Are you working on your baby registry? Or maybe at the point where you’re trying to fill in the gaps after your shower and setting up the nursery? What baby clothes did you receive? Do you have enough?
My guess is, you’re trying to figure out exactly how many baby clothes you actually need. More specifically, what baby clothes, how many of each type of baby clothes, and how to get the most out of your baby clothes in the first year.
Little beings certainly do make big messes, so you want to have a variety of options so you’re not doing laundry twice a day. But, there are definitely some corners you can cut and baby clothes you don’t need that can help you save money and space in the nursery.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the must-have clothing items for your baby, including onesies, sleepers, and outerwear. We’ll also provide tips on sizing and selecting clothing for your baby’s first year!
- Baby clothes names
- Baby clothes sizing
- How many baby clothes do I need?
- Baby clothes functionality vs. style
- How many baby clothes do I need in each size?
- How many onesies do I need?
- How many sleepers does a baby need?
- How many baby socks do I need?
- What do newborns wear?
- How many newborn clothes do I need?
- Newborn clothes checklist
- Winter baby needs
- Laundry detergent for baby clothes
- Sample baby clothes registry
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Baby clothes names
- Onesie: A one-piece garment that snaps or buttons at the crotch, typically made of soft cotton. It can be sleeveless, short-sleeved, or long-sleeved
- Bodysuit: Another word for a onesie, it is a one-piece garment that covers the torso and has snaps or buttons at the crotch
- Romper: A one-piece outfit that combines a top and shorts, often made of lightweight fabric and suitable for playtime or outings
- Playsuit: Similar to a romper, it is a one-piece outfit for babies, typically made of soft, breathable materials for comfort during play
- One-pieces: Versatile outfits that are a single piece, covering both the top and bottoms, and come in various styles and designs
- Kimono shirt: A traditional Japanese-inspired top that wraps around baby’s body and is secured with snaps or ties. It goes on like a jacket, which can be easier for delicate little ones
- Footie pajamas: One-piece pajamas that cover the baby’s entire body, including the feet, providing warmth and coziness
- Cotton sleep gown: These gowns feature an open bottom, allowing for easy diaper changes during the night. They usually have an elasticized bottom to keep them in place and create a comfy spot for baby
- 2-piece pajamas: Sleepwear consisting of a separate top and bottom, often made of fabrics like cotton or fleece for comfortable sleep
- Sleepsack: A wearable blanket that zips or snaps around baby, providing a safe and cozy sleeping environment
- Booties: Soft, knitted, or fleece shoes worn by babies to keep their feet warm
- Baby mitts: Coverings for baby’s hands to prevent scratching or keep them warm
Baby clothes sizing
First, let’s talk about baby clothes sizing in general. Talk to any mom and she will tell you that no two brands are the same when it comes to weight and height associated with a size range.
You will learn in the first few months what brands work well for your baby but before then, some of it will require guesswork.
Here are some general tips on baby clothes sizing I wish I had known:
- For brands that just give a single month for the size, consider that the upper limit (ie – Carters)
- Most brands do give height and weight suggestions for their size ranges but you may need to search for the size chart online
- Find out what you and your partner were like as babies. Always in the next size up? Always on the smaller side? This may give you an idea of what to expect
- I have found boutique brands to run on the smaller side. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it occurred often enough for us that I’d be aware of it
- When in doubt, always keep the tags on and exchange for a bigger size or store credit. Even if you don’t get full value, it’s better than wasted clothes baby never wore
How many baby clothes do I need?
Now, let’s make sure you know what you need and how much is enough. If you are working on your baby registry, then this information will be really helpful.
Family and friends love to help expecting couples feel prepared by giving them things they know will be loved and used. Including detailed clothing needs on your registry can be a great way to get a lot of the basics out of the way.
People will want to give you adorable and fancy baby dresses, sweaters, and pants, and those are super cute and fun, but really you just need the basics.
If you include your baby’s clothing needs on your registry, guests will be more inclined to give you clothes you’ll actually use when they come to your baby shower and get you a gift.
Use this as a basic essentials checklist and plan to fill in with seasonal and more specialized pieces.
For each size range (0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12 months) plan to get:
- 6 short-sleeved bodysuits
- 6 long-sleeved bodysuits
- 6 stretchy pants
- 6 one-pieces (style should depend on season)
- 6 cotton footie pajamas (fleece can be great for winter months)
Baby clothes functionality vs. style
As you can see, in my checklist I am emphasizing functionality. I know baby clothes are adorable, believe me. But other than on very special occasions, it’s just not worth the hassle of getting them into fussy outfits.
Certainly, splurge or enjoy an adorable Christmas outfit or something for a big family party, but day to day, you want simple.
How many baby clothes do I need in each size?
This is tricky to navigate because you can’t predict how fast baby will grow in order to shop seasonally for the appropriate size.
However, the basics and essentials listed above will be used until baby is walking, so investing in those numbers through size 12-18 months is probably a safe bet.
Basics like snap-crotch bodysuits, footed pajamas, and stretchy pants are going to be your mainstays even as baby gets mobile.
I found myself shying away from any shirts that didn’t snap until my boys were walking. Shirts tend to ride up and get twisted with wiggling, crawling babies. You can pull out the cute pull-overs once they start walking.
How many onesies do I need?
On the low end, you’re going to want to have at least 6 onesies in each size throughout baby’s first year. The same is true for bodysuits and footed pajamas. Don’t plan too far out in the realm of more seasonal items because you can’t predict baby’s growth.
I would recommend grabbing a pack of both long and short sleeves, no matter the season. I often put my summer baby in long-sleeved bodysuits and loved the ones with little fold-overs on the sleeve to prevent them from scratching.
What is a onesie?
Just to make sure we’re on the same page: onesies are shirts with snaps at the crotch. It prevents the shirt from riding up and is easy for diaper changes.
Often, the neck is designed so that when there is a blow-out you can simply pull the shirt down and off of them and not deal with poop going over the head.
How many sleepers does a baby need?
Don’t go too crazy in the newborn size with these, but having a few (especially if baby is born in a colder month) are great for hanging around the house when they aren’t swaddled or to keep them warm at night. As far as size 0-3 and beyond, these are good to stock up on!
Now when it comes to footed pajamas there are two main styles – snaps and zippers.
Snap vs. zipper pajamas for baby
Zippers are quick and easy to use – no aligning snaps or buttons in the dark at night. They also usually provide a snugger fit than snaps, which can help keep your baby’s diaper in place. However, zippers can sometimes snag on delicate fabrics or irritate your baby’s skin if they’re not covered by a protective flap.
As for snaps, they give more flexibility in terms of opening the pajamas for diaper changes, as you can snap and unsnap just the bottom portion. However, snaps can be more time-consuming to fasten and unfasten, especially if you have a squirmy baby who doesn’t like to stay still.
All of this is to say that the choice between snaps and zippers will depend on your personal preference and your baby’s needs! I recommend having a few of both options on hand, so you can switch between the two depending on the situation.
Also note that if you have a winter baby, or keep your house particularly chilly, you may want to get some fleece footed pajamas in addition to cotton ones.
How many baby socks do I need?
For socks, just be ready for a constant battle. They’re always going to fall off, but are a necessary evil. Pulling them up over the pants does seem to help a bit and provides some comic relief.
What do newborns wear?
To be totally honest, I’m a big fan of just onesies for newborns! They are pretty inexpensive, easy to spray and throw in the wash, come in short-sleeve and long-sleeve depending on the weather, and can be worn with a little pair of pants on top if it’s cold. Oh, and they usually come in packs of 3-5 or even more!
That and footie pajamas are basically what my babes lived in while they were newborns!
How many newborn clothes do I need?
A lot of people will tell you not to waste your time on newborn-size clothing, and while on the whole I agree, I think it’s a mistake not to get any.
While many babies are out of newborn clothes in a matter of a month – when you’re a new mom those four weeks can somehow feel like an eternity and a blink all at once. And during those first weeks, it is nice to have some clothes that really fit your new baby.
I’m not saying you should get hoodies, dresses, suits, and swimwear in newborn size, but having some bodysuits, footed pajamas, and pants in size newborn is a good idea.
Many babies will be absolutely swimming in 0-3 month clothes in the beginning – and possibly even longer if you go early or have a baby on the smaller side.
Newborn clothes checklist
So what is worth investing in newborn size? Well, newborns are known for blowouts and spit-ups. If you’re breastfeeding your baby, their poop will be very liquidy and seedy.
I remember it felt like if the diaper was even slightly askew, a blowout and another change of clothes followed. Spit-up also happens, and so does spilled milk – all of which can have a soured smell and require a change!
For these reasons, you’ll want enough clothes so that you’re not doing laundry more than once a day, but not too many that it feels wasteful.
Here is how I’d break it down, with some explanation:
Going home outfit
Think cute and comfy. You’ll definitely want cute photos, but also want baby to be warm enough and comfortable in their car seat.
I love the idea of a snap crotch onesie with a personalized element and soft pants.
3-5 long and short-sleeved bodysuits
I would recommend grabbing a pack of each, no matter the season. We often still put our summer baby in long-sleeved bodysuits and loved the ones with a little fold-over to cover his hands so he couldn’t scratch himself.
2-4 pairs soft pull-on pants
Something to go with those bodysuits when you take baby out of the house in their car seat or are baby wearing. This will be especially important if you have baby during a colder time of the year.
2-4 Kimono-style long-sleeves
These are shirts with buttons on the side that you put on like a jacket. They can be an easy way to add a layer on baby without having to pull something over their head.
2-4 Footed pajamas
Don’t go crazy in the newborn size with these, but having a few (especially if baby is born in a colder month) are great for hanging around the house when they aren’t swaddled or to keep them warm at night.
See the note above for details on buttons vs. snaps!
2-3 Cotton Sleep Gowns
These are super user-friendly for those early sleep-deprived days and nights. They are designed to be lifted for a diaper change and have elastic at the bottom to keep baby’s feet in. The neck has an easy opening to pull down over the shoulders in the event of a big mess.
Winter baby needs
If you are the kind of family that will be outside in the winter because of your hobbies or lifestyle of a walking town/city then you want to be prepared.
Here are some outerwear items that are worth investing in if you will be outside with baby:
- Car seat cover bunting: If you have a travel system or a click-and-go car seat, this is a great choice for a winter baby. It allows you to buckle baby safely against their body and the warm bunting goes over the entire seat. This is great for winter walks
- Fleece bunting: Always remember to never put baby in this and then buckle them into a car seat. This should be used for baby wearing or stroller only
- Baby winter bunting: This may not be necessary until baby is a bit older, unless you plan to spend a lot of time outside in colder months
- Baby wearing/maternity coat: This is a worthwhile investment if you have a large bump in winter and need a maternity coat because you can then use it for baby wearing too!
- Hats: There are a lot of options out there to keep babies head and ears warm! I always like the ones with ear flaps that Velcro around baby’s chin for cold winter days.
Go for a light-weight cardigan or hoodie for babies born in colder months. You want something thin that can still be worn with a car seat.
I found I didn’t use the heavier winter jackets I was given for my baby in the first few weeks and months. Instead, I would put a warm blanket over baby’s car seat buckle, and often just use a baby carrier with baby zipped into my jacket!
Laundry detergent for baby clothes
Here’s a guide of what to look for in a laundry detergent for your baby:
- Fragrance-free: Look for a detergent that is fragrance-free or has a mild, baby-friendly scent
- Hypoallergenic: Opt for a detergent that is labeled as hypoallergenic, meaning it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction
- Gentle formula: Choose a detergent with a gentle formula that is free of harsh chemicals and additives
- pH-balanced: Look for a detergent that is pH-balanced, as this can help prevent skin irritation
- Liquid vs. powder: Liquid detergents are generally considered better for newborns because they dissolve more easily and leave fewer residue
- Free of optical brighteners: Optical brighteners can leave residue on clothes and irritate sensitive skin, so look for a detergent that is free of them
- Pediatrician recommended: Consider looking for a detergent that is recommended by pediatricians, as this can help ensure that it is safe and effective for your newborn
Remember, every baby’s skin is different, so you may need to try a few different detergents before finding one that works well for your little one!
But don’t stress about this too much for the first wash you do on clothes before baby is born.
Sample baby clothes registry
You can find all this info, plus my top picks at different price points inside the FREE 150 page MLN Baby Registry Guide!
It’s like a baby registry checklist on steroids – with tons of info you’re going to love!