How Many Newborn Clothes Do You Really Need?

Congratulations, you have a baby on the way! Now comes the fun part – shopping for all those tiny little outfits. But with so many cute options, it’s easy to go overboard. So how many newborn clothes do you really need to get started? Let’s break it down.


When preparing for a newborn, clothes are one of the most exciting purchases – who can resist those teeny socks and onesies? But babies grow incredibly fast, so you don’t need to buy their entire wardrobe before they arrive.

In this article, we’ll cover how many newborn outfits you really need, factors that determine the amount, tips to save money, and newborn clothing essentials. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Plan for 20-30 newborn outfits for the first 3 months
  • Focus on basics like bodysuits, sleepers, pants, and socks
  • Buy clothes in multiple sizes up to 12 months
  • Use hand-me-downs whenever possible
  • Stick to a budget and shop sales for best value

While it’s tempting to buy up every cute outfit, a minimalist approach is best for newborns. Let’s look at why you only need so many clothes and how to shop smart.

How Many Outfits Do Babies Really Need?

Most experts recommend having 20-30 newborn outfits on hand for the first 3 months. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • 5-7 onesies or bodysuits per day for diaper changes
  • 2-3 sleepers or pajamas for nighttime
  • A few pairs of pants, socks, and hats
  • Outfits for special occasions or photos

This gives you enough clothes to dress your baby while allowing for spit-ups, blowouts, laundry days, and inevitable stains. Anything more than 30 outfits is overkill.

Remember, babies grow rapidly in the early months. Most newborns outgrow their clothes after wearing them only a few times. So there’s no need to stock up – you’ll be switching sizes before you know it.

Factors That Determine Exact Number of Outfits

While 20-30 outfits is a safe bet, every baby and family is different. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Climate: Do you live in a warm or cold climate? Colder areas need more layers and sleepers.
  • Season: A summer baby needs fewer clothes than one born in winter.
  • Laundry routine: Frequent wash cycles mean fewer outfit changes needed.
  • Spit up and blowouts: Some babies go through more changes than others!
  • Activities: Will you take baby out and about or mostly stay home?
  • Budget: Stick to necessities if money is tight.

Take your own lifestyle and needs into account. Having a few extra pieces for blowouts or photo ops doesn’t hurt. But 30 outfits should be plenty for an average newborn’s daily routine.

Shop Multiple Sizes for Maximum Value

Here’s an insider tip to save money and headaches: buy clothes in a range of sizes, from newborn through 12 months.

Most babies only fit into newborn size for the first month or two. They outgrow things so fast!

By buying bigger sizes upfront, you prepare for growth spurts and get more use out of each piece. Look for:

  • Newborn clothes (up to 10 lbs)
  • 0-3 months
  • 3-6 months
  • 6-12 months

Mixing sizes gives you options as baby grows. Stick to essentials in the larger sizes. Avoid impulse buys too far into the future.

Pro tip: Look for wide size ranges like 0-12 months or 3-12 months. These keep you covered for multiple growth spurts!

Take Advantage of Hand-me-downs

Accepting hand-me-downs from friends and family is a lifesaver for new parent budgets. Gently used baby clothes get hardly any wear before being outgrown.

Make it known you’re open to receiving cast-offs in good condition. And don’t feel obligated to keep pieces you dislike. Feel free to re-donate items that don’t work for you.

When accepting hand-me-downs:

  • Make sure clothes are in good shape with no stains or excessive wear.
  • Wash everything before baby wears it.
  • Don’t feel pressured to keep more than you need. Pass it on to another family.
  • Focus on the essentials like onesies, pants, and pajamas.

Used clothes in great condition help offset the cost of buying new. See what you can get from other moms first, then shop for whatever is missing.

Set a Budget and Shop Smart

Clothes shopping for a newborn can get expensive fast. Setting a budget prevents overspending on tiny outfits they’ll quickly outgrow.

Here are great tips to keep costs down:

  • Buy multipacks of basic onesies and sleepers to maximize value.
  • Shop off-season for the best deals on next year’s sizes.
  • Check sale racks first and resist impulse buys.
  • Combine full-price key pieces with budget-friendly multipacks.
  • Skip fancy outfits for holidays and photos. Keep it simple.
  • Compare prices online and use coupons when possible. Sign up for store emails.
  • Buy eco-friendly basics like organic cotton that can be passed down.
  • Join clothing exchanges online to swap gently used items locally.

With smart shopping, you can pick up everything you need on a new parent’s budget.

10 Newborn Clothing Essentials

Focus your newborn wardrobe on the essentials. Here are the top 10 clothing items every new mom needs:

1. Bodysuits

Baby bodysuits are the foundation of any newborn wardrobe. Known as onesies, they easily layer under other clothes and are great for diaper changes. Stock up on 5-7 per day in sizes newborn to 12 months. Choose simple solids and whites for mixing and matching. Look for multipacks to save.

2. Sleepers and pajamas

Comfy pajamas for sleeping are another newborn must-have. Choose styles with easy access for diaper changes. You’ll need 2-3 per day. Opt for breathable cotton, muslin, or bamboo fabrics to prevent overheating. Buy different sizes as babies spend a lot of time sleeping those early months!

3. Pants

Easy pull-on pants, leggings, and sweats make dressing simple in the early days. They help keep little legs warm and comfy. Look for soft, stretchy fabrics that allow for movement. You’ll need several pairs of pants in each size for outfit flexibility.

4. Socks

Newborns need plenty of sweet little socks to keep their feet warm and protected. Stretchy socks stay on best. Buy multiples in higher sizes since babies kick them off often. You can never have too many baby socks!

5. Hats

Hats help regulate a newborn’s temperature. Plan to have 3-5 hats on hand for indoor and outdoor wear. Look for adjustable options that accommodate growth. Keep extras in diaper bags and cars for on-the-go warmth.

6. Bibs

Bibs catch inevitable dribbles, spit up, and messy eating. They prolong the life of clothes between washings. Buy at least a dozen infant bibs for frequent changes. Bibs also make great burp cloths. Mix colors and patterns for an endlessly useful staple.

7. Jackets and sweaters

Depending on your climate, sweaters and light jackets provide an extra layer of warmth over bodysuits. Look for soft natural fabrics and whimsical details. For colder areas, have several heavier jackets and bunting bags ready for the weather.

8. Swaddles

Swaddle blankets securely wrap infants to aid sleep and prevent scratching. They also add warmth and comfort. Stock up on 4-5 large cotton muslin swaddles to use over pajamas. Swaddles often double as stroller covers, nursing covers, and more.

9. Burp cloths

Multipurpose cotton burp cloths catch messes during and after feeding. They provide extra padding on shoulders when burping. Keep a stash of 10-12 in the nursery, diaper bag, and anywhere you feed baby. Change them out multiple times a day in the early weeks.

10. Diaper shirt or kimono bodysuit

Diaper shirts and kimono-style bodysuits make middle-of-the-night changing a breeze. The side snaps provide easy access without unfastening a whole onesie. A few kimono pieces mixed into the bodysuit collection are a lifesaver!

Wrapping Up

Preparing your newborn’s wardrobe doesn’t have to be overwhelming or expensive. Stick to the essentials, take advantage of hand-me-downs, set a budget, and shop smart.

Aim for around 20-30 outfits in varying sizes for the first 3 months. Focus on basics like bodysuits, pajamas, pants, and socks that make dressing simple. Then sit back and enjoy seeing your sweet baby wear those tiny clothes!

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