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How Long Do Babies Wear Newborn Clothes? (it depends)

In the excitement of preparing for your baby, filling the nursery with tiny outfits can be tempting. But did you know your little one may only be newborn-sized for a few weeks? And if they’re more than eight and ½ lbs at birth, they may never fit in newborn sizes at all!

This can make it tricky to know how much to buy when to wear special outfits, and even what to pack in your hospital bag!

But don’t worry, here’s everything you need to know about newborn-sized clothes. Including a handy table that tells you the week your baby will likely grow out of them.

What Weight Do Newborn Clothes Fit?

Newborn clothes are designed to fit babies weighing between 5 lbs and 8 lbs. 

This is confusing because a full-term baby can be born weighing anywhere from 5 lbs 8oz to 8 lbs 13oz. So your little one could be born already too big for newborn clothes.

How Long Do Babies Stay In Newborn-Size Clothes?

Your baby will grow out of their newborn outfits when they reach 8 lbs or 20 inches. At this point, they’ll switch over to 0–3-month-sized clothes.

To work out how long your little one will stay in their first outfits, you need to know two things:

  • Their Birth Weight

Keep in mind; babies lose between 5 and 10% of their body weight in their first few days. So you may have to include this loss in your calculations.

  • Their Growth Rate

Babies gain 5 to 7 ounces a week in their first 6 months. 

Knowing this, you could calculate when your little one will grow out of their newborn clothes. Or, just use our handy table below:

Birth WeightWeek They’ll Grow Out of Newborn Clothes
5lbs 8oz5 to 10
6lbs4 to 8
6lbs 8oz3 to 6
7lb2 to 4
7lb 8oz1 to 3
8lb1 to 2
8lb 8oz0 to 1

Do You Have to Buy Newborn Clothes?

As there’s a chance of newborn clothes being too small at birth, many parents wonder if they can skip them altogether.

However, unless you can guarantee that your baby will weigh more than 8 and ½ lbs at birth, you should get some newborn sizes. 

This is because 0 to 3-month clothes will look excessively baggy, even on an 8 lb baby. Also, clothes that are too big pose a risk of suffocation.

When to Move Up a Size in Baby Clothes

You can’t always trust the age guide on baby clothes to let you know when to move up a size. Plus, some brands come up smaller than others.

So, instead of going by what the label says, look out for these signs that your baby’s clothes are too small:

  • They look a little snug.
  • The snaps are popping open.
  • There’s not enough room for them to fully straighten their legs.
  • Their clothes are leaving marks on their skin.

How Many Newborn Clothes Do You Need?

The general rule of thumb is to plan for between 2 and 3 outfit changes per day. This might seem a lot for a little person who barely moves. But spit-up, leaks, and diaper explosions are all common events.

So, if you plan to do one load of baby laundry per week, you should buy:

  • 14 Onesies or Bodysuits

These are essentially baby t-shirts, but they have poppers in the crotch to keep them in place. You can choose long or short-sleeved, depending on the season.

  • 4 Pairs of Pants

Put these over bodysuits during the day if it’s chilly or if you’re going out. If you choose pants with feet, you won’t need extra socks (which will fall off anyway).

  • 7 Sleepers or Footie Pajamas

These are the clothes your little one will wear at night.

  • 2 Hats

Babies aren’t great at regulating their body temperature, so hats are essential when you go out.

Do Newborns Need Clothes?

You might’ve noticed that little outfits are missing from that list. These are entirely optional and depend on your personal style.

Many new parents find the first few weeks fly by without anyone getting out of their pajamas. Plus, taking your little one out in a bodysuit and pants or a onesie is perfectly acceptable. So you may find you don’t need formal clothes at all.

However, if you’re planning a photo shoot or special event, you may wish to buy one or two formal pieces.

It’s also OK to buy cute outfits just because it makes you happy to see your little one all dressed up.

Bear in mind that a comfortable baby is a happy baby. Stiff fabrics, tight waistlines, or lumpy details on their backs are never a good idea.

What Newborn Clothes Should You Bring to the Hospital?

For an uncomplicated vaginal birth, you’ll probably be in the hospital for about 24 hours. To ensure you have all the clothing you’ll need for your new arrival, pack:

  • 2 X Newborn-Size Pyjamas and 2 X 0-to-3-Month Pyjamas

Packaging different sizes means you’ll be prepared for anything, regardless of your baby’s weight. Birth weight predictions are rarely accurate, and many partners must leave the hospital to pick up smaller clothes.

  • 2 X Newborn-Size Bodysuits and 2 X 0-to-3-Month Bodysuits

Hospitals are often kept very warm, so you’ll want short-sleeved bodysuits. If you have a cold journey home, these can also be layered under their pajamas. 

  • 1 Hat

A hat will help your little one regulate their body temperature during their first few days.

  • 1 Pair of Socks

Babies can still get very cold toes, even if it’s warm enough for a bodysuit.

  • 1 Special Outfit for Their First Photo

Your baby’s first photo will likely be something you’ll cherish. So while the onesies covered in dinosaurs or mermaids are super cute, they may not be something you’ll want to display forever. The best option is to pack a timeless, white onesie, perhaps embellished with a small detail or customized with their name. 

If you’re planning a C-section, you’ll likely be in the hospital for between 2 and 4 days. So, pack around 5 of each outfit.


Can a Newborn Wear 0 to 3 Month Clothes?

If your little one weighs more than 8 lbs, they’ll probably fit in 0 to 3-month clothing.

However, it’ll likely look very baggy on them. Plus, clothing that’s way too big can be dangerous. So, having a few newborn sizes on hand is a good idea, even if you’re expecting a big baby.

How Can You Tell if Baby Clothes Are Too Big?

Baby clothes that are too big pose a suffocation risk. So, you shouldn’t dress your little one in anything that:

  • Seems big enough for them to slip down inside.
  • Has sleeves that cover their fingers.
  • Has an excessive amount of loose fabric.
  • Has seams that don’t align with their shoulders.

Do You Have to Pre-wash Newborn Clothes?

You should always pre-wash your little one’s outfits before they wear them. This is because the clothes may have been exposed to chemicals and irritants during the production and transportation process. As babies are born with incredibly delicate skin, these can cause rashes.

How to Wash Newborn Clothes

Baby clothes can be washed in a regular washing machine. But before you throw them in with your next load, here are some things to consider:

  • Always use sensitive skin or baby-safe detergent to avoid irritation.
  • Wash delicate garments in a cooler setting than usual.
  • Wash small items like socks and scratch mitts in a garment bag.
  • Wash separately from heavily soiled clothes or items with a lot of pet hair.

Laura Davies

Laura is a dedicated writer and keen researcher, passionate about creating articles that help and inspire. She loves to delve into journals and the latest research, so her readers don’t have to. She’s also an ex-teacher and mom to two young daughters. Her experience with finger painting, den building, and diapers is extensive, and she’s always happy to share what she’s learned along the way.

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