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What Clothes Do I Need for a Newborn?

sleeping newborn baby

If you’re asking yourself, “What clothes do I need for a newborn?,” you’re definitely not alone! Buying clothes for an infant under three months seems easy—until you are actually the new parent who is doing it. You’ll need the right sizes and styles for both day and night, but you’ll also need to consider how easy it is to get your little one dressed. At this early stage, the materials you choose should also be soft, comfortable and gentle on the skin.

Having a comprehensive list of newborn clothing essentials at the ready will help you save both time and money. If you’re expecting, it’ll make it easier to tell your loved ones what you need and can even help you build your registry. Explore our guide to understand which garments will make for comfy days and cozy nights. Once you know the basics, you can have fun building your newborn’s wardrobe with seasonal colors and accessories!

Basic Newborn Clothing Essentials

Every baby is unique, making it nearly impossible to predict what size they’ll fit into on their birthday. In most cases, infants will wear either Newborn or 0-3 months outfits when they’re first born. Those who make their debut early may need Preemie size clothing. As a general rule of thumb, get your little one’s essentials in sizes Newborn and 0-3. If you need Preemie items, you can always order them online or ask a friend to grab them from the store.

By purchasing the basics in the two main sizes, you’ll also be ready for upcoming growth spurts. For most essentials, we recommend five to seven total garments in each size. While many parents like white or neutral hues, garments in these colors may show staining. Don’t be afraid to mix it up with your favorite colors and patterns, which can make dressing more fun—and hide impromptu spit-ups. Here’s a full breakdown of what you’ll need:

baby on white sheets

Basic Newborn Clothing Essentials

  • Take Me Home Outfit: Bringing baby home from the hospital is a celebration worthy of a special outfit! Popular choices include matching gown and hat ensembles as well as infant take me home sets, which usually include a bodysuit, pants, pajamas and a beanie. If it’s cold outside, a patterned sleeper and cap is still cute enough for photos. Opt for comfortable instead of dressy. The most important thing is that baby is content during the car ride. An outfit in each size should be enough.
  • Bodysuits: These are the tried and true newborn classics. Since they are one piece and snap at the bottom, they make for easy diaper changes. Ask any experienced parent and they’ll tell you that you really can’t have too many. They come in long and short sleeves, so consider if you need one type or both depending on the season in which your child is born. Layer them with pants or shorts to create a quick, cute ensemble. Onesies® Brand bodysuits come in white as well as a rainbow of other colors. If you prefer, you can even get them in plush organic cotton.
  • Tops: The most common styles of tops for newborns include kimono shirts that snap on the side and tees that easily stretch at the shoulders and over your baby’s head. If you want to play a little dress up, you can ask for fancy blouses. At a minimum, you should get a few white tops as well as three to four other colors for mixing and matching with your favorite bottoms.
  • Pants: Leggings and stretchy pants are most popular for baby girls. Newborn boys look great in pull-on sweats and elastic waist “jeans.” Choose basic colors like black, blue and cream for creating effortlessly adorable outfits. While they may look cute, button fly and zipper pants make frequent diaper changes more difficult. Opt for simple styles with embellishments like bows and faux pockets.
  • Sleepers: One piece pajamas with feet are simple to put on and will keep your baby warm in cooler weather. Look for ones with zippers that run from top to bottom. If you have a child who is exceptionally tall, try footless PJs.
  • Socks: Since your little one won’t be wearing shoes for a while, stock up on both white and colored socks. They’ll keep toes toasty and protect their feet while you’re outdoors. Look for ones that fold over so they’re less likely to slip off.
  • Hats: Baby beanies will help keep your child warm in those delicate first few weeks. Most parents like to get a few styles in different colors so they can mix and match with their outfits.

Weather-Specific and Outdoor Gear

  • Coats and Jackets: Fall and winter babies will need outerwear, even for quick trips from your home to the car. Have at least one light jacket and a heavier coat in each size. Select styles that zip or snap.
  • Hats: Fresh air is healthy for mom and baby. If you plan on taking walks in the first few months, decide whether you’ll need a sun hat or wool cap. Some bucket and beach styles come with SPF protection, which helps before baby can use sunscreen.
  • Sweaters and Hoodies: Easy zip hoodies and sweaters with collar snaps are both trendy and convenient. Three to four sweaters and one to two hoodies are enough for layering with bodysuits and tops.
  • Shorts: Summer babies can use three to four pairs of shorts in each size. Put them over flowery bodysuits or pair them with graphic tees for a cute warm-weather look. Bloomers made to look like denim are adorable on newborn girls, while khaki shorts and cargo styles are fun for boys.

newborn baby

Helpful Extras for Newborns

  • Wearable Blankets and Swaddles: The ideal temperature for newborn sleeping and naps is around 70 degrees. Pair a wearable blanket or swaddle with a bodysuit, sleep suit or footless pajamas to help your little one sleep tight. Muslin and light cotton materials are best for spring and summer, while heavier cotton and flannel make for warm fall and winter evenings. Grab two to three of them so you always have one clean even if you don’t feel like doing the laundry.
  • Holiday and Formalwear: While you probably won’t be taking baby out a lot in the first few months, a holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving may prompt you to take pictures or visit family. Since you will have little time to shop once your little one is born, be sure to get fancy dresses or bow ties and suspenders ahead of time.

Keeping Your Newborn Comfy, Clean and Stylish

Once you bring your little one home, life gets busy! Use this guide to be sure you have the right gear ahead of time. If you end up having too much of the wrong size, don’t worry. You can always gift them, donate them or exchange them for larger ones. Over time, you may find you prefer to dress baby in bodysuits and shorts or complete three-piece sets. Stock up on what you and baby like best for an easygoing and stylish first year!