We get it: Shopping for clothes is a blast—especially when said clothes are teeny-tiny and oh-so-adorable. But as much fun as it is to register for a full wardrobe for baby, there’s definitely more strategy involved than you’d think. What do you actually need vs. what do you want? What will make baby’s life as comfortable, easy and stylish as possible? To help you navigate this uncharted territory, we rounded up six smart tips to keep in mind, plus picks from Carter’s Little Baby Basics collection that should make your list.
1. Think about the future, not only the right now.
We all wish baby could stay small forever, but the reality is, he’s going to get bigger—fast. Fortunately, Carter’s Little Baby Basics collection ranges in size from newborn to 24 months, so if you love those knit pants in one size, you can get them in the next size up too. In fact, don’t go overboard registering only for newborn clothes, since baby will quickly outgrow them. Instead, spread out your selections from newborn to 6 months, taking seasons into consideration. If baby will be born in winter, your newborn picks should focus on long-sleeve bodysuits and cozy fleece PJs. But keep in mind you’ll also need lightweight options, like a multi-pack of short-sleeve bodysuits, in larger sizes for when it warms up.
2. Shop the must-haves, but don’t forget to have some fun.
Basics are the key to every wardrobe—including baby’s—so make sure your list includes essentials like the Carter’s Take-Me-Home set, Sleep & Play and Babysoft coveralls. These pieces are made with soft cotton (aka easy to wash and comfortable for baby) and thanks to their expandable shoulders and snaps, make diaper changes almost a breeze. Speaking of, be sure to keep an extra set of these must-haves in your diaper bag so you’re prepared in case of an accident. And don’t forget to register for a few special items too. We’re obsessed with the Little Character sets, especially this seriously cute set with an elephant on the booty. And how can you resist this hilarious bodysuit that’s as functional as it is funny?
3. Make your taste known.
All baby clothes are cute, but some will definitely appeal to you more than others—and that’s okay. If you prefer gender-neutral clothing (not everyone wants pink for a girl), be sure to let your friends know. Also keep in mind that no matter who shops your registry, some guests will go a little rogue and buy items that aren’t on it. If they’re familiar with what you like though, they’ll at least (hopefully) pick pieces that fit your style.
4. Consider your lifestyle.
Think about how you and baby will spend most of your time: sleeping, eating, playing and cuddling. It’s smart to focus on practical picks: What are the pieces you’re likely to use every day? You’ll love wrapping her up after bath time in this hooded lamb towel that’s 100 percent cotton terry (aka super cozy for baby and easy for you to wash). For bedtime, we recommend this Babysoft sleeper gown with a cinched hem that’ll keep her toes toasty all night long, while providing easy access for late-night diaper changes. That said, don’t totally forego dresses or button-front shirts for those extra special moments and photoshoots.
5. Ask your mom friends for honest advice.
Who knows what you’ll need better than your fellow moms? Exactly. Consult your friends about their clothing registry must-haves. Ask what items they actually used, what they wish they’d passed on and looking back, what forgotten pieces they wish they’d included. You may not agree with all their advice, but getting a real-life perspective from someone who’s been there can only help guide you through this baby clothing space.
6. Remember the details—just don’t get caught up in every little thing.
We know you have a lot going on prepping for baby. You’re getting the nursery together, going to your doctor’s appointments and attending birthing classes—all while a tiny human is growing inside you. There’s absolutely no reason to add anything extra to your plate, so when it comes to picking out clothes for your registry, think strategically, but don’t stress over every little detail. Make sure you have an outfit to bring her home in, like this footed pant set, plus a few essentials like swaddle blankets, booties and plenty of coveralls.