How Many Clothes Does a Newborn Need?
Here’s how to determine just how many baby clothes you need for your newborn in their first year.
The first year with your baby is exciting and overwhelming. There is so much to learn and love, and the newborn baby clothes and other essentials you need seem endless. As you watch your beloved little one age from newborn to 12 months, they will grow in the blink of an eye, from a pipsqueak to a full-on peanut!
Naturally, you will need newborn clothing to cover their soft skin, in a bunch of different baby clothing sizes, as they'll be getting bigger every day. But the question remains how many clothes does a newborn need? As much as we want them to stay this small forever, the miracles and milestones they'll complete are what makes parenthood such a blessing. That is why having the right amount of baby clothes for newborns comes in handy, so you are always prepared with plenty of newborn clothes to choose from.
A Well-Rounded Year-1 Wardrobe
Some first-time parents (and even those who have done it before) tend to go overboard when buying new baby clothes, as their enthusiasm takes over and they just can't stop themselves from picking up another cute romper or onesie. Who could blame them?! Not to mention the generous gifts new parents get from their friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors, as well as heaps of hand-me-downs and even thoughtful homemade items.
It is a ton of fun to shop for newborn baby clothes but with too many pieces you may realize things are getting a little ridiculous. However, having a nice assortment of baby clothes for newborns is important, for changing seasons, sizes, styles...and spit-ups! It happens.
When to get started
The third trimester is a great time to start rounding out your baby's wardrobe. Make selections to fill in the gaps post-baby shower. Swaddles and onesies are generally the go-to choices. You can stock up on these essentials until you meet your baby for the first time. Then you will have a better idea regarding sizes.
Also, you may not know what the baby’s gender will be (if that is important to you). If you find out on the spot, you may want to choose gender neutral baby clothes traditionally for baby girls or for baby boys once you have this information. Otherwise, go neutral with everything, or simply pick out whatever you like.
Don’t forget that you will need clothing for the next stage of development, the one after that, and so on. Rather than wait for your baby to outgrow their clothing, have the next size up ready. Go for the must-haves and make sure you have a nice variety. Whatever may still fit can remain in “rotation.” Once you have gone through those first weeks and months, you will have a clearer understanding of what baby clothes you need. Make your next shopping experience more educated. Plus, the seasons/weather will change, so you might need new items every few months.
Versatility and variety
Sensible "staple" pieces should be the foundation of your baby's overall wardrobe. Sticking to a couple of your favorite color palates will allow you to interchange items, layer, mix and match, and swap in and out for the potential of a new look every time you dress your baby.
Onesies make for a simple start, whether worn alone or with a long sleeve jacket over top when the weather is cooler. Kimono sets and baby gowns also lay the "groundwork" for an assortment of ensembles, paired with a cute baby headband or bow. Our kimonos also make for easy dressing with front ties so you don't have to pull the clothes over the baby's head.
It is nice to have different types of newborn clothes to select from, giving you alternatives at a moment's notice. Dressing your baby solely in onesies brand bodysuits can get monotonous, while a 2-piece set may not be the best decision for your baby on a given day. With a logical lineup of baby clothing staples, you will always have the right items on hand for any occasion.
Is there a certain number of clothes a newborn needs?
Every parent has their own idea of how much is too much. Following the "rule" of having enough pieces of infant clothing so you can go a full two weeks without a laundry cycle is a good way to gauge it. Surely, with a baby in the house, you will be doing laundry loads far more frequently! In case you get a much-deserved break, it will be a relief to have clean newborn clothes at the ready without having to rummage through the hamper.
A practical sample baby wardrobe might consist of 5-6 bodysuits, 4-5 onesies, 1-2 rompers, 3-5 pairs of shorts and/or pants, 3 swaddles, a couple of light jackets and sweaters, a week's worth of socks, and 2-3 sleep sacks. You will also need to consider the season and weather, with some additional baby hats, mittens, heavier jackets, and baby booties if you are in a colder climate or plan to travel.
You may find yourself in a bind if you have less clothing than advised, especially when items get dirty or stained. It is always better to have a few extra pieces for unplanned circumstances. So, if you want more, get more! You can even get two of the same exact items if you love them. Just keep in mind that your baby isn't going to stay in the same size for long. You may not have the opportunity to make use of everything you buy unless you have another baby in the future or want to pass the cute clothes on to another new parent.
Ask and you shall receive
Your family and friends want to get you something for your baby and they are often unsure of what you want or need. If you have a baby registry already set up, give your loved ones a head's up so they don't wind up getting clothing you won't use or perhaps already have at home.
When a new baby comes into the picture, people tend to pick out a newborn-size outfit, and you wind up with too much of a good thing. There is no shame in letting folks know that you'd benefit from a variety of sizes, both for a newborn and other baby clothing sizes going up. They should think about the time of year as well, as your baby will be bigger a few months from now, and certainly by the end of the year. A newborn-size swimsuit won't work in December, and by the time summer rolls around, it will be too small to fit.
Be open about what you have and what you'd be appreciative to receive as a baby gift. You may already be stocked up with sleep bags and swaddles, so request different articles of clothing, and perhaps other baby necessities like hooded bath towels and crib sheets. Family matching collections make for adorable clothing gifts, getting the whole crew coordinated and they are fun for family photos.
Mix it up
You can pick out a few higher-priced pieces of clothing if you desire and then grow the rest of your baby's wardrobe with a bunch of more budget-friendly finds. Pair those beloved hand-me-downs with a brand new headband or turban or get a cute new bodysuit to go with a jacket you've already been gifted.
Mixing up price points and pieces will give you the advantage of having more baby outfits collectively. This "high-low" concept is something to be mindful of as your baby gets older...especially when they develop their own sense of style. Once they start asking for things, it will be a real wake-up call!
Timeless vs. trendy
Some of the hottest trends in newborn clothing tend to be the priciest. Marketers know that moms and dads are willing to pay up for something precious. And grandparents maybe even be more likely to "spoil" your sweetie. It may be in their DNA!
Parents love to dress their babies in Instagram-worthy ensembles, but the little ones have no clue what they are wearing. Not to say you can't pick up a piece or two that's "en vogue" especially for a special occasion or celebration like a holiday or birthday. Your baby will only be this little once, so a "sometimes" splurge on a special item or two is well worth it if you have the money to spend.
Know that some of the cutest new arrivals in newborn clothes don't have to break the bank. Fresh and fun prints and patterns, with vibrant colors in fine fabrics, can be as affordable as they are adorable. There is no need to overpay for a great quality infant outfit.
Timeless pastels and traditional newborn clothing will always be popular, so consider collecting more of these styles as your baby clothes staples. If you intend to expand your family over the years, you can keep these always-in-style pieces for peanut number 2 (or more!). You can't go wrong with classic colors, simple styles, and pretty pastels.
There is No "Magic" Number
While the above advice is useful, every parent has to find out what works for them and their baby. Some parents like to go all out, others are minimal-minded, and the rest fall somewhere in-between. As you get into the groove of parenthood, you will learn what you need for your baby.
You will figure out what types of clothing are easiest for you to dress your baby in, what your baby feels most comfortable in, styles that stand out, what you do not seem to use very much, and items you simply can't live without. Once you have sorted that out, baby clothes shopping becomes a snap. Or at least not as confusing as it could be! An outfit should be fun, so don't get too wrapped up in what's "right." It is all about moderation, a nice collection of newborn outfits, and a happy (well-dressed) baby.
It is completely up to you whether you want more baby clothes for your newborn than you know what to do with or would rather have a small-scale array of items which you could always increase. You can't stop people from giving gifts, so before you buy something new, recognize what you may be getting.
That said, newborn and baby clothes couldn't be cuter! It is hard to turn away from an outfit that you know would look charming on your baby. When you're tempted to splurge, take a breather before buying but do not beat yourself up if you can't resist buying something sweet for your baby.
Do you have more baby clothes than necessary or just what you need?
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Editors Note: This post was originally published August 04, 2020 and has been completely updated and revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.