Naked babies are just about the most adorable things ever, but babies tend to get cold easily (and people seem to think they need clothes on in public), so you should probably have some things on hand to cover up their tiny hineys (and heads, and toes, etc.). I’ve also included blankets and burp cloths in this section, since they fall under the “cloth-type things that keep babies warm/clean/cozy/presentable” category as well.
Everyone has very different preferences on clothing types, styles, and price points, and obviously gender/climate/season make a difference too. This will be a more general-suggestion type of list, but it will hopefully give you a starting point for what to have on hand when baby first arrives. In a few weeks, you’ll notice which items you tend to pull out of the dresser over and over, and which pieces never get any play.
First, some general suggestions:
- For baby’s arrival, make sure to have clothes in Newborn as well as 0-3 month sizes. Some people will say that it isn’t necessary to have newborn sizes because their baby never fit in them, but everyone I know (with a wide variety in babies’ sizes) used newborn stuff for at least the first month or so. I’ve included recommendations for how many of each item to start with.
- Don’t worry about stocking up on much past 0-3 month sizes to start with; you’ll figure out your clothing preferences after your baby comes. Plus, you don’t know what size your baby will be in during each season. Ben was wearing 6 month clothes by the time he was 3 months old, so all of his cute winter stuff was already too small by the time the weather was actually cool enough for him to wear it.
- I would recommend buying no more than 5 or so of a particular type in any size, because babies grow FAST. I usually keep a few pieces on hand in the next size up as well, and then pick more up as needed.
Recommendation: 6 in Newborn sizing and 2 in 0-3 month sizing
Jessie says: “When Ben was a newborn and generally slept swaddled, he slept in short-sleeved onesies. Now that we live in Virginia and nights are cooler, he sleeps in zip-up footed PJs. Snaps are a pain in the ass at any time of day, but especially in the middle of the night, so zippers are the way to go. Ben is a tall, lean baby with chunky legs, so I like the fit and stretchiness of Carter’s footies (plus they’re a nice substantial fabric that doesn’t wear out or shrink too much). He basically lives in these unless we leave the house, so I can attest to their quality. I also like Gerber brand which has a lighter fabric for warmer nights, but they seem to run a little shorter in length and aren’t stretchy, so they’re less forgiving on size.”
Jordan says: “When I put Jake in anything other than a onesie and a swaddle to sleep in, I liked using a gown with an elastic bottom. For middle of the night diaper changes, I felt like I didn’t need any extra steps to get to his diaper.”
Lela says: “PJs with a ZIPPER. So much easier to zip a baby back up after a late night diaper change than fumble with those damn snaps. I have about 2-3 for each size.”
Recommendation: 4 in Newborn sizing (long- or short-sleeved, depending on the time of year) and 4 in 0-3 month sizing (babies grow out of these quickly!)
Jessie says: “I buy Carter’s brand for onesies as well, because they also have a nice thick fabric that doesn’t shrink, fade, or get misshapen. They hold up much better than the other brands I’ve tried. I also love the little cuffs on the long-sleeved ones; it’s a nice detail that looks good and keeps the sleeve down on his arm.”
Recommendation: 2 in Newborn size and 2 in 0-3 month size
Jessie says: “I never put pants on Ben unless we’re leaving the house (way too much trouble to take pants off when you’re constantly changing diapers), so he can re-wear the same pair for days because he never wears them more than an hour at a time! I have 1 pair of “jeans” and a couple pairs of shorts/overalls. The soft joggers are nice for tiny babies rather than anything more structured.”
Recommendation: 2 pairs of 0-3 month booties, 6 pairs of sock
Lela says: “I love the Goumikids booties. They stay on so much better than regular socks. I was gifted one pair of booties for my first daughter, but I’m getting 2-3 in each size for my next baby. They have two sizes: 0-3 month and 3-6 month and they also have mittens which I’m going to try out this time as well.”
Jessie says: “I second the Goumikids recommendation. They are AWESOME. Ben has literally never kicked them off, and they look like little elf booties. They’re so soft and comfy, and you get so much use out of them because they adjust to fit their foot as it grows. Excellent product! For socks I like the Little Me anklet socks; they seem to stay on better than some of the other brands I tried.”
Recommendation: For winter–2 jackets in Newborn sizing, 2 hats, 2 pairs of mittens, 1 baby bunting.
For summer–2 sun hats, 2 bathing suits/swim diapers if you’re planning on going to the pool or beach.
Jessie says: “I had a little hooded fleece jacket that Ben wore every time we left the house. With that and a blanket, he was plenty warm for running errands in 40-50 degree weather. For longer periods outside, I had a couple of cozy baby buntings that were great for keeping him toasty! For summer, the Alva Baby or AppleCheeks reusable swim diapers are awesome, because they adjust to fit babies from newborn to 2 years old. Some pools also want baby to wear snug-fitting plastic shorts over their swim diaper (because swim diapers only contain poop, not pee) and Dappi makes a good option. I also like i play’s sun hat because it has great coverage and is adjustable to get a good fit on Ben’s head.”
Recommendation: 5 cloth bibs
Lela says: “I liked the cloth bibs for drool and spit up. I’d say I probably changed her bib once or twice a day, depending on how wet it was. I do laundry pretty often because I cloth diaper, so I didn’t feel like I needed a zillion cloth bibs. I’d say I have 4 or 5 and that was mostly so she had a bib that coordinated with her clothes.”
Jessie says: “I love the Copper Pearl bandana drool bibs, because they soak up all the slobber without showing any wetness. Plus the patterns are super cute! The Nuby teething bibs are a great idea too.”
Recommendation: start with at least 5 (you may want more depending on how much your baby spits up!)
Jessie says: “The green sprouts muslin burp cloths are amazing. They’re super absorbent and soft, and I love how they curve to fit around my neck (which also helps them stay put on my shoulder).”
Lela says: “I needed a lot of these because my daughter spit up CONSTANTLY. I actually used swaddle blankets instead of burp cloths because the surface area was larger, and I could wipe more/cover myself better. I have like 8 swaddle blankets that I used for spit-up protection, covering her in the stroller on walks, wiping away drool, etc.”
Jordan says: “I used the Gerber prefold cloth diapers as burp cloths, and they worked like a dream (of course, I was still in new-mama mode, so pretty much everything felt like a dream–a big, hazy dream). I still pull these out to wipe his nose when he gets a cold, and they also make excellent dust rags.”
Recommendation: 2 fluffy blankets, 4 thinner all-purpose blankets
Jordan says: “These are the same blankets I recommend for swaddling, but overall, they’re just my favorites. They’re the perfect weight when you live somewhere where the weather tends to run a little warmer (hello, Texas).”
Jessie says: “I had two nice fluffy blankets for extra coziness during cold weather, and then used my aden + anais muslin swaddle blankets for everything else. I love those things–super versatile and the cutest prints, plus they wash wonderfully!”