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How Many Baby Clothes Do I Need?

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP
Updated
From onesies to booties, we've got you covered.

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.


Baby Basics

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.

1. Onesies

Product Image of the Hudson Baby Baby Cotton Long-Sleeve Bodysuits, Burgundy Football, 3-6 Months

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.

2. Pants

Product Image of the Touched by Nature Baby Organic Cotton Pants, Navy Gray, 0-3 Months

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.

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3. T-Shirts

Product Image of the Burt's Bees Baby Baby Boys' T-Shirts, Set of 3 Organic Long V-Neck Tees,...

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

Product Image of the Little Me Baby-Boys Monkey Star Footie, Light Blue, Newborn

Nights can be chilly, and loose blankets are a no-no for sleeping babies (2). Footed sleepers can really come in handy, grab four or five.

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.

5. Socks

Product Image of the Little Me 20-Pack Newborn Baby Infant & Toddler Girls Socks, 0-12/12-24 Months,...

Those tiny toes might need a little help to stay warm. Good baby socks, four to seven pairs, should be of a stretchy, breathable material, like these cute ones from Little Me.

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Summer Essentials

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:

1. Shorts

Product Image of the Hanes Ultimate Baby Flexy 3 Pack Adjustable Fit Knit Shorts, Blues, 0-6 Months

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.

2. Hat

Product Image of the i play. Baby Flap Sun Protection Swim Hat, White, 9-18 Months

The hot summer sun can be brutal for adults, so just imagine it on your baby’s sensitive skin. If you plan on taking your new bundle of joy outside, you’ll need a hat.

We recommend having two to three on hand. Something like this flap hat with straps will keep your baby protected (3).

3. Wearable Blanket

Product Image of the HALO Sleepsack Micro-Fleece Wearable Blanket, Baby Blue, Medium

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.

A wearable blanket or sleep sack without sleeves, like this version from Halo, is just fine for moderate climates. These should be lightweight and two should be plenty.

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).

4. Sundress

Product Image of the Touched by Nature Girls, Toddler, Baby and Womens Organic Cotton Short-Sleeve...

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.

5. Swimsuit

Product Image of the Nageuret Reusable Swim Diaper, Adjustable & Stylish Fits Diapers Sizes N-5...

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).

Winter Must-Haves

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.

1. Turtleneck

Product Image of the Leveret Solid'Turtleneck Bodysuit' (6 Months, White)

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.

2. Sweater

Product Image of the Simple Joys by Carter's Baby 2-Pack Neutral Knit Cardigan Sweaters, Grey, 0-3...

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.

3. Jacket

Product Image of the The North Face Infant Reversible Perrito Jacket, Cosmic Blue, 0-3 Months

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

Product Image of the iXtreme Baby Boys' One-Piece Puffer Winter Snowsuit with Hood (Newborn &...

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

Product Image of the N'Ice Caps Little Boys and Baby Sherpa Lined Micro Fleece Pilot Hat Mitten Set...

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.

6. Booties

Product Image of the Luvable Friends Unisex Baby Cozy Fleece Booties, Gray, 0-6 Months

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

Product Image of the Gerber Baby 2 Pack Zip Front Sleep 'n Play, Teddy, 0-3 Months

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.

8. Leggings

Product Image of the Luvable Friends Baby Girls' Cotton Leggings, Black, 9-12 Months

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

Product Image of the Enteer Infant Snow Boots Premium Soft Sole Anti-Slip Warm Winter Prewalker...

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.

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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

Product Image of the Bonnie Baby Baby Peter Pan Collar Nautical Dress and Panty Set, Red, 3-6 Months

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.

If it’s breathable, your baby will likely feel just fine. Go for a dressy romper instead of a tux. Or a soft polyester dress for your sweet girl.

Don’t worry about multiples, here. One dress or suit should be plenty.

2. Coming Home Outfit

Product Image of the Lilax Baby Boy Jewels Crown Layette 4 Piece Gift Set 0-3 Months Gray

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.
Headshot of Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP

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.

Headshot of Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP

Leah Alexander, M.D. FAAP is board certified in General Pediatrics and began practicing pediatrics at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey in 2000. She has been an independently contracted pediatrician with Medical Doctors Associates at Pediatricare Associates of New Jersey since 2005. Outside of the field of medicine, she has an interest in culinary arts. Leah Alexander has been featured on Healthline, Verywell Fit, Romper, and other high profile publications.

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