Children & Adolescents Clinic

 Home Parent's Guide

Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0


Clothes for your new baby do not have to be elaborate or expensive. A number of factors determine what you should purchase immediately before your baby's arrival:

  1. What season of the year is it? You obviously need more clothes in winter than summer.

  2. Where do you live? You will need more clothing if you live in a cool climate.

  3. Do you have a washer and dryer so you can launder clothes more often?

  4. Do you have friends or relatives who might loan you clothes?

  5. Will you receive gifts and presents after the baby is born?


4-6 T-shirts--size 6 months

4-6 Gowns, kimonos, or sacques

4-6 Rubber pants (buy less or none if you will only use disposable diapers)

4-6 Receiving blankets

4-6 Stretch suits

3-4 Blanket sleepers (less if your baby is born during the summer)

2 Blankets

1-2 Sweaters

1 Snowsuit or pram suit for winter

3-4 Pairs booties


  • Always buy clothes that are size 6 months or "up to 18 lb." Your baby will grow very quickly the first few months and will outgrow anything smaller.
  • Buy clothes according to your baby's weight, not according to her age.
  • Look for clothing that is easy to put on and take off: t-shirts with snaps or large openings at the neck, sleepers that have zippers that go from neck to foot, pants with snaps at the crotch so that it is easy to change diapers.
  • Make sure that seams in clothes are not scratchy or bulky and that there are no loose threads to constrict your baby's toes or fingers.
  • Buy blanket sleepers with nonskid feet so the baby can have better footing when it tries to crawl and walk. You can also put masking tape on the bottoms of the feet (remember to take tape off before you wash!). For extended wear, the sleeper feet can be cut off when the baby outgrows the sleeper in length. (Old sleepers can become Halloween costumes with a little embellishment!)
  • Don't buy a sacque for babies who are 5-6 months old because it hinders crawling.
  • Buy plastic bibs (toddler size) that are large enough to cover your baby's whole body--the large size saves on baths! Use smaller bibs to catch excess drooling.
  • Buy a snowsuit that is large enough to fit over the baby's other clothes for the entire winter. Also, don't buy a snowsuit with a slippery outer layer: it can be almost impossible to hold onto a squirming baby.
  • Children's clothing in sizes 0-14 such as kimonos, gowns, stretch playsuits, and sleepwear, must meet federal standards for fire safety: such fire-retardant clothing burns more slowly and will stop burning when removed from a flame. THIS PROTECTION CAN BE LOST IF YOU DON'T WASH THESE CLOTHES PROPERLY; always follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing.


  1. Winter
    • In your zeal to keep your baby warm, don't cause sweating or heat rash!
    • Rather than one heavy outfit, use layers of clothes which you can add or take off as needed.
    • With proper clothing, your baby's neck will be warm but not sweaty; her hands will be slightly cool.

  2. Summer
    • Warm weather calls for as little clothing as possible: diapers and a t-shirt--if it's really hot, skip the t-shirt.
    • Babies sunburn very easily--be sure to protect them from direct sun with light clothing and/or sunscreen.


  • Babies panic when their breathing is obstructed: remember this when you pull clothes over your baby's head. The best procedure is to gather the clothes at the back of the head, put the clothes on the back of the head and then pull them quickly over your baby's face.
  • To take clothes off, take the arms out of the sleeves, and then pull quickly over your baby's face.
  • The only easy way to put on stretch suits is to lay the suit out on a flat surface, place the baby on top and then put the legs in first with the arms last. Snap from top to bottom so that you get the snaps right.
  • When you are trying to get your baby's arm through a sleeve, gather the sleeve up accordion-style so that there is only a short distance to guide the arm through.
  • Babies are not usually fond of head gear, so use a cap only if weather is very cold or if the baby will be exposed to direct sun.


  1. A baby has no need for shoes until she begins to walk outside the house. Walking barefoot provides better balance and helps strengthen muscles. Socks or slippers also make it harder for your baby to crawl and walk.

  2. Tennis shoes are perfect first shoes. They are neither expensive nor stiff.

  3. When you buy shoes, get a proper fit. Take the baby along and make sure the shoes are 1/2 inch longer than the longest toe (with socks on the baby's feet).

  4. If you do buy leather shoes, sandpaper the soles to give better traction.

Written by Kate Capage.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems