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How to buy clothes for a baby: 14 steps

Between feeding, burping, soothing, and changing, the last thing you want to do when you have a little one is to worry about his/her clothes. Ideally, you want items that won't irritate your little one's skin, take too much effort to put on and take off, or have an inappropriate fit. Read on for a detailed guide on how to go about clothes shopping for your baby.

Choosing clothes

1. Stock up on the essentials

You should focus on buying the necessities in preparation for your little one’s arrival. Here is a basic list of what you need to have and the estimated numbers for each item.

  • 2-4 infant gowns: Infant gowns allow for easy diaper access, plus they are easy to put on and take off. You want to stick with them at least until the baby’s cord stump falls off.
  • 4-8 onesies or bodysuits: You want to go for onesies that feature wide head openings as they are easy to put over a baby’s head. Alternatively, you can look for items that avoid the head and save you from causing discomfort to your baby – kimono-style shirts and side-snap t-shirts are great options. Fairly loose legs also make for easier dressing.
  • 4-8 vests or undershirts: Once again, go for items that feature wide head openings or snaps at the sides. Also, undershirts that snap at the crotch area are preferable to keep them from riding up.
  • 2 blanket sleepers: Blankets are a practical and safer alternative option to normal blankets for babies.
  • 4-8 pajamas: One-piece pajamas are comfortable and easy to put on and take off your baby. They can also make great daytime clothes especially if you don’t plan to go out with the baby.
  • 1-3 jackets or sweaters: Depending on the weather, your baby might need a couple of jackets or sweaters to keep them warm. Choose items that have fastenings in the front, as most babies spend time lying on their backs.
  • 4-6 hats: Buy soft hats that protect the head and ears for a winter baby and a broad-brimmed hat for a summer baby.
  • 4-7 pairs of socks and mittens: Consider buying your little one a few pairs of socks to ensure that his/her feet stay warm at all times. Mittens are important to have even during summertime, as they keep babies from scratching themselves. 
  • 1-3 rompers or other similar dress-up outfits: Dress-up outfits are the least essential items on this list as it is unlikely that you will be getting them all dolled up regularly, but you want to keep a few fancy rompers handy just in case.
  • Fleece suit: A fleece suit is a must-have item for a winter baby.

2. Choose soft fabrics

Babies have sensitive skin, which is why you always want to go for soft fabrics. Some experts recommend going for cotton exclusively, although soft cotton blends are also suitable for most babies. Organic fabric is softer than both of the aforementioned options, but it is also pricier.

3. Buying the right size of clothing

Sizing for baby clothing varies from brand to brand, so you want to check the size charts, which will usually be provided on a brand’s website to see which size will suit your little one based on his/her height and weight. Consider buying clothing that is one size larger to keep up with your baby’s growth spurts.

4. Go for clothes that are easy to change

You will quickly realize the convenience that clothes that are easy to put on and take off allow you once you start dealing with poop, pee, and spit-up.
Look for stretchy clothes, especially around the neck, arms, and legs.

5. Avoid buttons and opt to go for other fastening options such as Velcro, zips, and snaps.

6. Kimono-style clothing will make the dressing experience much more comfortable for your baby.

7. Consider the season

Buy your little one warm clothing – jackets, sweaters, winter coats – for the winter. As the weather warms up, peel back the layers to reduce the risk of overheating.

8. Consider the cost

One of the easiest ways you can cut down the cost of having a baby is by buying clothes cheaply. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to compromise on quality. Here are a few tips on how you can save on purchases:

9. Avoid buying in bulk

Whenever you buy clothes for your little one, avoid making bulk purchases. This is because babies grow at a rapid rate, so you may buy a large quantity at once only for the baby to outgrow them in a couple of weeks. Once you get the essentials out of the way, only buy items as you need them.

10. Go for gender-neutral clothes

If you intend to have more children in the future, consider buying gender neutral baby clothes. This way, you will be able to reuse the clothes, regardless of the baby's gender. Additionally, unisex baby clothing has a higher resale value in case your plans change.

11. Consider used clothes

Consider buying used clothes for your little one. Most second-hand baby clothes are usually in good condition as they are gently worn, plus you are more likely to find a diverse range of clothes. You can buy second-hand from thrift stores and online consignment clothes. You can also ask family and friends for old baby clothes that they don’t use anymore.

12. The importance of safety

Beware of unnecessary add-ons or any potential choking hazards
Beware of buttons, bows, appliques, hooks, flowers. These add-ons can easily come off and become choking hazards.

13. Pre-wash

New clothes are usually treated with chemicals to make them appear crisper, so ensure you give all items a good wash before wearing them.

14. Adherence to safety guidelines

A lot of guidelines are routinely recalled due to their falling short of safety standards. Check to see that the items you plan to buy haven’t been recalled.

Final thoughts

Buying clothes for a baby can be overwhelming, but if you know how to go about it, it can be a fun experience. You should have all the essentials ready beforehand, making sure that you go for items that are soft, easy to change, season-appropriate, and in the right size.

To reduce costs, only buy what you need, and consider going for gender-neutral clothes especially if you plan on having more kids in the future. Finally, ensure the items you buy are in line with the safety guidelines for baby clothes.

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