You are past the double lines of a pregnancy test, and maybe you even know what gender your baby is. Now comes the fun part – buying or receiving the most adorable baby outfits for your little one. You might be wondering, “What should my baby wear?” or “How do I dress a newborn baby?”
Luckily, it’s pretty simple when babies are first born, because they will spend most of the first few months sleeping and eating, and that’s pretty much it. You’ll want lots of comfy sleepers, gowns, and pajamas, as well as a few simple outfits and some weather appropriate accessories. A fancy going-home outfit, or special-occasion clothes are nice to have for pictures or holidays, but for their everyday life you’ll need more durable clothes that can handle messy situations.
Baby clothes sizes
Sizes may vary between types of baby clothes and their manufacturers. Sizes start at preemie, for those born before full-term, then continue to newborn, and go up by months. You may find sizes like 0-3m, 3m, 3-6m, 6m, etc.
Keep in mind that your little one will likely outgrow their clothes in just a few months or even sooner. So it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on, or need a ton of newborn sized clothes, but instead get some basics in a range of sizes up to a year old. Plus, once you find something you like and that works well for your baby, stock up on that particular clothing item in different sizes as well.
How many clothes do newborns need?
As a starting guide, the following is a good amount to begin with:
- six onesies
- six bodysuits
- two bodysuits for sleeping in
- three shirts
- three pants
- two sweaters or jackets (if it’s in winter)
- three baby wraps or an infant sleeping slack
- a couple of hats
- a few pairs of socks
- a couple of blankets
What kinds of clothes do newborns need?
What is most important is that clothes should be comfortable, soft, and easy to take care of. They should also be easy to put on and take off of your baby.
Snaps at the bottom of bodysuits help so you don’t have to undress baby completely when you’re changing diapers. With shirts, snaps across the front help so it doesn’t have to be pulled over your little one’s head, and it’s easier on the sensitive umbilical cord stump, which needs air to dry out.
Clothes made from cotton are a better choice. Cotton is a breathable fabric and it is less likely to irritate your baby’s skin. Cotton clothes will also keep your baby cooler in hot weather than clothes made from synthetic fibers. Plus, it washes well and is gentle against your baby’s sensitive skin. Organic cotton is ideal, but can be more expensive.
What to avoid?
Anything that makes it harder to change baby’s diaper, like no buttons or zippers at the bottom. Tight fitting clothing that does not stretch – which can restrict your newborn’s breathing and circulation. Also avoid any clothing with cords or strings that could potentially wrap around your baby’s neck and put them at risk of choking.
How to dress a newborn to stay warm or cool
Use the 1 more layer rule
A good rule of thumb to remember when dressing your baby is to include one more layer than you are wearing. This will help your baby to be most comfortable. For example, if you are comfortable in one layer of clothing, such as a pair of yoga pants and a long sleeved shirt, then your newborn will need two layers- a onesie and a pair of long sleeve pajamas over it.
In the Winter
In the cold months, add a couple layers of clothing. Newborns lose their body heat easily, so it’s important to keep them very warm. The best way to do this is to layer your newborn’s clothing and add or decrease their layers as needed. Like going from outside to inside, where the temperatures change drastically.
For example, you can dress your newborn in a long sleeve footed jumper with a sweater over it. This way you can remove the sweater if it gets too warm in your home, or add another layer if you need to take your baby out, such as a coat* or pair of button down pajamas. Always include a hat to keep your baby’s head warm, because newborns lose much of their body heat through their heads. Mittens or an outfit that includes hand covers, helps to keep baby warm as well. Just remember to not overheat baby – which can increase the risk of SIDS.
*For safety, do not place your baby in a car seat with their jacket on. Instead use a blanket that can be tucked over them, after being buckled in.
In the Summer
In the warmer months, you can dress your baby in a single layer, such as a short sleeved onesie with no pants or socks. However, if you keep your home really cool in the summer, stick to an extra layer if necessary. In the evening time and at night, a lightweight pair of cotton pajamas works well. When outside, it’s important to keep baby shielded from the sun with a sun hat and longer sleeves. And always opt for shade!
Signs it’s too hot or cold for baby
When babies are too warm, they may look flushed and sweaty or they may start to breathe more rapidly. This can cause them to be cranky and irritable and, in more extreme cases may lead to heat stroke. If baby seems to be overheated, start by removing layers or head inside, and then call your pediatrician or 911 if they do not cool down immediately.
When your baby is too cold, they will not exert the energy it takes to cry, and may also be uninterested in feeding. That’s because their energy is being consumed by trying to stay warm. A baby that is too cold will have cold hands and feet and even baby’s chest will be cold under their clothes. They can easily develop frostbite or hypothermia, so it’s important to warm them up quickly with layers and contact your doctor immediately or call 911, if you see these symptoms.
No matter the season, it’s all about keeping your baby comfortable and protected from the elements. Think layers and follow your gut. If you’re nervous that your baby is too hot or too cold, make a wardrobe adjustment ASAP or head inside to enjoy some temperature-controlled comfort.