How Many Clothes to Buy Before Baby Is Born

Wondering how many clothes to buy before baby is born? Here’s a baby clothes checklist of what to get, from onesies to sleepers, in the newborn stage.

How Many Clothes to Buy Before Baby Is Born“So… how many clothes are we supposed to buy?” I asked my husband.

As a new mom, I didn’t exactly know what types of clothes to get for our baby, not to mention how many. Sizes aren’t always consistent across different brands, so I wasn’t sure if I should even get the newborn size clothing or jump straight to 0-3 month size.

I knew to pack a hospital bag, but even then, I didn’t know how many of the baby’s clothes I should back. And then, there’s the weather to contend with, considering how unreliable its changes can be. That’s how I found myself with a newborn in late October and the air conditioning on, unprepared for the heat wave.

How many clothes to buy before the baby is born

So, how do you know what baby clothes, which sizes, and how many to buy of each?

After three kids, I’ve learned that one week’s worth of baby clothes is the ideal scenario. You’ll have enough clothes to go through without doing laundry too often. You also won’t have to purchase too many that end up forgotten or hardly used (especially if you’re trying to be frugal).

But what exactly is one week’s worth of clothes? After all, newborns are notorious for spit ups and messy diaper changes. Here’s a checklist of newborn essentials and must-haves:

  • Onesies: 14-21 pieces. Depending on the weather, you might want to get long-sleeve bodysuits as well.
  • Pants: 14 pieces. I didn’t go out of my way to buy shorts, even when the weather was warm. If it’s truly warm, a onesie works well on its own.
  • Pajamas: 7-10 pieces. I recommend the kind with a zipper, or even a sleep sack or gown, but not the kind with snaps that you have to button.
  • Socks: 7-10 pairs. You may not need socks every day, but they can get lost in the laundry easily.
  • Swaddles: 2-3 pieces. You can use the same swaddle each time your baby sleeps, but having extras on hand will buy you time from having to do laundry right away.
  • Sleep sack: 2 pieces.
  • Hat: one piece.
  • Jacket or sweater: 2-3 pieces.
  • Extras: Keep a onesie, a pair of pants, and socks in your diaper bag as a backup.

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Should you buy newborn sizes?

Ask any mom whether to buy newborn sizes, and the answer you get will likely depend on the size of her baby at birth. Some will say they bought newborn sizes that their nine-pound baby wore for a week, tops. Others will say they didn’t buy them and their little one was swimming in 0-3 month size baby clothes.

So, what should you do?

I recommend buying a week’s worth of newborn clothes, but don’t open or wash all of them yet. Even if you don’t need them, you can always return or exchange unused ones for the size you need. Those that you did use can always be given away or donated.

Having some on hand will at least prevent you from scrambling to the store or washing loads of laundry in case you do. Of the ones you do get, start with the basics like onesies and pants, not outfits.

And once your baby has outgrown the newborn size, don’t feel like you have to buy the rest of sizes right away or fill your drawers. In fact, only get baby clothes up to three months. You can then reassess at that point how many clothes, and which types, to buy.

Baby Items You Don't Need

Best practices for buying baby clothes

Take a look at these tips when buying your baby’s clothes:

  • Get more basics and fewer outfits. Cute newborn baby clothes are great for special occasions or photos. But for daily wear, basics are your best bet, especially for frequent changing.
  • Buy seasonal or cute outfits as you go. If you are going to buy cute outfits, do so when the event is going to happen within the month. For instance, don’t buy your baby’s Halloween costume in the middle of summer yet. Even seasonal clothing like jackets are best purchased closer to when you’ll need it.
  • Add clothes to your baby registry. Then, wait until after your baby shower to buy the rest that you want that others hadn’t gifted you.
  • Find free or affordable baby clothes. I’m a big fan of local Buy Nothing groups (often found on Facebook). Make an ask for baby clothes, and I’m certain plenty of parents will be more than happy to pass their gently-used items to you. Hand-me-downs from friends are fantastic, as are consignment stores for affordable clothes.
  • Bring one baby outfit for the hospital. Many hospitals will provide baby’s first clothes while you’re there, but you’ll need an outfit to dress him in to go home.


Hopefully you’ve come away with a few tips about how many clothes to buy before your baby is born. Rest assured, there’s no one right answer. Even “mistakes” like buying too many or not enough are easily fixable.

But coming prepared, including the number of clothes you have at the ready, can make welcoming your baby that much easier. Here’s to you and your little one (and all the little onesies he’ll wear!).

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Monthly Baby Expenses

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