Are you getting ready for baby’s arrival? As the last trimester comes to an end, you might be wondering if you have enough clothes for your baby.
As a first-time mom, it can be difficult to imagine how many pieces of baby clothing you’re actually going to need.
Together, we’ll go through everything you need, whether your baby is arriving in summer or winter.
Let’s start with the basic essentials that every baby needs to thrive (1). Here we’ll explain how many of each item to get, and what you might want to look for.
These are a must-have for all babies and you’ll want between four and seven of them. They come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. You can get long-sleeved as well as short.
A good onesie will have a snap closure between the legs and an expandable neckline to go over baby’s head easily. The snap closure is ideal because it prevents a baby from unexpectedly unfastening the adhesive tabs on diapers. Those made from cotton or a cotton blend will be the most comfortable, like these from Hudson Baby.
You need something to keep those chubby thighs warm, right? Two to three pairs of pants are essential, no matter the season.
To make your baby even comfier, pants should be a soft and stretchy material. Something like these pants from Touched by Nature would work well.
T-shirts are great for layering or warm days, but they have to be easy to get on and off. Look for T-shirts with side snaps or an expandable neckline, like this v-neck from Burt’s Bees.
The material should also be breathable and you’ll want between four and five to start out.
4. Footed Sleepers
A footed sleeper without a zipper or buttons is like a car without gas: not functional. If your baby has a late-night diaper explosion, a long zipper or snaps, like this one, will make the change much easier.
In warm weather, it is best to dress your infant in light-weight, single layers of clothing. Touching the hands or feet is a good way to determine whether or not the baby is too warm or cold. If they look flushed and feel hot, the baby is wearing too many layers. Here’s everything your summer-lovin’ baby might need that hasn’t been mentioned yet:
Four to six pairs of shorts would be a welcome addition to your baby’s summer wardrobe. Breathable material is a must, and they should be lightweight, like these from Hanes. For your baby girl, you could buy simple skirts as well.
Avoid jeans, unless they’re thin and stretchy, as these can quickly become uncomfortable for your baby. They can also be difficult to get on and off.
3. Wearable Blanket
Nights can be a bit chilly, even in the summer, and especially if you have a fan or air conditioner on. If your baby’s feet feel cold and have a purple-ish hue, this is a sign he or she may need an additional layer of clothing.
It is important to be sure that your baby does not become overheated while wearing a sleep sack. This can increase the risk of SIDS (4).
If you have a little cutie-patootie, two to three sundresses might come in handy. For quick summer outings, this cotton baby dress from Touched by Nature will be perfect. It might also become a favorite home outfit.
This Nageuret Reusable Swim Diaper could come in handy. For more fun in the sun, it might be a good idea to put your baby in a protective swimsuit, like this one from Sansi. One or two swimsuits and swim diapers should be more than enough.
Remember to keep the baby’s head above water to prevent excessive water ingestion. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend swim classes until the first birthday (5).
For winter babies, you’ll need to master the art of layering. Start with the basic T-shirt, or onesie, and pants, and then bring on the layers. The following list should have you covered.
For an extra layer, opt for a soft long-sleeved shirt or a turtleneck, like this simple one from Leveret.
Just make sure there are snaps, or that the neckline is stretchy, so it’s easy to get on and off. Four to six turtlenecks should do you well.
When going out, dress your baby in a nice warm sweater on top of the onesie. Two to four will provide variation. In mild winter weather, something like this from Carter’s could be enough to keep your baby comfy.
As the weather gets colder, your baby will need a little more to keep warm when outside. A lightweight jacket with a long zipper and hoodie, like this reversible option from North Face, will be great at keeping your baby snug.
One is probably enough, while some may opt for two jackets just in case baby decides to spit up as you’re on the way out the door. Just be sure to remove heavier jackets prior to placing your infant in the carseat. The straps will not secure him or her properly, causing injury in the event of a car accident (6).
4. Snowsuit or Bunting
When the weather becomes frigid, a snowsuit or bunting is heaven-sent. These will bundle your baby up, leaving no skin exposed to the cold air. One should be suitable, unless you have long, wet winters. In that case, maybe an extra is necessary.
Try to look for something with a long zipper. You might also like detachable booties, or built-in feet. Some snowsuits will have foldable feet and sleeves for extra protection. Check out this puffer snowsuit from iXtreme.
While great for keeping baby warm during outdoor winter activities, it should be removed while in a carseat. A warm carseat cover or blanket may be used instead (7).
5. Hat, Mitts, and Thick Socks
Keeping your baby’s extremities warm is vital. A nice warm hat that covers the ears is a must. You’ll need breathable, insulated mittens for freezing temperatures, and socks to keep the feet warm. This microfleece set from N’Ice Caps is a nice package.
You might want to keep an extra pair of everything close at hand when out. Babies drool or gnaw on their fingers, leaving them wet and even colder. We recommend four to seven pairs of thick winter socks, and two to three hats and mittens just in case.
Booties are great for quick outings or extra chilly days at home, and two to four pairs should be plenty. These can quickly be kicked off, so you may want to find something with a form of closure around the ankle, like these fleece booties from Luvable Friends.
7. Warm Pajamas
PJs are fantastic for extra layers. If it’s cold indoors or your baby is going to sleep, throw on some pajamas. Having a few extras in the closet won’t hurt either, three to five in total should be sufficient.
Long zippers or buttons are a must for convenience. You want to be able to make quick changes without too much fuss. This two-pack Sleep N’ Play from Gerber could be a good option.
A warm sleepsack, like this Baby Deedee, might also come in handy if it’s extra chilly.
Those pudgy baby legs need a little layering as well. Soft, stretchy leggings, like these from Luvable Friends, are perfect for winter weather. We recommend having five to seven of them.
9. Snow Boots
You might be feeling tempted to buy your bundle of joy a pair of baby snow boots. However, it probably won’t be necessary. If you’re going out in cold weather, your baby will likely be wearing a snowsuit that already covers the feet.
If you do want to buy snow boots, one pair should be plenty. Try to find something lightweight, insulated and with a soft sole, like these from Enteer.
For Special Occasions
If you happen to have an event that your little one needs to be dressed up for, it’s nice to have at least one sassy outfit handy. Let’s take a look.
1. Dress or Suit
For extra special occasions, you may need a beautiful dress for your girl, or formal outfit for your boy. Don’t forget, a comfortable fabric is important.
Don’t worry about multiples, here. One dress or suit should be plenty.
2. Coming Home Outfit
The coming-home outfit is what your baby will be wearing when coming home for the first time — assuming you didn’t give birth at home, of course! Since they only do this once, one special outfit should suffice.
In clinical practice, many of my parents purchase a “newborn” outfit only to find that it is too small once their baby is born. I would recommend “sizing up” to prevent purchasing an item that the newborn never wears.
Editor's Note:Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP
Some parents like to go all out, while others like it to just be comfy.
Dressing Up or Dressing Down
The amount of clothing you have to buy for your new arrival depends heavily on the season. Summer babies won’t need as many layers as winter newborns.
One thing to always keep in mind is your baby’s comfort. An outfit might look super adorable, or you might feel tempted to buy those teeny-weenie shoes. But, it may not be right for your baby.
Have you made a long list of baby essentials? If you already have kids, is there anything you wish you had or hadn’t bought? Share your thoughts and experiences below.