get a blank expression.

But in keeping with the tradition of making something for the baby, Anna Shetty and I made a patchwork crib quilt  appliqued yellow ducks and polyfill fibre which I sourced from a mattress shop at Nana’s Chowk. And this evening while walking home through the Parsi General Hospital lane, I came across a tiny mattress shop which sold the polyfill for half the price!

Which brings me to my basic premise in life – I can never win. 

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Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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