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Baby Clothes-- What Does a Newbie Need?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I need my knowledgeable ladies!


Between family hand-me-downs, yard and consignment sales, I've started gathering some clothes.  Cheap!  Reused!  Great! 




I don't really know how much I'll need.  I know I'll get some gifts and such (not really planning on registering for clothes, but I'm sure I'll get some anyway), so I don't plan on buying everything myself-- at least not yet.  But I'd like to have some idea of what the end game looks like-- that is, what I'm really going to use in ~the first year.


Something like:


-# shirts/onesies in 0-3 months, # in 3-6 months, etc.

-# footies/sleepers in each size

-# sleep sacks or swaddlers

-# pants

-# hats

-# pairs of socks



Or, to give me some idea, just how many outfits your babe went through in a day at different ages (I hear it's more than you'd think!)


Now, I'd love to see general answers to this question, or what you did personally with your older kids, but if it helps to give a recommendation for my personal situation...


-No daycare is planned, so we don't need a lot of "presentable outfits," per se.


-We are planning on EC'ing and CD'ing from birth, so I'm envisioning a lot of "outfits" that consist of just a T-shirt or cut off onesies and a CD butt...  Maybe just a CD around the house when it gets hot over the summer, and maybe adding some Baby Legs/leg warmers next fall.


-We do laundry almost every day to keep on top of it...  I'm sure that our frequency may go down, but I'm hoping it's at least 2-3x/week after baby gets here.


Thanks SO much!  I don't have much of a clue, and I really need input before I buy out the next consignment sale (or pass up things I could really use)! 

Edited by buko - 10/15/12 at 2:47pm
post #2 of 21

I guess it can go either way what I've found is you typically have more than enough for clothes for baby that when its time to pack up the small size and move up the next you find outfits babe only wore once or not at all. I'm looking forward to this next one its been quite a few years and my thinking has changed on how much stuff we'll need :)


I loved onesies and in the beginning with blowouts (me being new and learning how to secure the diaper :) outfits would get changed a 4-5 times a day.

With cloth diapers it makes their hiney a bit bigger so if you are cloth from the beginning you can probably skip newborn size clothes and go straight to 0-3 months.... I found newborn sizes were not worn very long.  Some people love gowns and swear by them they were not my fave. Socks to keep feet warm you don't need a lot...just plan on losing a sock here and there because they fall off, get kicked off etc :)

Around 4 months or so my son starting droooooooling tons! So he wore bibs a lot and would change them often ...they helped save having to do shirt changes.

Depends on where you live an climate if baby will be sleeping in a one piece sleeper depending on how often you do laundry they will probably only need one for night time, (I mean one for that night...not one total...I probably would have 5-7 sleepers) with the occassional need for a middle of the night change.


Hats is something you can have as many or as little as you want :) My first two we were living in AZ and they rarely had a hat on as a newborn. We are now in WA so I can forsee that we will need hats and I'm looking forward to knitting some up, but will also buy some cotton knit ones.


3-6 months was a size we were in a for a long time with both of my littles.


I'm not a fan of baby shoes unless they are the soft soled ones (robeez, bobux etc) and even then I don't put them on their feet till they are standing....I remembering buying my first a pair of tennis shoes..big clunky things ...looked ridiculous on his little 3 month body..lol...but some people love to put shoes on babe....but when its time for walking barefoot is great and if its not practical then soft soled shoes are the way to go.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you, Sara!  Super-helpful!


With cloth diapers it makes their hiney a bit bigger so if you are cloth from the beginning you can probably skip newborn size clothes and go straight to 0-3 months....


Good point!


As far as gowns, I think we might find them more useful than average since we're planning on ECing (just hike them up and take off the diaper, if any), but we'll see.

post #4 of 21

I didn't like the gowns in a colder climate. Baby would end up with the gown around his waist and his legs were cold, but our house in Seattle was ALWAYS so cold. Found out a year before we moved that none of the exterior walls had insulation, so that turned out to be our cold problem. :)


We used the sleep sacks at night (again, it was cold!) and sleepers with zippers. I had a pair of robeez in a tiny size and really all they did was help to keep the socks on and keep baby's feet a little warmer in the winter, but you don't need socks.


Oh, and big diaper butts are cute. :)


Actually, it's been so long for us, I think I've forgotten a lot of what worked. 

post #5 of 21

This is a really, really hard question to answer definitively.  It so depends on the baby.


DD was a bit spitty at the beginning, and then from about 6 weeks to 3 months was good in the same outfit for at least a day or two, then she started the drooling and I had to change her a couple times a day (shirt at least).  But we never had diaper blow-outs.  So, newborn we had maybe 7-8 onesies? And 5-6 sleepers, I guess... wow it IS really hard to remember. 


It also depends on how often you want to do laundry.


We used a snuggle-sack for sleeping as well. And DD was born in winter and we lived in a drafty house, so she was usually in something (mostly sleepers) as well as a onesie.  This one will be born in spring in a well-insulated house so I don't imagine there'll be much more than onesies in the wardrobe for a while.


But, there's also the "OMG it's so CUTE" factor that's part of baby clothes... I always tell my clients to dress their babies cute as much as they want, don't hold back - because it won't be long before the child develops its own sense of fashion and insists on wearing odd socks and pink shirts with red pants (no matter what gender it is).  So you have to enjoy this helpless period while it lasts, and if that means indulging your sense of cute well beyond what your dressers will hold, so be it. wink1.gif


I think, though, if you're buying second-hand, just go ahead and buy as many as you like.  Just have somebody on call to take piles of stuff to the consignment store for you.


Oh, the other thing is, babies differ a LOT in terms of their own internal thermostats.  In my work as a postpartum doula, I've had a few babies who didn't seem to be overdressed, but who periodically had screaming fits.  It turned out that removing clothing helped a huge amount - they were just too hot.  I forget where you're located, but if you're somewhere that gets warm in summer, you probably won't want ANY clothes on baby for a few months.  Besides, babies tend to like being mostly naked, so if you're somewhere that's possible, it's a darned good option.  Naked = no laundry.  I'm a fan. 

post #6 of 21

For me personally, even though my babe's are BF, they have all been spitter-uppers so we'd easily go through 3 - 5 outfits in a single day. I wish I were kidding. That's why coordinating clothing is such a blessing! Buy things that match and have multiple options that way if you have a diaper leak you can (possibly) just change the pants, baby spit up? Just change the shirt (or bib). I'm a big fan of onsies/pants/sweater and footie pj's around the house. Easy, cute enough and many coordinating options lol. With 3 kiddos already, even though we're constantly doing laundry, things get misplaced or end up at the bottom of the hamper so having more than one of something is important to us, but probably wont be as big of a deal for you.


We're in WA too and one thing we will sometimes do in the colder months is put a pair of socks on underneeth footie pj's to help keep their feet warm when needed. We also have a sock monster and loose socks like crazy. Washing machines/driers eat them, diaper bags eat them, couches eat them... so you may find that you have to replace them often though you probably wont need too many to start.


FWIW, jammies with zippers are soooo much easier to deal with at night. I don't know how many times I'd wake up in the morning and realize that I'd not lined the snaps up lol. My babes tend to be heavy wetters too, so even with great diapers we frequently had to change pj's in the middle of the night too.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks, all!  Keep it coming!

post #8 of 21

I have to agree with Melany. I never liked the gowns much either, I liked the full length nighties, and then I would put socks on as well, but that was when I lived in a drafty house. I really have to think to remember, it's been eight years! But I do believe it went kind of like this...


For about the first year or so...

8-10 Onesies (but I LOVE Onesies, and always had lots!)

5-7 nighties that opened all down the front (Easy access at 3AM and they poop for some reason)

large pile of socks! Again, I LOVE socks, my kids always had them on, even sometimes in July! My family tends to have chilly toes.

And loads of outfits. But see, this is were I am a fashionista freak! I love clothes, I love designers and love dressing my kids (still do to their dismay!). We just found out that we're having a girl about 10 days ago and between my mom, dad, and myself I have about 25 outfits for this baby! But, I am a shopper, always have been, I get it from my mom and dad! Sure there are some days when I would let my babies just hang out in a Onesie, but it wasn't very often. I would always take showers with them (I showered with all my babies, I just had them in a seat outside the shower and would wash up myself and then bring them in and wash them. Put them back in the seat with a towel wrapped around them and we were both clean and ready to go! So much easier than baby tubs, and they love the shower!), and we would get dressed for the day in cute outfits, yes, both of us! Haha!! Like Spughy said, theres a very short time that you can dress them how you want, then suddenly they're wearing mismatched socks with flip-flops, so I take advantage! And boy are they cute all dressed in Oilily with matching Robeez!!

post #9 of 21

For spitting up, I found keeping a bib on helped.  Gowns with ties or elastic at the bottom were handy.  If you're using cloth you likely won't have as many 'blow outs' which should save you an outfit a day.


I would saw 2-3 changes a day on the safe side.  Worse case you do laundry a little earlier than you had planned.


I found going up a size was always a good idea since sleeves can be rolled and the clothes fit longer.  I'm just starting to run into problems with that now that DS is out of diapers since his pants fall down if I got up a size, hah, but cloth diapers kept that from happening until now.  He actually wore most of the same summer clothes this year as he did last year because of the change in butt size after losing the diapers.


Onesies can be snapped on the side for ECing too, if you end up with a bunch.  


If you want to encourage tee-shirts, this site has a bunch of cute ones: http://www.threadless.com/catalog/type,babies

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

I love Threadless!  Baby already has the one with the cow and chicken and the cow-colored egg, and DH and I have the matching Guy/Girly shirts.  Just our cheek, since Buko will be biracial.  I got them all for DH's birthday, LOL. 


And good point about snapping onesies on the side, too.

post #11 of 21

They don't need much! Really! I've always just bought clothes when I found really cute ones on sale. I've very rarely had to randomly buy more of something really mundane (the exception was long sleeved onesies, which I remember buying two packs of (in different sizes) during DD's first winter). I've definitely never ever had more than 8 or 9 "outfits" that fit DD at any given time. And this includes the spare "just in case" outfit that's always in the diaper bag. DD's just never been much of a spitter/drooler, I guess. She was born in summer so she wore no more than a t shirt or swaddle blanket and socks with her diaper at first. As the weather grew cooler I switched to long sleeve t shirts and pants or baby leg warmers, with a hat. Teeny baby boots were very important for keeping her feet warm in winter. We spend a lot of time outside!


I've never preferred onesies. People seem to love em or hate em. I can't stand fiddly snaps, and I can't stand diaper leaks getting on a onesie (necessitating a shirt change). But onesies are good for keeping tummies warm in cool weather.


I never preferred one-piece footie pajamas. Footie PJs are just such a pain early on with nighttime diaper changes, and you have to size up to a ridiculous degree to get a good fit over a night time cloth diaper. At least this is my experience.


I love gowns despite the fact that they ride up to baby's armpits constantly. This is just me being stubborn, though. I think they're cute and I insist on using them even though they're not as practical (warmth-wise) as one would think.


Babylegs are amazing - DD has been wearing hers for 2 years now with no end in sight. When we would carry her in the wrap in cooler weather I would put them on over her pants and pull them down over her shoes, to help keep her legs warm where the pants always ride up.


I prefer to go with quality clothing, which (because of my limited finds) necessitates limiting quantity. I recommend brands that will wear like iron. I just feel good about passing these items down to my future children... (You will also probably make back more of your money if you sell them.) I have some cheaper brands that are not really in any condition to pass down to this baby (fabric is stretched out, fit is weird, stains wouldn't wash out, fabric is pilly), which is a shame considering how little they've been worn. You REALLY DO get what you pay for. This is just "my thing" and obviously it doesn't work for everybody.


In the end, the choice is up to you. You only NEED enough to keep baby warm and clean at all times, which all depends on the climate you live in, how spitty your baby is, and how often you do laundry. Beyond that, you get to make the call about clothing, based on price, cuteness, hand-me-down-worthiness, and whatever other factors speak to you.

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

So, what brands do you recommend that "wear like iron," LightForest?  I'm really interested as we're currently thinking we'll have another (maybe 3-4 years later, but still) and since we're going with gender neutral FTMP, I'm planning on/hoping for hand-me-downs.

post #13 of 21

I almost elaborated on the "wears like iron" thing in my previous post, but I didn't want to seem too yappy shy.gif I promise that I'm not affiliated with any of these companies - this is just my personal experience/opinion.


At this point almost all of my 2yo's clothing comes from Polarn O Pyret. I'm into the sometimes wild Nordic prints and colors (but I can see how others wouldn't like the look). But I especially like how comfortable the clothes are, how they're made to wear forever (adjustable waistbands! cuffs on sleeves!), they're made from natural fibers, and the styles and colors are very often gender neutral. Oh, and they have big sales twice a year (up to 70% off) as well as ongoing "pop up sales" where you can get the stuff at relatively reasonable prices. My only word of warning is that there's a learning curve to their sizing... In my experience, shirts, leggings and most dresses are true to size (DD is of average height), but I have to go down two sizes (to the 1 to 1.5 year size) to get a perfect fit on my 26 month old DD when it comes to outerwear and pants. (For the most part though I "size up" to 1.5 to 2 years - she'll get a ton of wear out of the stuff - she'll probably still be wearing her current pants next year at this time.)



I do like Hanna Andersson, but I personally find their styling to be too "genderey". If you want to buy a pair of their amazing wiggle pants (highly recommended) in a color other than pink or blue, your only choice will be grey. Bla. (Oh, I thought this was cool about their wiggle pants - I bought a pair of size 70's that fit DD with cuffs rolled up when she was 2 or 3 months... She was still wearing them well at 20 months!!!) Their Swedish moccasins and pilot caps are also amazing. I've had good luck buying their stuff on eBay.



I loved the look, feel, and quality of the gown and outfits I bought from Sage Creek Organics. I remember signing up for their email list and getting some good coupon codes, but that was a couple of years ago.



I like stuff from Under the Nile. Some of my things got pilly after a few washes, but they're amazingly soft, fit great, look great, fit for a long time.



American Apparel is usually a nice bet for basic items in a decent range of colors.



I'd love to hear other suggestions for nice and affordably priced infant clothing! I love shopping for cute tiny things winky.gif

post #14 of 21

Oh yeah, there's also Mini Boden. I haven't gotten many things from there simply because the prices are a bit high for me, but when I have "splurged" on one of their items for DD I've been very happy with the look, quality, wearability, etc.


post #15 of 21

This is a very difficult question to answer definitively because there are a number of factors that change how much or how little clothing your baby will need: how big they are at birth, how quickly they grow to the next size, the temperature of your home, if they run more cold or more hot, how often they spit up, how much skin-to-skin contact they prefer, there's probably more but that's all I can think of atm.


I found a generous family on Craigslist when I was pregnant with DD who was practically giving away their baby stuff, which included a few big bags of baby clothes.  I went through the bags, picked out all the onesies and easy-wear clothes and stowed the rest as back-up.  Onesies and little shirts with her cloth diapers is all she wore at first.  If I had been in a colder climate, I would have made sure she also wore Baby Legs or pants, socks and hats.  Blankets were also useful, especially when we were doing a lot of skin-to-skin contact because I would lay her on my chest and then wrap a baby blanket over her to keep the heat in.  She probably went through half a dozen to a dozen baby clothes a week.  Also, she didn't need newborn clothing, she was already 10 and a half pounds at birth, so she was in the 3 months clothing by the time was a month old, if I'm remembering correctly.  I say unless you know for sure that your baby will be tiny at birth, don't get a lot of newborn clothing.  Get 0-3 months and 3-6 (a nice balance of both).  Those will be good enough for quite some time.  If you're in a colder climate, don't forget the hats and socks, those are the best for the cold since babies lose a lot of heat from their heads and feet.  I hope this helps some.

post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you SO SO much for the recommendations!  Honestly, I'm almost more worried about having too many clothes than too few...  But we'll see!

post #17 of 21

I am one that always ened up with too many. With my daughter, it was because - due to yard sales, consignment, etc - I could just as easily dress her in an adorable outfit as that cheap gerber onesie some relative purchased new.


I am not a big fan of onesies. I used them some on my winter babies as layering pieces, but I can count on one hand the number of times either of my babies wore *just* a onesie. I prefer t-shirts, especially with cloth diapers.


I like gowns, but we are in a warmer climate. The main downside to me, of a gown, is that baby needs socks, and keeping socks on skinny newborn feet is a challenge. I :love: zipper sleepers. I really detest snaps, unless the snaps are the ones that are only in the leg/crotch area. I know lots of people who love snaps. But I don't understand it.


Newborn sized clothes: You can get away with a big onesie. but oversized sleepers are hard - baby will wiggle and squirm two legs into one leg hole and then be unhappy. (at least mine were) Yes, they don't wear Newborn sizes long, however, IME they do NEED some newborn sized things. Like, maybe a week's worth. (whatever that means to you, in terms of laundry)


You can never have too many socks. I always lose those things.


I really like the sleepers and gowns with built in mittens so you can cover baby's hands at night so they don't scratch their faces.


Cute outfits. I admit, we do several of these, because we just like to and can't help ourselves. This is my first spring baby, and IDK if it's a boy or a girl yet (3 more weeks) and I am seeing lots of t-shirts and diaper time.  I also like one piece cotton rompers - easy to put on, super cute, and usually can be found fairly cheap.


Hats . . .even with fall/winter babies mine didn't wear many. DS (my first) had a smaller head, so most didn't really stay put well. DD had a larger, more round head, and I crocheted hats for her, which she did wear - maybe a half dozen? - but only for the first 3 months.


We do laundry about once a week, so I prefer to have more clothes, and keep the less frequent washing.

post #18 of 21

Depends so much on your preferences and style! 


I for one dont like onesies, but they are so ubiquitous, that I just cut off the bottom snap part and serged/hemmed them to have lots of sweet tees. I really like the cross over type tees/long sleeve shirts, so nice early on not to have to put shirts over your babes head. my babe had an especially large head :) so it was almost necessary. 


we did ecing early on, and i liked wool covers for cloth diapering for hometime, because you can feel right away when your babe is wet. it makes a big difference in diaper rash if you change your babe right away rather than letting them be wet for a while or a long time. 


also lots of naked time!!! especially when it gets warm out. also good to look into skin to skin time. It is soooo important in early weeks/months to have skin to skin time. carrying your babe naked against your body or your partners body stimulates his/her immune function, and attachment and has tons of other benefits. there are great studies on this. using a moby wrap works great or just napping/sleeping naked.  to this end having some wool blankets or cotton receiving blankets to let the babe lie on naked is nice. 


i got wool blankets from a local army/navy/outdoorsy type store that were pretty inexpensive and cut them into pieces to put under my babe. wool works so well to repel moisture (pee :) ) without being plastic. i also use a big wool blanket as a moisture barrier on our co-sleeping bed. 


you don't have to dress your baby everyday. just bundling them in a cozy blanket can feel great. there are so many years ahead to wear clothes. just saying... 


I think the first weeks/months are a really special time and doing some research on baby's needs might give you some enlightening awarenesses. you dont' have to dress your babe in tiny jeans, rigid shoes, and fancy dresses! :) 


my personal preference is to find as much all natural fibers, preferably organic, clothing that is easy to put on, non-restrictive in any way. if you have access to a sheepskin or a piece of one, it is sooo nice for your babe to lie on. When it was cold out I put it in my babes sleeping spot and it was super cozy. 


sorry a little off topic on just clothing, but thought I'd add in a few fun things to consider. 

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 

Great, great advice! 


I remember people referencing sheepskin and wool surplus blankets-- I had TOTALLY forgotten about them.

post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
BTW, do you need 100% wool for water resistance, or is 70% wool, etc., okay?
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