How Many Newborn Clothes Do I Need? The Complete Baby Wardrobe Guide

Adding a newborn baby to your family is an exciting and overwhelming time. As you prepare your nursery and buy all the gear you’ll need those first few months, one of the biggest questions most expecting parents have is how many newborn clothes do I need to buy?

With their small size and rapid growth, planning a newborn wardrobe can be tricky. Babies go through clothes so quickly, you may worry about having enough outfits for all those diaper changes and explosions of bodily fluids. But you also don’t want to go overboard buying clothes they’ll quickly outgrow.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to build the perfect newborn wardrobe. From practical basics to cute extras, we’ll cover the key factors to keep in mind and provide specific recommendations on exactly how many clothes and what types to buy.

Key Takeaways

  • Plan for 8-12 onesies and sleepers, 5-8 pants/leggings, and 2-3 pairs of shoes as the core practical items.
  • Allow for 10-20 extra daytime outfits for going out, photos and variety.
  • Focus mostly on simple bodysuits, footed sleepers and stretchy pants that are easy to layer and change.
  • Buy more 0-3 month and 3-6 month sizes than newborn since babies grow out of that size quickly.
  • Consider your climate, season and personal style preferences when building your baby clothes wardrobe.

How Many Outfits Do Newborns Really Need?

To decide how many clothes you need for your newborn, first consider how a baby that young will actually spend their days those first couple months. Here are some key points:

  • Newborns sleep 16-18 hours per day. You’ll go through fewer daytime outfits than you may realize! Focus on lots of sleepers.
  • Babies need up to 12 diaper changes per day. Outfits will get soiled frequently. Prioritize easy changes.
  • They quickly grow out of smaller sizes. Buy more 0-3 and 3-6 month clothes over newborn size.
  • You’ll take hundreds of photos! Get extra cute clothes for pictures and special occasions.
  • Weather and climate impacts needs. Colder climates need more layers and warm clothes.

While every baby is different, most experts recommend having around 25-35 outfits or pieces for the newborn stage:

  • 8-12 footed pajamas or sleepers
  • 5-8 pants, leggings or shorts
  • 8-10 onesies or shirts
  • 2-3 sweaters or jackets
  • 2-3 pairs of shoes/booties
  • 10-20 extra outfits for going out, photos, variety

This provides enough clothes to meet all practical needs in those early months, with extras for cuteness and those explosive diapers.

Building a Versatile Newborn Wardrobe

Here are the key items to focus on when starting your baby’s wardrobe:


The basic bodysuit or “onesie” is a newborn wardrobe staple. They easily layer under other clothes and make diaper changes simple. For practicality, aim for:

  • 8-12 short sleeve onesies for warm weather
  • 5-8 long sleeve onesies for cooler temps

Buy “side snap” style rather than “over the head” onesies which are tricky to get on a wriggly newborn. Look for ones with fold over mittens to keep babies from scratching.


Also called footed pajamas, sleepers are a lifesaver for nights and naps. Get:

  • 8-12 footed sleepers, some with zippers for easy diaper access

Swaddle sacks can also be used for sleeping.

Pants and Leggings

For bottoms, pants and leggings that pull on easily work best.

  • 5-8 pairs of stretchy pants or leggings for layering with onesies

Soft sweatpants, joggers and jeggings allow diaper changes without having to remove shoes and socks.

Sweaters and Jackets

Depending on your climate, have a few lightweight layers for warmth without overheating:

  • 2-3 cardigans, hoodies or jackets

Look for zip-up sweatshirts and button sweaters that make access for nursing/diaper changes simple.

Socks and Booties

Babies lose socks easily with all that kicking and wriggling! Stock up on:

  • 10-12 pairs of small socks
  • 2-3 pairs of booties for warmth over footed PJs

Get some grippy socks with rubber bottoms to prevent slips and falls as they start attempting steps.


While not technically needed for newborns, a couple pairs of cute shoes can round out the wardrobe:

  • 2-3 pairs of soft shoes or booties.

Options like moccasins, cloth shoes or leather booties provide both foot warmth and adorable photo ops!

Essential Extras

In addition to the basic wardrobe staples, here are some optional extra pieces to consider:

Extra Day Outfits

Have 10-20 extra daytime clothing items beyond the sleepers, onesies and pants for:

  • Running errands
  • Doctor check-ups
  • Family gatherings
  • Photo ops

Mix and match with onesies, pants, shirts, sweaters, rompers and dresses for maximum variety.

Special Occasion Outfits

It’s fun to get 1-3 fancier outfits for:

  • Family photos
  • Baby shower debut
  • Holidays like Halloween, Christmas, Easter
  • Other milestones like hospital going home outfit

Newborn photoshoots are popular – get something photogenic! Footed pajamas with cute prints or sayings also make great keepsake photos.

Coats, Mittens, Hats

If you live in a cold climate, you’ll need warm outerwear like:

  • A coat or snowsuit
  • Mittens that attach to sleeves
  • Warm hats that tie under chin
  • Stroller blankets

Don’t forget sunhats and swimwear if you’re in warmer locations!

Bibs and Burp Cloths

Stock up on 5-10:

  • Bibs to keep clothes clean during feedings
  • Burp cloths to cover up during nursing or spit ups

Bibs with built-in burp cloths are convenient 2-in-1 options.

Shopping Tips

Here are some top tips for buying and choosing newborn clothes:

  • Focus on natural fabrics like cotton rather than scratchy synthetics.
  • Seek out soft organic fabrics if baby has sensitive skin.
  • Choose flexible sizing that will last – avoid newborn only sizes.
  • Get clothes with oversized neck openings and stretchy fabrics that are easy to put on.
  • Seek out two way zippers, envelope shoulders, side snaps and other features to make diapering easier.
  • Buy gender neutral colors and patterns if you don’t know the sex.
  • Register for clothes in a range of sizes like 0-3, 3-6 and 6-9 months since babies grow so quickly.
  • Look for affordable multipacks of onesies and sleepers for cost savings.
  • Get stain resistant fabrics for easier cleaning.
  • Add some special monogrammed or personalized items for memorable keepsakes.
  • Ask for gift cards so you can shop sales on off-season items after birth.

Clothing Budget

Having a baby comes with many expenses. But you don’t need to spend a fortune on their wardrobe if you shop smart. Here are some tips to keep costs down:

  • Buy secondhand. Look for gently used baby clothes at consignment shops, thrift stores or online exchanges.
  • Register for clothes so friends and family can gift some.
  • Prioritize versatile basics like onesies and footed PJs over trendy expensive outfits.
  • Take advantage of sales and clearance racks. Babies don’t know what’s in style!
  • Buy ahead – look for discounts on next season’s clothes.
  • Accept hand-me-downs from family and friends with older kids.
  • Stick to a reasonable budget – no need for an $500 wardrobe!

With smart shopping, you can likely get a starter newborn wardrobe for $150-$300. Remember, babies grow so fast they barely wear most clothes. Focus on practicality over perfection.

How to Handle Clothing As Gifts

Expecting parents often receive many clothes as baby shower or new baby gifts. Here are some tips on managing the influx:

  • Register for clothes so you get items you actually need and the right sizes.
  • Ask close family if they’d be willing to go in together on pricier items like strollers, nursery furniture, etc. rather than all clothes.
  • Don’t open every gift at your shower – keep a record of who gave you what to send thank yous.
  • Exchange duplicates for different sizes or unused items for something you still need.
  • If you receive too many clothes, consider donating gently used extras to charity.
  • For gifts that don’t fit your needs, focus on the thought – the giver will just be excited to see your baby wearing it.
  • Share any big hand-me-downs with expecting friends who may appreciate high quality freebies.

Gifts often provide more clothes than any one baby can wear. With some organization, you can make the most of generosity from friends and family.

Must-Have Newborn Clothing Checklist

Here’s a quick checklist of newborn clothes to have on hand those first few months:

✅ 8-12 onesies ✅ 8-12 footed sleepers ✅ 5-8 pants and leggings ✅ 2-3 sweaters and jackets ✅ 10-12 pairs of socks ✅ 2-3 pairs of booties or shoes ✅ 10-20 extra daytime outfits ✅ 1-3 special occasion outfits ✅ Cold weather gear if needed

With the essentials covered along with some cute extras, you’ll be prepared to dress your bundle of joy no matter the occasion while staying within a reasonable budget.


How many onesies do I need?

8-12 onesies is recommended, with both short and long sleeves for layering. Extras allow you to still have clean onesies while others are in the wash.

What’s better – zipper or snap sleepers?

Zippers make late night diaper changes easier without fully waking baby, but snaps allow adjustable sizing. Get a mix of both.

How many pajamas and sleepers are needed?

Have at least 8-12 footed pajamas or sleepers since babies spend so much time sleeping those first few months.

Do babies need shoes as newborns?

Babies don’t actually need shoes until starting to walk, but 2-3 pairs of booties or soft shoes are nice for warmth and pictures.

What clothing do I need for the hospital bag?

Pack 2-3 onesies, 1-2 sleepers, 1 outfit for going home photos and 1-2 lightweight blankets. Hospitals provide necessities like diapers.

The Key is Flexibility!

While it’s helpful to have a rough idea of how many clothes to shop for, remember to stay flexible. You may find your particular baby has preferences, grows at a different pace or requires less changes than average.

The most practical items are stretchy onesies, sleepers and pants since they have versatility and longevity. Beyond the basics, you can have fun mixing and matching extras. Don’t stress about finding the perfect looks – just focus on easily changeable comfort and you’ll be dressing your baby for success!