What kind of wardrobe does baby need?

By Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell

For that first trip home from hospital, dress your newborn in enough clothing and blankets to keep warm and protected. In warmer weather, a t-shirt and sleeper may be fine. In cold weather, you may need a hat, snowsuit, and extra blanket. Also, be sure to bring formula if you are bottle-feeding your baby.

You may be surprised to learn that newborns require little in the way of fashion. They need protection from sun, cold, and draft. To make your life easier, their garments should go on and come off readily with sturdy snaps or zippers, and the nappy area should open easily for changes. Don't make the mistake of buying too much. Newborns grow fast, and may be out of layette or newborn-sized clothing within several weeks of birth.

Your baby is quite likely to go through as many as three or four changes a day, so it makes sense to buy clothes made in easy-care fabrics that will wash and wear well. Choose natural fabrics as these are best for warmth and also for absorbency. Pure cotton clothing is ideal for your baby's underwear, but note that government regulations about fire retardancy have nearly made cotton sleepwear a thing of the past.

What you'll need:
  • 4 to 6 cotton singlets, or undershirts that snap closed at the crotch
  • 3 to 4 nightgowns that open at the bottom for easy changing
  • 3 to 4 stretch suits with snap or zippered bottom
  • 1 to 2 lightweight sweaters
  • 1 to 2 heavyweight sweaters
  • 2 to 3 stretch suits with feet for a spring/summer baby;
  • 4 to 6 for a fall/winter baby
Avoid hazards like:
  • Binding elastic or too-small openings
  • Nightwear that isn't flame retardant
  • Shoes with rigid, stiff soles or uppers
Linens to start with:
  • 3 to 4 fitted cot (or bassinet) sheets
  • 2 waterproof mattress pads
  • 4 to 6 bunny rugs
  • 2 cot blankets
  • 3 to 4 terrycloth towels with hoods
  • 3 to 4 washcloths
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.