Baby Clothes

A new baby is very exciting, but also a lot of work! It helps to plan and have clothing ready when you bring your baby home. What you buy and how much depends on the season when your baby is born and how much money you have to spend. Also think about spitting up, leaky diapers, and other problems when deciding how many clothes to buy.

Your friends, relatives, or coworkers may give you gifts of clothes or loan you baby clothes. You can also buy baby clothes at secondhand shops. This helps keep costs down. Here are some basic clothes to have on hand for your baby’s first 6 weeks.

Clothing items you will need

  • 4 to 6 body suits (Onesies) or T-shirts. T-shirts are good at first until the umbilical cord falls off.
  • 4 to 6 pajama sleepers (have a few in newborn size and the rest size 3- to 6-months, depending on your baby’s weight)
  • 3 to 4 newborn sleep sacks (these loose sacks fit around the baby’s body and legs so they can’t be kicked off at night)
  • Diapers:
    • 36 to 48 newborn size disposable diapers (about 1 week’s worth). Babies grow so fast that you will change the size of diapers in just a few weeks.
    • 3 to 4 dozen cloth diapers (if you are using cloth diapers) and 4 to 6 diaper covers
  • 4 to 6 stretchy play suits
  • 6 to 10 lightweight receiving blankets (also called swaddle blankets)
  • 2 heavier blankets
  • 1 to 2 sweaters, sweatshirts, or jackets
  • 4 to 6 pairs of socks or booties (your baby won’t be walking for a while, so you probably don’t need shoes)
  • Several burp cloths (cloth diapers work well for this)
  • 6 to 10 bibs

If it is winter you will need:

  • 1 snowsuit (make sure it is large enough to last the whole winter and fit over clothes)
  • 2 hats

If it is summer you might want 1 sun hat.

Hints about clothes and dressing:

  • When you chose baby clothing, think safety first. Avoid items with small buttons, jewels, or bows as they can be choking risks. Do not buy clothes with ties or cords around the neck, arms, or legs. Cords can get tangled and hurt your baby. Make sure to buy flame retardant sleepwear and wash it correctly.
  • Buy clothes based on your baby’s weight, not his age. If you have a large baby, you may need to start with 3-month or 3- to 6-month sizes. You may want to buy clothing in several sizes and return what you don’t use.
  • Look for clothing that is easy to put on and take off, such as body suits with snaps or large openings at the neck, sleepers with zippers that go from neck to foot, and pants with snaps at the crotch. This makes it easy to change diapers.
  • Make sure that seams in clothes are not scratchy or bulky and that there are no loose threads to snag your baby’s toes or fingers.
  • Wash all new clothing items before using for your baby. Read the washing instructions on clothing tags. Some baby clothing has a fire-retardant coating that can come off if not washed properly.
  • Dress your baby for comfort and the weather. Use several layers of clothing so you can add or take off layers as needed.
  • Use loose fitting socks or booties so your baby can wiggle her toes. If it is warm, your baby can be barefoot. Babies do not need shoes or no-skid socks until they start walking.
  • Pull clothes over your baby’s head quickly. Babies panic when their breathing is blocked. When removing shirts, take the arms out first and then pull the shirt over your baby’s head.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-09-29
Last reviewed: 2014-09-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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