infant clothing your baby will actually wear

Baby Basics: infant clothing your baby will actually wear

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Ok Mamma, admit it. As soon as you found out you were pregnant you ran out and bought a couple of neutral baby outfits. Then immediately started dreaming about dressing your new bundle of joy. And then when you found out the sex you did a happy dance, dreaming about all the adorable outfits. After everyone and their mom got you outfits for your baby shower so you barely had to shop the first year. Although this is fantastic, a lot of what you’ll get at your shower isn’t super versatile. If you’re having a little girl five newborn ruffle dresses are great, but likely won’t get a lot of wear. I was told not to register for clothes because people would get them for us anyway. Although this is true, it’s a good idea to put a few of the items below on your registry so you make sure you’ll get some infant clothing baby can wear multiple times. Check out our tried and true recos from the hospital through the first year.

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One of the first questions most new moms have is what the baby should wear in the hospital. They pack seventeen outfits for the two-day stint after the baby is born. In reality, many hospitals require that baby uses their clothing. Most of the time you’re doing skin to skin so baby isn’t dressed all that much. What we didn’t buy (and immediately sent my mom out to get) were the kimono style tops babies wear in the hospital. This was an infant clothing item that wasn’t sexy so we left it off the list. However, once we actually HAD a baby, I was so worried about the umbilical cord she basically lived in these the first two weeks.

Kimono Tops 

These tops were great because I didn’t have to pull them over her head, which I was convinced wouldn’t fit in the onesies. They easily snap shut and are easy to pull on and off for frequent skin to skin. The plain white ones weren’t the most fashionable tops I’d ever seen, but I was most comfortable dressing her in this style at first. Since it was what they use at the hospital it was good enough for me.


Footie Pajamas 

The other article of clothing you can’t get enough of are footie pajamas. Yes, even in mid-summer. Newborns have trouble regulating their body temperature and spend a lot of their early days bundled up or with a hat on. With all the blowouts and other changes needed we probably went through 10 pairs of pajamas a week at first. We bought the Burt’s Bees organic pajamas in a ton of colors her first year.

Onesie and Cotton Pants Outfits  

Once you head to daycare you’ll likely start dressing your baby every day in infant clothing other than pajamas. You’ll still want her to be comfortable. Onesies and cotton pants do the trick here. I had visions that I’d be dressing my baby in cute dresses and jeans every day – and that just didn’t happen. Jeans felt way too stiff for her soft skin. She also needed to have her legs covered so she didn’t get cold so dresses weren’t a staple at first. There are a lot of great sets at Carters that go on sale frequently so this doubles as a great way to get some cute outfits for when you go out. You can also buy a ton of adorable outfits like the above from Amazon or Etsy!

Nice outfit with sweater

You will need something presentable in case you’re invited to an event. It’s probably a good idea to get a dress or two for a little girl and a nice pair of pants and shirt for a little boy. However, keep in mind that they’re still little so cotton is fine. No need to get a lace gown for your three-month-old or a starched linen shirt for your little man.

The key to successfully dressing your baby during the first year is comfort. Infant clothing should always be functional. Even an event outfit should be functional. Make sure you can easily change diapers and clothing in case it gets dirty. Your baby will look adorable no matter what she’s wearing!


Although you’ll probably get a ton of fancier clothes from well-meaning friends and family, you really only need a few core items for the first year. Onesies, footie pajamas, and cotton pants will be staples. By 18 months, you’ll be a lot closer to dressing your baby like a toddler than an infant and can spend a little more time focused on fashion.

Find out what clothing your baby will actually wear the first year, and how much you'll need. Most of the items you get at your shower aren't going to be what your baby lives in! Check out the baby basics that you really want to put on your registry.


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  1. When I go to showers I always try to get the clothing that I buy a bit bigger like maybe 12 months. Everyone always buys the teeny things and parents have so much they are never able to have them all worn. Bigger sizes are fine to buy ahead of time.

    1. Audrey, that’s so true, and a great tip. I had so many newborn and three month outfits, with only a few things size 12 months or older after our shower. Babies still grow like crazy and need new clothes past six months, so getting a larger size is appreciated and unexpected!

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