Newborn Clothing Checklist
When my first baby was born, I had virtually no newborn clothing for him to wear. I had unexpectedly been put on total bed-rest at 32 weeks, and had no baby showers planned before he was born. Thankfully, a co-worker had dropped off a small box of hand-me-downs while I was on bed rest, or we would have had NOTHING for him to wear. While this caused me a few moments of panic at the time, I learned a lesson...
Newborn babies don't care how much "stuff" has been acquired in their name. They can actually survive with very little, and anything additional to that is pure convenience.
Now, there is something to be said for convenience. In today's busy world, convenience is almost a necessity. (Did I really just say that?)
Added to that, there's a certain amount of pride in showing off your newborn baby. Doing this when he's wearing hand-me-downs from the '80's tends to dampen that somewhat. (I'm not sure why...we are showing off the baby - not the clothing, right?)
Thankfully, our choices in newborn clothing today far surpass the meager choices our parents had - personalized, organic, trendy, even baby accessories...we are only limited by our baby budget (sigh).
What Size Baby Clothes Should You Get?Predicting what size your baby will need at a particular age is a big guessing game. There are no universal size parameters, so even individual manufacturer's sizes will differ from each other. It is better to choose sizes based on height and weight rather than age. Many stores have this information available, or print the size/weight information on the tags of the clothing.
Having clothing that is slightly too large is a good choice since newborn babies grow very fast. You may find that something which fit two weeks earlier is now too small, and your baby only had a chance to wear it once!
Newborn = up to 8 pounds (3.6 kilos) and 18 inches (46 cm)
3 Months = 8 to 12 pounds (3.6 to 5.5 kilos ) and up to 23 inches (58 cm)
3-6 Months = 12 to 18 pounds (5.5 to 8.2 kilos) and up to 27 inches (69 cm)
If it looks like you will be having a full-term, average-sized baby, you will really need very few items that are sized "newborn". After the first week, most babies gain approximately a half-pound a week for the first few months. This means that the 3-month size is a better choice for the truly budget-conscious parents, even though your baby may be "swimming" in his clothes for a few weeks.
Newborn Baby Clothing ChecklistSo taking into account some level of convenience, what do you "need"? Assuming that you do your laundry two times a week, here is the minimum an average newborn might need in each size. (If you choose to do your laundry more or less frequently, you may adjust your "needs" accordingly.)
Laundering Newborn Baby ClothesIt's just my two cents, but a word should be said about proper laundering of your baby's clothing. Special detergents specifically for laundering your baby's clothing are available on the market. These would be a good choice if your child has a sensitivity to your regular laundry detergent. If not, consider simply washing their clothing along with yours. You could even double rinse if it makes you feel better. A new mom has enough on her plate without adding separate loads.
The exception to this would be if you will be washing your newborn's clothing along with clothing that has been exposed to chemicals (such as factory workers might be).
Preemie Baby ClothesIf you have a preemie baby, you may face some new challenges finding clothing that fits. The demand for these clothes is not sufficient to get the attention of a lot of newborn clothing manufacturers, although I did find a few things (like the sleepers here) at Amazon.com
Don't Know if You're Having a Girl or a Boy?If you (like me) have chosen not to find out whether your baby is a boy or girl during pregnancy, preparing for the arrival of your newborn is tricky. You want to have something for your baby to wear those first days, but purchasing a bunch of "non-gender" newborn clothing doesn't make much sense. Who wants a "non-gender" baby? You are EXCITED to show off that your baby is a BOY!!! (or a GIRL!!!)
My suggestion is that you purchase some neutral underclothes and pajamas, but then get a few sets of outer newborn baby clothes for a boy and for a girl, and then save whatever you don't need to give as a gift the next time a friend has a baby (or save for your next baby). That should get you through the first weeks until the gifts start pouring in (or until you are feeling up to shopping).
I hope this newborn clothing checklist will help you balance both needs and convenience. If we are successful at that, this would keep you from needing to do your laundry at 2 AM (so that your baby has something to wear in the morning), AND you won't waste your hard-earned money on things that you'll never use.
Remember take the coming season into account when clothes shopping for your newborn baby.
Oh! Just in case it needs to be said...laugh at (but never purchase) any newborn clothing that is dry clean only!
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