How Many Baby Clothes Do I Need?
How Many Baby Clothes Do I Need?
September 8, 2021

How Many Baby Clothes Do I Need?

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How Many Baby Clothes Do I Need?.
Five bodysuits or 50? Here's the formula to figure out the right number of baby clothes to put on your registry.How Many Baby Clothes Do I Need?

For lots of pregnant people, it’s tough to resist adding a million baby outfits to your registry. (Tiny booties! Top knot hats! Avocado sleepers! See what we mean?)

On one hand, messes happen—a lot—and having clothing options for quick outfit changes can be handy. But on the other, babies grow quickly, and your little one isn’t going to stay in one size for very long.

So how many clothes does your baby actually need?

How to Build Your Baby’s Wardrobe

There are a few things to think about when you’re trying to figure out how many baby clothes you’ll need and how you should add clothing to your registry.

1. Think About Laundry

Your access to laundry (and how often you actually do it) makes a big difference in how many items of baby clothing you’ll need on hand.

Our list of newborn essentials below assumes you do a few loads of laundry throughout the week. If this isn’t the case, though, you may need more or less clothing. Here’s how to adjust:

  • If you’re only planning on doing laundry once a week, multiply the numbers below by two.
  • If you will be doing laundry every day, cut the numbers below in half.

2. What About Baby Clothes Sizes

Figuring out sizing and how many pieces in each size to add to your registry can be tricky as it’s tough to anticipate how big your baby will be at birth and how quickly they’ll grow. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Think big. Most newborn sizes top out around eight pounds, so if you have a bigger baby, they may need 0-3 months sizes from the start. (And if they’re on the smaller side, odds are they’ll only fit into newborn sizes for a few weeks anyway.) Pick a few newborn items and then focus on 0-3 months since those clothes will fit babies up to around 12 or 13 pounds.
  • Mix it up. Each baby brand runs differently when it comes to sizing. Some brands run roomier and are great for larger babies, while others run on the slim side and work better if your baby is long and lean. Since you won’t know your baby’s body type before birth, try to mix in clothes from several different brands so you’ll have a few different fit options.

3. Stay Organized

Teeny, tiny babies clothes sure are cute—and they sure are easy to lose track of too. Organizing your baby’s wardrobe by size is the best way to know what fits right now and what you have available in the next size when the time comes.

  • If you’re storing most of baby’s clothes in a dresser, drawer dividers are a great investment. They help keep everything in one place (we’re looking at you, tiny baby socks) and can be set up by clothing type, size or any other way you’d like.
  • If you’re using a closet to store your little one’s wardrobe, check out closet dividers. These little sturdy hanging signs separate clothes into sizes (this set goes from newborn all the way through 2T) so you’ll be able to easily see what you have and less likely to forget about clothes before they’re too small.

One more organizational tip: rotate out clothing items as soon as your baby outgrows them. Staying on top of this onerous task goes a long way in helping you manage your baby’s wardrobe. Keep a storage bin (or two) on hand so you’ll always have somewhere to stash them; then you can decide if you want to hang onto them for the future or pass them on to someone else.

Sample Baby Clothing Registry

This list breaks down the standard number of clothing items you’ll want on hand for your newborn’s wardrobe. We’ve also included items to add specifically for summer and winter babies and a few things for special occasions.

Seven Bodysuits or Rompers

Bodysuits can serve as an easy, no-fuss outfit in summer or a basic layer in winter and come in both long- and short-sleeve styles. With seven, if you wash a couple of loads a week, you’ll always have clean ones on hand.

Tip: Add a kimono-style bodysuit (sometimes also called a side-snap bodysuit) or two for baby to wear until their umbilical cord falls off, usually around one to two weeks after they’re born.


Three to Five Pants

Babies don’t really need to wear pants, but having a few pairs on hand to pull over bodysuits can help keep legs warm when it’s chilly.


Four Sleepers, Footies or Gowns

Sleepers and footies are for much more than just sleep—they work for daytime, too. They can also be paired with a swaddle for nighttime in colder climates. And a gown is a great wardrobe addition. especially during those first few months when you want something quick and easy for frequent diaper changes.


Two Hats

Beanie-style hats are important in the early weeks and months to keep your baby warm. (Just remember no hats when baby is sleeping!) Start with two—one for your little one to wear and one for the wash. In colder climates, fleece hats are also nice to have.


Five Pairs of Socks

Even in summer, you’ll want to make sure your baby’s feet are cozy in socks.

Tip: Get them all in one color so you don’t have to match tiny socks. And if your baby’s due in winter, add two extra pairs.


Two to Three Swaddles

Swaddles aren’t clothes, per se, but many babies spend a lot of time in them. Why? Many babies like to be swaddled for the first few months—it’s very womblike and helps prevent their startle reflex from waking them up. For newborn sleep time, you may find many nights you just put baby in a diaper and swaddle for sleep.

Tip: You can swaddle baby in a blanket (here’s a how-to video), or a 2-in-1 swaddle that makes things a little simpler.

So, What Is Babylist?

Babylist is a free, all-in-one baby registry that lets you add any item from any store, as well as things like help, favors and cash funds. Your registry should be as unique as you are. Start your Babylist now.

Expecting a Winter Baby?

Two Sweaters or Sweatshirts

A cardigan or zip-up hoodie is great for when there’s a chill in the air, and it’s easy to take off if baby gets too warm.


One Pair of Mittens

Cover up little hands with cozy mittens. This particular pair is extra smart: the cord keeps the pair together so one of the mittens won’t go missing.

Tip: Even when it’s not winter, cotton mitts can come in handy with newborns to help prevent them from scratching themselves with their super-sharp new nails.


One Winter Coat or Bunting

Winter babies need at least one layer of extra-warm outerwear. In warmer climates, a winter coat with warm pants is enough, but for colder regions, get full-body outerwear (like a bunting sack—a sort of baby sleeping bag—or a stroller bunting) to make sure baby stays snug in any weather.


Two Slippers or Booties

Babies don’t need shoes (in fact, they aren’t necessary until baby starts walking), but booties are great for extra warmth.


Expecting a Summer Baby?

One Sun Hat

A sun hat is a must-have for being outside on warmer days. Get one with a wide brim that fits snugly so it won’t fall off. This one also features an adjustable toggle that creates a custom fit as baby grows.


Two Lightweight Blankets

The best way to protect your new baby from the sun is with shade, and the simplest way to do that without overheating baby is with a light cotton or muslin blanket. Drape it over your stroller, car seat or carrier—just be sure to leave plenty of space for air to circulate.


Special Occasion Additions

With a brand-new baby, you’ll probably have a few occasions to dress up or take some adorable photos. A coming-home outfit is also a sweet addition.

So How Many Clothes Do You Need?

Here you go:

Baby clothes basics:

  • 7 bodysuits or rompers
  • 3-5 pants
  • 2 hats
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 2-3 swaddles
  • 4 sleepers or gowns

For winter add:

  • 2 sweaters/sweatshirts
  • 1 pair of mittens
  • 1 coat or bunting sack
  • 2 slippers or booties
  • 2 additional pairs of socks

For summer add:

  • 2 lightweight blankets
  • 1 summer hat

For fun add:

  • A special occasion outfit
  • Anything else you love
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