Tips & Tricks

Your ultimate checklist for baby clothes essentials

December 02 2022
Your ultimate checklist for baby clothes essentials

Are you expecting a baby soon? Trying to figure out the top baby clothes for your registry? Or are you a friend or family member trying to figure out what type of baby clothes your expecting loved ones would need the most?

With so many options out there, it can be hard to build your baby’s first wardrobe. Here are our top recommendations for a baby’s layette, just how many newborn clothes you need, and how to maximize the investments you make in baby clothes. 

Tips before shopping for baby clothes

Before you hit the mall or the many different baby clothing sites online, you need to sit down and think about some key factors that will influence the amount of baby clothes you’ll need.


How many times do you realistically set aside time to do your laundry (before the baby arrives)? Do you have your own laundry room, share one in a multi-residential unit or go to the laundromat? Depending on your laundry habits, you may require more or less baby clothes.

Parenting experts often use this rule of thumb:

  • If you do laundry once a week, multiply your baby clothes by two.
  • If you do laundry several times a week, cut the number of clothes by about half.

Baby clothes sizes are key

Oftentimes, you’ll hear parents with children that they purchased or received way too many newborn clothes. They and their loved ones get overly excited and buy a complete wardrobe filled with newborn clothes. The problem is your baby’s growth is so unpredictable from the moment they are born. If you have a bigger baby, they may only use newborn clothes for a few weeks and will quickly transition to baby clothes for 0-3 months. Smaller babies may stay in their newborn clothes for longer.

Our recommendation is to settle on a certain level of newborn clothes (see the numbers below) and stock up on essentials for  0-3 months, 6-12 months, and 12-18 months. This way, you’ll have the flexibility of dressing your infant based on how they grow!

One caveat to keep in mind: not all baby brands run the same sizes. Some offer roomier baby clothes, while others run slimmer. Even though you cannot truly determine the size of your baby before they are born, doing some research in advance will help you save time once you observe how they grow.

Seasonality and climate

Parents who live in regions with four seasons will not have the same baby clothes needs as those who live in arid or tropical locations. This seemingly obvious fact means baby clothes purchases should factor in the date of birth and the months your baby will have in spring, summer, fall, winter, for example, or other considerations based on your local climate conditions throughout the year. The last thing you want is  to waste money on an extensive layette for the summer if your baby is scheduled for early fall.

Nursery and bedroom space

What type of furniture and space do you have to store all of your baby’s clothes? It is overwhelming enough as it is to become parents for the first time (or second, third, fourth time...) that you don’t want to become overwhelmed by managing an onslaught of baby clothes. 

Whether you have a dresser or a closet, we suggest getting your hands on suitable dividers. These dividers not only help store your baby clothes but also enable you to set them up by clothing size or type.

As soon as your baby outgrows a piece of clothing, rotate it out of the main dresser or closet. You can either store it away in a dedicated bin for another baby in the future or donate them to someone you know. This is a great strategy to keep the organization of your baby clothes in check.


There is a wide spectrum of brands that run from affordable baby clothes to luxury (read: Emporio Armani, Gucci, Versace...) baby clothing.

Budgeting for baby clothes can be a complex task as the emotions and temptation to buy the next cutest thing can run deep. Did you know that some spending specialists estimate that parents can spend anywhere from $21,248 to $51,985 in their infants’ first life? Baby clothes, toys, diapers, strollers, etc. fall into this estimate; however, it just goes to show you how costs can ramp up fast. 

Investopedia indicates that the average cost of baby clothes is approximately $60 per month for a baby’s first year. Budgeting for your baby’s clothes is a surefire way to minimize spending. Take a close look at your finances and figure out what you can reasonably afford. 

Be careful about buying ultra-cheap baby clothes. Their prices may seem tantalizing at first, but durability should trump discounted baby clothes. Quality baby clothes are important so that they can hold up through frequent washes. You may end up spending more in the long run if you choose lower-quality layette items and newborn clothing. Another advantage? Quality baby clothes can be reused for Baby #2!

Checklist for baby clothes essentials

Although this checklist for baby clothes essentials can be tweaked based on your unique situation, here are the numbers you’ll need to care for your newborn:

  • 10 pajamas
  • 3 sleepers or nightgowns
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 3 tops to match baby’s pants
  • 3 bodysuits (think both short- and long-sleeve)
  • 3 newborn hats
  • 3 pairs of mittens to protect baby from scratching themselves

Other tips for your baby’s clothes

Investing in baby clothes also means you can get creative in order to save money! Here are some other tips to take into account:

  • Don’t shy away from hand-me-down items. Friends and family will be thrilled to offer you some much-needed baby clothes they no longer need!
  • Purchase gender-neutral clothing. While many parents love conventional blues and pinks, if you are considering having another baby later on, you will be able to reuse the baby clothes, regardless of the gender. Think yellow, gray, green, etc.
  • Clearly communicate your baby clothing needs. When inviting family and friends to consult your baby registry, encourage them to stick with the items you have selected. You can politely explain that these are the baby products you really want for your infant.

In the event you end up with a lot of gifts you don’t want or that you receive in duplicate, ask for the receipts, with a genuine heartfelt thanks. You don’t have to go into any details as to why you are returning the item, except for the fact your baby needs something else. Be honest and grateful. Then, buy what you are missing.

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