How Long Will My New Baby Wear Newborn Baby Clothes?

Find out how long babies wear newborn clothes and what sizes to buy instead

Man holding forehead against newborn son
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Q: At my baby shower, I received thirty-three (33!) newborn baby clothes outfits. Some are bodysuits, some pajamas, and some are just everyday outfits. Does my baby really need thirty-three newborn outfits? How long will he really wear newborn sizes?

A: Newborn baby clothes are one of the most commonly gifted items at showers and upon a baby's birth, and retailers know it. Sadly, your baby won't wear them for long.

In the name of making a dollar, retailers sell these irresistibly cute clothes in the tiniest of sizes, bundling them into layettes, coming-home packages, congratulations sets and a host of other ways, and marketing them as "must-haves."

They know that not many people can resist the lure of newborn baby clothes.

The fact is, your baby will not wear newborn sizes for long; if your baby weighs 8 lbs or less at birth, you can plan on him wearing newborn sizes for three to four weeks. If your baby is larger than 8 lbs, it will be less.

You are far better off returning the newborn baby clothes and purchasing the next size up: 0-3 months. Depending on how fast your baby grows, you could get eight to 10 weeks out of this size. Better yet, buy several outfits in the next size after that, 3-6 months. Chances are that your baby can wear them them earlier than 3 months even if they are still a bit big.

Just roll up long pants and long sleeves if they're too big. You'll get more use out of them this way. 

A few tips for gift givers: stay away from buying newborn clothing for moms-to-be. These clothes are simply way too tiny for most babies. A great size to buy is 3-6 months or even larger so that the mom-to-be can have clothes for her little one down the road.

Another useful gift for moms-to-be are baby closet dividers that hang on the clothes rack in the closet and divide clothes into sizes: newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6 months, 9 months and so on. These dividers help organize all the sizes of clothes so that parents can easily identify the size they need and grab it and go.

In closing, I do have one disclaimer. Some retailers, the GAP is a good example, sell newborn baby clothes that include ages birth to 12 months, along with the standard sizing. As you well know, this is a large discrepancy. Occasionally, you'll have to eyeball the newborn outfit to decide if it runs a bit bigger than the rest of your clothing stash.

Edited by Jennifer Nicole Sullivan, Baby Clothes Expert

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