New Parent's Guide to How to Shop for Baby Clothes

New Parent's Guide to How to Shop for Baby Clothes

Welcoming a new member to the family is exciting, especially for first-time parents. From choosing the perfect name to prepping the nursery, every step leading up to bringing your newborn home can bring up emotions. The planning and preparation that goes into becoming first-time parents can also feel a little overwhelming at times. Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to figure out how to shop for baby clothes that are unique and fashionable

In this guide, we'll delve into all the aspects of successful shopping for your baby, such as the necessities for buying baby clothes as a new parent, when to buy specific items, what materials to look for to avoid skin irritations, and much more. The goal is to help you create a timeline of what you need and when you need it in a way that makes sense for your growing family. Ready to discover how to shop for baby clothes as a new parent? Let's dive right in. 

Learning How to Shop for Baby Clothes

You're probably wondering 'how many outfits do I really need to buy?' while fighting the urge to buy every outfit you see. The truth is, you don't need to start with an entire wardrobe overflowing with adorable outfits. Yes, there might be an immeasurable number of cute onesies, gowns, and rompers that your little one would look absolutely precious in, but the reality is that babies grow quickly! There are only so many clothes that they can wear before they grow out of them.

When you first bring a newborn home, they're tiny. In those first 30 days, they grow a lot. There is no need to have six months' worth of brand new clothes for your little one just sitting around, at least not in one size. It's best to wait a few weeks before you start using that baby budget to purchase cute outfits. Once you're home, settled into your new routines, and gotten an idea of what styles you love, it’s a good time to pick out the perfect wardrobe. 

Now, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't be prepared. When you bring your baby home and start settling into the change of pace, having a standard selection of outfits to pick and choose from is essential. Garments that are neutral in color and easy to layer offer a great starting point. As a new parent, it’s helpful to find balance in having just the right amount of clothing rather than going overboard. Of course, this can be hard when your baby looks cute in everything! But it’s important to bear in mind when considering how to shop for baby clothes. 

As your little one grows and gets older, you'll get more accustomed to what styles you love seeing them in and the overnight growth spurts will become part of your normal routine. Something that can be beneficial throughout the first couple of years is buying your favorite outfits one size bigger than their age. Opt for items that offer a little wiggle room and don't fit so snugly. This can make changing diapers and outfits faster, and it can also give a little room to stretch and move about in comfort.  

Basic Must Haves

Because babies grow fast (and for many other reasons!) the first few months are likely to seem like a whirlwind when it comes to settling into a routine and getting used to taking care of them. They will outgrow their clothing, and that's okay. 

The easiest way to deal with this is by starting off with the basics. At a bare minimum, you'll need enough clothing to last a couple of weeks. This gives you a small window of leeway when it comes to ensuring you have something clean to put them in at all times, no matter the time of day. 

While shopping for clothes, it’s important to take the following factors and eventualities into consideration:

  • potty accidents (sometimes diapers just aren't enough)
  • spit ups
  • the time of year (pro tip—layers can be helpful year-round)
  • comfort
  • fabric types
  • accessibility
  • and general care

That may sound like a lot, but little ones naturally require a great deal of attention, detail, and care. And that means that sometimes you won't have the time or inclination to do things like laundry—so it’s wise to have enough options to last a few extra days. 

While it's of course important to have enough on hand, be careful about buying too much. Finding the perfect balance isn't always easy, but taking into account the different variables of what types of clothing you'll need, how often you intend to do laundry, and how many extra changes of clothing you may need can help you plan accordingly.

As you adjust to parenthood, having some flexibility can make a world of difference. At first, you most likely won't be going out every single day and will be devoted to spending time at home with your new addition, getting accustomed to being the doting parents your newborn deserves. 

During this time, you're going to be getting used to life with a small child. Things like spit-ups, drool, and potty accidents are a fact of life! While your baby doesn't always have to look picture perfect, they will need clean clothes available at all times. Try to make sure you always have something readily available to change them into. 

Starting with the basics, it can be helpful to have the following available:

  • Infant gowns (3-6 items)
  • Onesies/bodysuits (6-10 items)
  • Pajamas (6-8 items)
  • Socks/booties (6-10 pairs)
  • Jackets (2-4 items)
  • Mittens (1-2 pairs)
  • Undershirts (6-10 items)

Other garments that are less of a necessity and more of a way to make your newborn look extra adorable include vests, dressier outfits, hats, and blanket sleepers. Hats are perfect for offering an extra layer of protection should you spend any amount of time outdoors, and they're a great way to accessorize without worrying about things like spit-up or accidents dirtying them up. Blanket sleepers offer a little more comfort than standard blankets and can help your newborn feel secure overnight. 

Fabric Essentials and Sizing

A newborn's skin can be extremely sensitive and prone to irritation, so picking clothing that's made from hypoallergenic materials and natural fibers such as cotton or bamboo can help you avoid rashes or other skin ailments. When you're learning how to shop for baby clothes, always remember to opt for fabrics that are soft, offer breathability, and are easy to care for. 

Of course, everyone loves a cute outfit but try to be practical and thoughtful when it comes to making decisions on what to buy. After all, taking care of your little one is your top priority! Thankfully cute and comfy often go hand in hand. 

When it comes to fabrics, cotton-based options are a popular choice because of their durability and gentle qualities. Many articles of clothing made from cotton or bamboo are easy to care for, machine washable, and durable so that they remain in good condition regardless of how many times you wash them. 

Along with fabric type, sizing also matters. While it may seem as simple as matching their age to a size, it isn’t always so straight forward. Like everyone else, babies come in all shapes and sizes, which means buying clothes for an infant can be tricky. Since sizing can vary by brand,  it is a learning curve. A little research and knowing your baby’s age, weight and length will help you figure out which brands are true to their size and which ones work for you.

Caring for Your Baby and Their Clothes

Basic wear and tear is expected when it comes to baby clothes. Items that are frequently worn will eventually start to show signs of being well loved. That's why it's essential that you try to find items that are both durable and comfortable.

Shopping for neutral colors is a great way to increase your options when coordinating baby clothes. This makes it easy to mix and match outfits and can also be beneficial when layering items for cooler weather. 

Laundry, Gentle Washing, and Extra Care

As exciting as it can be to put your little one in the newest outfit you've bought and show off just how cute they are with a few quickly snapped pictures, you should always wash all baby clothes before they're first worn. 

Unless your baby has sensitive skin, you don't necessarily have to use a different detergent when doing laundry. Most baby clothing can be washed similarly to your own clothes, but some outfits should be washed in cold-water or air-dried. If you are concerned about sensitivity, it can be beneficial to purchase unscented detergents to help avoid any allergies or irritations from occurring. These can be used to do laundry for the whole family, saving you time otherwise spent separating out baby-only loads. 

Small Tips with Great Rewards

In the long run, keeping your newborn cozy and cute isn't as complex as it seems. While it takes some thought and a little bit more effort than simply picking up the first adorable outfit you see, it can feel extremely rewarding when they're all dressed up and comfortable. Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind:

  1. Infants don't regulate their body temperature as easily as you do, so sleeping with socks on can help keep them comfortable. However, don't overbundle them. Layers can be helpful depending on the weather. 
  2. Fasteners can save you both time and a potential pinch from a zipper. Avoid the metal ones if possible to help prevent potential allergic reactions.
  3. As cute as buttons and fringe are, they can be a choking hazard. If they feel loose, cut them off. 
  4. Purchase your favorite outfits in multiple sizes. As your little one grows, you can upgrade to the new size with articles of clothing that you know are dependable and cute. 

Becoming a parent will always be one of the biggest joys of a lifetime, but that doesn't make it easy. When you start the journey of shopping for all of the items needed to take care of your new addition, it's likely going to open the floodgates for an overwhelming mixture of emotions that feel both nerve-wracking and exciting.

At Elegant Baby, our goal is to ensure you have access to everything you need when it comes to keeping your little one cozy, cute and fashionable. With over half a century of experience, we pride ourselves on providing the very best in quality, design and craftsmanship. On your hunt for adorable and exclusive baby clothes, browse through our collection of luxury items for all ages and sizes, pick out your favorites, and check out our tips for shopping and baby care.
Back to blog