How to Buy the Best Baby Clothes

How Many Baby Clothes Do You Need In Each Size?

Pregnant woman shopping for baby clothes
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Shopping for tiny, adorable clothes is one of the best parts of getting ready for a baby. Here's what to look for as you choose clothes for your new baby.

Don't Buy Too Many Newborn Sizes

Babies grow incredibly fast in the first few weeks of life. Some babies only fit into newborn size clothing for a short time. Some don't fit into newborn sizes at all! If you receive a lot of newborn clothing as gifts, try exchanging some of them for larger sizes if possible. You may also want to keep the tags on the clothing until you know whether or not your newborn will be able to wear that size at all.

How Does It Go On and Off?

Babies are able to bend in lots of interesting shapes, but it's easiest for everyone if you don't have to turn baby into a contortionist for diaper changes and baths. Check to see that the clothing has a full snap opening at the bottom or a long zipper on the front. If the clothes are meant to be pulled over baby's head, be sure the neck opening is soft and very stretchy so you don't have to tug it over baby's head.

Easy Care is Important

Unless it's for a very special occasion, baby clothes that can't be washed and dried by machine require way too much effort for most new parents. Check the labels of any clothes you consider for your newborn. You might be surprised to learn that there are more hand-wash-only and dry-clean-only baby clothes on the market than you would have guessed!

Baby's Comfort is Key

Snaps, zippers and elastics can be sources of discomfort for baby if they are in the wrong spot or are tight against baby's skin. Look for clothing that has a layer of fabric between your baby and the zipper, make sure elastic is covered and check snaps for rough edges that might be against the skin.

Layering Works for Baby

Babies usually need one additional layer of clothing over what adults would wear, unless it's hot. Choose clothes that allow you to layer so you can easily add or remove clothes to keep baby comfortable. If you live in a place that gets cold, consider buying a fleece snowsuit instead of heavier, thicker options. Bulky clothes are rarely comfortable for baby and you shouldn't use anything thicker than fleece in baby's car seat anyway.

Baby Socks and Shoes

Baby socks are considered a must-have, particularly if your baby arrives in cold weather. It may take some trial and error to find socks that fit your baby's foot well. Baby socks tend to fall off a lot, so you may need to have several pairs on hand for replacements. While newborns and pre-walkers don't need shoes, some parents prefer to put soft shoes on for style purposes or just to keep baby's socks on. It's up to you, but if you buy baby shoes, they should be soft and have a wide top opening so you don't have to struggle to get baby's foot inside. Remember that baby will chew on the shoes, too.

Watch for Hazards on Baby Clothes

While many baby clothes manufacturers are very careful about the kinds of clothing they sell for babies, sometimes dangerous items slip through and make it into stores. Check baby clothes for loose buttons, zipper pulls that could detach, and appliques or embellishments that could be chewed or pulled off and any long strings that could catch on things. Remember that federal safety standards for baby clothes prohibit full drawstrings that could become caught on things or strangle a baby.