How Many Baby Clothes Do I Need to Buy?
Time to read 14 min
Time to read 14 min
Table of Content
While you’re out shopping for maternity clothes during your pregnancy, it’s fun to start drifting into the baby section. It’s also overwhelming.
Knowing how many baby clothes you should be prepared with before your newborn arrives can feel like you’re playing a guessing game. Especially for a first-time parent starting from scratch.
If you’re having a baby shower, you can count on friends and family to gift you clothes. Even if you get specific on your baby registry, some people will want to give baby clothes that are best saved for special occasions and maybe less practical for day-to-day use.
So, what should you buy and how many do you need of each item? Here’s a guide to buying baby clothes for your little one.
There’s a lot to consider when you’re stocking up on newborn essentials.
●Which sizes should you purchase in advance?
●How many outfits will you go through in a day?
●How hot or cold will it be when the baby arrives?
●Keep these things in mind when you’re adding clothes to your cart.
Babies like to be warm. Can you blame them? They spent the first months of their life in the womb never experiencing cold.
Once they make their big debut—whether it’s at the hospital or at home—they need clothes that simulate the comfort they’re used to.
One recommendation is to dress your newborn in one additional layer more than what you’re wearing. Putting a onesie under just about any outfit should keep your baby sufficiently warm.
Are you someone who likes to stay home on the weekends or do you plan to tote your tot out to your annual camping trip as soon as possible?
If your baby is joining you on adventures, you’ll want to add more pairs of socks, fleece sleep sacks, and sweaters to your baby clothes checklist.
Adding items will presumably increase your overall clothing expenses so if you’re on a budget, look for clothing items that you can use again later.
Long-sleeved bodysuits are great as an extra layer when you’re out in the cold and then worn on their own when you make your way back home.
Think about how often you already do your own laundry. You can typically count on going through three baby outfits per day—a daytime outfit, a nighttime outfit, and an extra outfit somewhere in between.
If you want to be washing clothes frequently, then stick to just enough clothes for each day. If you prefer to wash bigger laundry loads less often, double up on the number of clothes you buy.
Your baby’s height and weight will be a surprise, so get some different size options ready.
It’s okay to grab a few of the tiniest clothes, but even a baby that fits newborn size perfectly at birth will outgrow them quickly.
Clothes in 0-3 month size are a safe bet for most new babies. When in doubt, pick the next size up. A top that’s too tight isn’t comfortable for anyone.
How many clothes you buy also depends on what kind of space you have to keep them in.
To make the most of your space, invest in a quality piece to keep you organized. The Dresser from Nurture& has seven drawers to hold everything your baby needs.
You can have one drawer to throw all the baby socks into, and a separate drawer to keep the little cardigans neatly folded. With the option to extend the sides of The Dresser for more surface area, you can up the number of clothes you keep.
Add the matching Changing Topper to use the dresser as a changing table and have quick access to a new outfit when you’re done cleaning them up.
There are so many clothes to choose from, and babies look cute in everything. How can you decide what’s most important to spend your money on?
There are a few staple newborn essentials you’ll want to have on hand when your baby arrives.
They are a base for any outfit or can be worn alone if your baby is born during a warm time of year.
Onesies fit snugly around your baby’s body. The snaps at the bottom keep the top from riding up so you know they’re always covered.
They come in about every color and design you can imagine, for unlimited matching potential. If you’re going to go overboard with anything, go with the onesies.
To get your wardrobe started, the Hello World bundle includes one hat, one onesie, and one blanket made of 100% organic Pima cotton.
These are ideal for newborn babies because they are so easy to get on and off. Most sleeper gowns are sized to fit a six-month range because of the extra length of the gown style.
I’s full body coverage without the hassle of removing layers every two hours for diaper changes.
Since they are open at the bottom, all you have to do is pull it up when you need diaper access and pull it back down when you’re done. They usually have long sleeves with a cuffed end to put over your baby’s hands like mittens.
The looser fit is perfect for the first two weeks, when you’re waiting for the umbilical cord to fall off.
This is a big range, but it depends on your need for bodysuits with long sleeves instead of onesies with short sleeves. You can get a good idea of how many to buy based on the time of year your baby is born.
A summer baby can have only 1 to 3 bodysuits for cooler evenings, but you won’t need as many. If you have a winter baby, this may be a more heavy staple in your nursery with just as many as the short sleeve onesies.
A long sleeve bodysuit can be used underneath a sweater or swaddle to keep your baby warm. Securing the snaps gives you peace of mind that the bodysuit will stay in place and a breeze won’t chill your baby’s back.
Besides being totally adorable, hats will serve an important purpose in the first few weeks with your new baby as they still need help regulating their body temperature.
Putting a hat on your baby while they’re awake keeps them from losing their natural body heat. You can use the same one day after day, but we recommend keeping a second one in the car for convenience.
The Stay Cozy set includes a onesie and a matching hat, designed to keep your little one warm and cozy during those early days. It also comes in three different patterns because options are important when it comes to your infant’s wardrobe selection!
During the first year of your baby’s life, pants are optional most of the time.
If you’re taking your baby out during a cooler time of year, or if you want to complete a cute outfit, pick a handful of pants to choose from.
For the hotter months, consider a few pairs of shorts.
Look for bottoms made from a stretchy material and with an elastic waist. As cute as those tiny denim jeans look, they are a pain to pull on and off at every diaper change.
Those sweet baby feet are adorable to look at, but they get cold. Keep plenty of baby socks around to cover them up.
A pair for each day of the week is pretty easy to have since most come in packs of six or ten.
When babies are squirming around and kicking their feet, those little socks slide right off. Keep an extra pair in your diaper bag and opt for a crew style that comes up a little higher on the leg.
Your baby may still get them off with their ninja kicks, but you’ll notice it dangling off the foot before it completely falls off.
Okay, they aren’t technically considered a piece of clothing, but still an important newborn essential.
Blankets Are Multifunctional
A plush heavy blanket is great to tuck around a baby’s legs in the car seat after they’re buckled.
A thin muslin or flannel receiving blanket makes the perfect swaddle to tuck them in at nap time.
Blankets can also do a lot of spit-up catching and may save you from a complete outfit change.
The Cuddle Me combo of one blanket and one hat can take the place of an outfit when you use them together to keep your baby warm.
These are a worry-free option for covering up your baby at bedtime.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping a baby’s sleep space free of blankets or other loose bedding until at least one year of age.
A sleep sack zips or velcros to stay in place to keep any fabric from moving up around the baby’s face. Sleep sacks come with or without sleeves. Some of them tuck the baby’s arms in tight for a womb-like feel.
Find a style you like and buy an extra so that you’ll have a backup when the first one needs washing after a 3 AM diaper blowout.
These come in handy most of the year. From fall to winter and on into spring. Anytime you have your baby outside, you’ll want a jacket or sweater for an extra layer.
A blanket could do the job, but sometimes it’s more convenient to have a jacket that zips or buttons closed around your baby’s body.
A sweater gives babies more freedom to move their arms than a blanket would while they’re out exploring.
Since babies don’t typically spend long stretches of time outside, you can definitely get away with just one of each.
Both of these are nice to have, but not absolute deal breakers, so choose what works for you.
Mittens aren’t just for keeping little fingers toasty. They also keep sharp baby fingernails from scratching.
While babies are learning to control their arms and hands, anything that comes within swiping distance—including their own face—is bound to get scratched.
Booties are a thicker replacement or addition to socks.
The ones with velcro tend to stay on better and serve as a good barrier for your baby’s feet before they need shoes. If you’re looking to save some money, stocking up on a few more pairs of socks to cover your baby's hands and feet will do the trick.
There may be some extras that become important depending on the time of year your baby is born.
A sun hatin the summer months is a must to protect your baby’s skin on a hot day.
A snowsuit in the winter will ensure that your little one can be outside with you and still be comfortable.
These are things you won’t need every day and are safe from most messes, so having only one is fine.
Here’s the breakdown:
4-6 Sleeper Gowns
4-5 Pairs of Pants or Shorts
6-7 Pairs of Socks
1-2 Sleep Sacks
1 Jacket and 1 Sweater
1-2 Pairs of Mittens and Booties
1 Seasonal Extra
This checklist is meant to point you in the right direction. You can alter these numbers and add items that are important to you and fit your personal lifestyle.
Now that you have the clothes you need, here’s how you can use them to dress your baby appropriately for different situations.
Entering a world with constantly changing weather and temperature fluctuations is a shock to your baby’s body. Choosing your little one’s outfit according to the weather will keep your baby comfortable and protect their delicate skin.
Add layers. A single-layer outfit may not be enough to keep a baby warm on a cold day even if it’s long-sleeved. Add an extra layer to help your baby retain their natural body heat.
Full coverage. Make sure no little body parts are left out in the cold. Cover your baby from head to toe, literally. Don’t forget a hat that comes down over the ears and a pair of socks—or two—to protect those tiny feet.
Use blankets outside. Although adults usually keep their blankets in their beds, baby blankets are best used when your little one is exposed to cold weather. Tuck a blanket around their legs while they’re in the stroller or use it to shield their whole body from the wind as you carry them from the car into the store.
Car seat safety. Keeping your newborn from getting too cold is extremely important, but shouldn’t compromise car seat safety. Prepare for your car ride by dressing your baby in thin layers topped with a fleece sweater.
Prevent overheating. After you’ve gone to great lengths to keep your baby warm, make sure you’re regularly checking that they’re not getting too hot. Just like adults, when babies have their cold gear on and then change environments like coming into a warm house, the blankets and extra layers need to be removed.
Leave blankets out of the bed. Even on the coldest days of the year, keep your baby comfortable and safe at sleep time by dressing them in extra layers of clothes, a sleep sack, or a swaddle while they rest.
Remove layers. In hot weather, you can put your baby in a single layer of clothing. You might still dress them in two layers to sleep comfortably on a cool night, but remember to remove one layer in the morning as the temperature rises.
Use a lightweight hat. Protect your baby from the sun with a hat. The top of your baby’s head and face needs to be shielded from direct sunlight to avoid sunburn. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is damaging to your baby’s skin and eyes.
Choose thin and breathable materials. A thin, cotton, short-sleeved onesie is all your newborn baby needs on the hottest, humid days. Thick, heavy fabrics against your baby’s skin can cause a rash or chaffing if they start to sweat.
Aim for shade. If you plan to be outside for an extended period of time, find a spot of shade to lounge in with your baby. Take advantage of the natural shade provided by trees or pack an umbrella to make your own. Most strollers have adjustable shade covers to protect your baby from direct sunlight while you’re out.
On mild days, when the temperature is not too extreme one way or the other, remember this:
Layer accordingly. During the in-between weather, there’s less overheating or being too cold to worry about. Still, you can use layering as a way to find the sweet spot of a comfortable temperature for your little one.
Keep your baby dry. Water can effectively help you and your baby cool down on a hot day, but when the temperature is mild, being wet can quickly lead to feeling too cold.
Still use sun protection. Although it may feel cool outside, harmful UV rays can affect your baby’s skin even on a cloudy day. Continue to be aware of how much time you spend outside with your baby. Use hats and stay in the shade when possible.
Certain activities might require a specific combination of clothes. These useful tips can help you sort out what you’ll need based on the situation.
Your baby’s everyday clothes should focus on style, comfort, and accessibility.
In the Car
Appropriate clothing while your baby is in their car seat is a must for keeping them safe and comfortable.
A single-layer outfit is preferred for the correct placement of the car seat straps and buckles. If needed, you can tuck a light blanket around your baby’s legs after they’re buckled in.
Having pants on—or shorts on a hot day—protects those chubby legs from getting pinched in a car seat buckle, and the strap from rubbing against their skin.
Your baby’s sleeping clothes are different than the clothes you’ll dress them in throughout the day.
Less is more when it comes to a bedtime outfit. Focus on maintaining a comfortable room temperature while your baby sleeps so you can dress them in a single-layer baby gown or sleeper. This not only keeps them from overheating but also gives you easy diaper access for late-night changes.
A onesie or bodysuit can be used as pajamas when the room is warm enough. These baby clothes allow your little one to move freely in their sleep space.
Use a sleep sack—or swaddle for a baby who can’t roll yet—to act as their blanket if they need an extra covering.
If you’re looking for more information on what you need for your baby, check out our blog for tips and advice. Everything Nurture& has to offer is designed for parents, by parents to help you on your journey through pregnancy and parenthood.
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