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
Jade Brookbank/Stone/Getty Images

In the name of making a dollar, retailers sell 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.

What to Get Instead

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 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 is 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