What is a layette?

If you look up the term 'layette' online, you will find many different definitions, ranging from an outfit to bring a baby home from the hospital in, to an outfit and a towel, to a full set of items you would need in a baby’s first few months at home.  In our world…  a Basically Babies "Layette" is a complete first-year baby wardrobe!  A Basically Babies Layette is a gift intended to communicate worth, value, respect and dignity to each family.  We want each layette to be a beautiful gift that anyone would be thrilled to receive, not just a basket full of used clothing.  We do not use items that are damaged or stained.  All items are checked and re-checked to ensure quality and presentation is excellent.

A layette is a large gift, beautifully packaged, scrupulously clean, appropriately-sized and gender specific.  It contains 90 to 110 items sized from 0-24 months.  The layettes are made up of both new and gently used items.  If all new items were used, each layette would cost in excess of $1000 to put together.  Since much of what we use is donated, our costs are substantially less.  We are able to complete our Basically Babies layettes for approximately $200 each.  This does not include the cost of any of the volunteer labour required to organize, wash, iron and assemble one.  It takes approximately 6-8 hours of volunteer time to make each layette and each one is intended to be a product of excellence… we are so thankful for our dedicated volunteers!

Our Layette Program addresses the one-time need of quality outfitting for infants.  This particular need comes at a time of great stress, both financial and emotional, in the lives of people already struggling to make ends meet.  The arrival of a newborn, often a source of joy to those in a more stable position, may be seen as just one more set of demands to be met by parents who already have difficulty meeting their own needs.  The baskets we provide to families-in-need reach people at a very deep level.  The parents who receive them may be working through addiction issues, struggling to get off a life on the streets, escaping abusive situations, trying to cope as refugees and immigrants to Canada, or may still be children themselves, but they love their children and want the best for them.  They often do not feel as though their own lives are worth very much.  Receiving a layette from Basically Babies at a time of great stress and need communicates that the community of Edmonton cares about this family, and that each family member has a great deal of worth and value.  The high quality of the basket contents, and the care and attention that are so obvious in the layette preparation demonstrate the respect and dignity that are so necessary for these families to feel hopeful about their futures.

Basically Babies uses the following criteria to help to determine which families may qualify for a layette.  They have:

  • Little or no income
  • Little or no means of financial support
  • Little or no marketable skills or employment opportunities
  • Little or no family or other support
  • Little or no "spousal" support

The recipients must also be also working with an organization that requests the layette on their behalf.  See Current Recipient Organizations for a list.


Basically Babies layettes are colour coordinated...

...gender specific...

...season appropriate...

...baby wardrobes!

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