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There’s no law that says babies have to wear clothes in public

There are a few perks to being a baby. You get to eat ’round the clock. People wait on you hand and foot. And you can go out in public wearing only a diaper without fear of judgment.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t even bother dressing your baby (or toddler) when it’s boiling hot outside. Insane summer heat essentially gives you permission to skip the cumbersome baby clothes that you know are just going to get spit up on anyway and tote your baby around as God made him — wearing only a diaper to catch any accidents, of course.

To me, this makes perfect sense. If summer is a time when grown women wear bathing suits and grown men hopefully wear a little more than a Speedo, who are we to think that a baby should walk around in full dress?

More: No, parents, changing a baby’s diaper in the middle of a restaurant is never OK

Denise Cortes of BabyCenter is one mom who wholeheartedly disagrees. In her “summer rant,” she writes, “This is one of those things that drive me crazy. I see it everywhere. Babies wearing nothing but a diaper… You know, those little people who are dependent upon on their parents to keep them properly dressed. Whether or not you spend your summer days indoors or out, we still need to make sure baby is comfortable and protected.”

Cortes urges parents to follow her rule of thumb and add an extra layer of baby clothing compared to what you are wearing. She says this serves a purpose to protect a baby’s skin from the elements — and I assume, to stop making people uncomfortable by carting around a naked baby.

As Cortes asserts, if you wouldn’t go to the grocery store in your underwear, why would you take your baby wearing only a diaper? Here’s the thing: I would go to the grocery store in my underwear (and have gone in my swimsuit) if it was socially acceptable. What we’re really talking about here is personal preference and the fact that one mom doesn’t like it when babies roam free in a state of undress.

Sure, there is a practical aspect involved. If your child is cold, by all means, put some clothes on him. But if you live in an area of the country where the heat bakes your face the moment you walk out the door, like I do in South Texas, I would argue that a baby could handle and possibly even enjoy a few cooling hours without clothes.

More: Why you should cloth diaper your baby

A baby wearing only a diaper is not a safety concern, it’s a personal preference. And that’s where this blogger’s rant falls flat. I stand firm on the other side of the fence: Life is short. A baby is only a baby for so long. Why not let your baby enjoy a few naked hours here and there before it really becomes weird to run errands in your underwear?

And before you judge that parent at the grocery store holding a baby in a diaper, let’s think logically for a minute. There could be a huge chance that this baby is naked because his mom had no other choice — diaper blowout, vomit, spilled juice, you name it. This is just one more asinine parenting decision that is totally up to the parent. Remember, just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it wrong.

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