There a few different types of clothes you will need for your baby when he or she is born, and throughout the first year. So how many do you need and what sizes should you buy?
It is lots of fun shopping for new baby clothes, especially if it's your first baby. And who can resist those adorable tiny newborn outfits?
But cuteness aside, there are some clothes newborns actually need and which are more practical for them to wear.
You may have to change your baby's clothes more than once each day if his nappy leaks or if he brings up some milk.
For this reason in the early weeks it is easier to put your baby in bodysuits and sleepsuits.
Your baby's clothes will spend a lot of time in the wash gradually acquiring stubborn stains, so consider this before you blow your budget on an expensive newborn wardrobe.
To begin with, focus on the following list of clothes actually needed for your newborn and for the first year.
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Also known as stretch suits or babygrows, sleepsuits have long sleeves and long legs with feet. They have poppers at the front, legs and crotch, and are easy to open and take off.
Sleepsuits are comfortable for your baby to wear both day and night, and during nap times, so you don't need to change your baby's outfit when he is ready for a nap (newborns sleep a lot in the first few weeks).
Look for sleepsuits with scratch mitts at the ends of the sleeves. You can fold these over to prevent your baby scratching at his face, or just leave them unfolded as normal sleeve cuffs.
Choose sleepsuits with poppers that go straight down the middle rather than ones with poppers down the side; the side without the poppers makes it more awkward to get the baby's leg out.
Try to avoid sleepsuits with poppers down the back, they may be uncomfortable to lay on and as you can imagine a complete nightmare at changing time.
You will need about ten sleepsuits, maybe more depending on how often you intend to do laundry.
Bodysuits or vests are legless underwear for wearing underneath sleepsuits or other day clothes. They can be short-sleeved, long-sleeved or sleeveless. Poppers fasten at the crotch for easy nappy changing.
Bodysuits with poppers at the crotch do not ride up underneath baby's outer clothes. They also help to keep the nappy in place and contain random poo explosions.
Look for bodysuits with envelope-style neck openings. These are easy to slip on and off over your baby's head with minimal fuss.
Envelope neck vests can also be rolled down, which is handy if a nappy leaks upwards or out the sides. You don't have to pull the soiled vest over your baby's head or resort to cutting it off and throwing it out.
You will need about ten bodysuits.
You will need a couple of soft cotton or wool cardigans to keep your baby warm in cooler temperatures. Choose a close knit pattern to prevent his fingers and toes getting entangled in the holes.
If you know someone handy with a knitting needle, why not ask them if they would like to knit something? Close knitted patterns are best for safety.
If you dress your newborn in sleepsuits with enclosed feet, or if the weather is warm, you'll find you have little use for socks.
When you start dressing your baby in other outfits you might need to buy socks. But you may have difficulty with socks staying put on your baby's little feet.
About three pairs of socks is probably more than adequate to begin with.
On another note related to footwear, tiny shoes look cute and irresistible. But they are completely unnecessary until your child is walking.
Some babies scratch their faces, leaving red marks and even drawing blood. Scratch mitts are a solution but they don't stay on very well and often get lost because they are so tiny.
As previously mentioned, sleepsuits with integral scratch mitts are an alternative to individual pairs of mitts.
For a winter baby who will be outside in very cold weather, a one-piece snowsuit/pramsuit with a hood will keep him warm. Otherwise a warm cardigan/jacket over his clothes and a pram blanket will suffice.
If your baby is wearing a bulky coat or snowsuit, for safety reasons this should be removed before travelling by car in his car seat. It should also be removed as soon as you get indoors so that your baby doesn't overheat.
It is not necessary for your baby to wear a hat indoors. Put a knitted hat on your newborn if it is cool outside.
Babies under six months should be kept out of the sun but later on they may need wide-brimmed sun hat.
In addition to the essential items mentioned above, there is a range of cute little outfits you can dress your newborn in during the day if you fancy a change, if there's a special occasion or for when you have visitors.
Choose from 2 piece sets, T-shirts and leggings/trousers, dresses, rompers and dungarees, but maybe only buy a handful to begin with.
Clothes make popular newborn baby gifts. You may find you get given lots of lovely outfits by friends and family (who also can't resist those cute little clothes).
When your baby is born you may even be given enough clothes to see you through the entire first year, as often other people will buy size 3 months + to ensure they fit.
So if you're on a budget, just buy the essentials.
Babies don't care what they wear (there's plenty of time for that when they're older). They just want to be warm and clean.
When getting your baby dressed, opt for a few light layers of clothing rather than one thick layer.
The layers trap heat between them, and can be added and removed as necessary. You should dress your baby in one more layer than you, so think about what you're wearing and adjust the layers accordingly.
Generally, newborn clothes are categorised as premature (up to 5 lbs), tiny baby (up to 6 lbs), newborn/first size (up to 9 lbs) or 0-3 months (up to 12 lbs), but these measurements can vary slightly from brand to brand.
Unfortunately, you will not know the exact size that is right for your baby until he is born so it's all a bit confusing. Your midwife can take a guess at how big your baby will be, but midwife guesses and even ultrasound predictions are often way out!
Clothes size 0-3 months will be big on a 6 lb baby. An 8 lb baby will never fit into tiny baby clothes and therefore the clothes will never get worn.
If you want to play it safe, buy clothes size 0-3 months. If you have clothes in various sizes keep the tags, packaging and receipts so they can be returned if unsuitable.
Babies grow fast and out of their clothes quickly, especially newborn size, and you will need to buy larger sized clothing before you know it. If you buy too much newborn stuff they may never get to wear it.
Supermarkets sell good quality, cheap packs of sleepsuits and bodysuits. Many other clothing shops, department stores, specialised baby shops and websites also have a wide variety of clothes to choose from.
Whatever newborn clothes you buy and wherever you buy them from the fact remains your baby will go up a size roughly every three months for the first year, so keep that in mind when you're looking at the price tag.
If you spot some bargain baby clothes on sale that are currently too big, you can always buy them and keep them in storage until your baby grows into them.
Take hand me downs from friends and family (unless you have too much stuff already); often you'll find the clothes are in excellent condition because their baby wasn't in them for long.
You can also buy good condition second hand clothes on selling sites such as eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace.
People often sell their baby clothes as bundles for a bargain price, sometimes including items that have never even been worn, and it could save you a fortune.
So to recap, buy baby clothes in size 0-3 months for the best chance of them fitting your baby at birth. Your newborn baby's wardrobe essentials include:
Of course, baby clothes aren't the only things you need to buy for your baby. You need to kit out the nursery, get a pram and a whole host of other things.
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A guide to all the things you need to buy for your baby. Kitting out the nursery, feeding and bathing, nappy changing, baby care, how to choose a pushchair and more.
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