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The Best Newborn Clothes to Stock Up on, According to Experts

We’ve gathered the baby wardrobe staples every newbie needs.
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profile picture of Martina Garvey
By Martina Garvey, E-Commerce Editor
Updated February 21, 2024
Best baby clothes for newborns
Image: Kyte Baby
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Buying newborn clothes is one of the most exciting parts of expecting a little one. Those impossibly tiny socks, hats and bodysuits hardly seem big enough to fit an actual human—or at least, that’s how I remember feeling when I was stocking up on newborn baby clothes for my own girls. But shopping can be stressful, too, if you’re not sure what basics you might need. How many newborn sleepers will you use before baby graduates to the next size? And how should you go about choosing the best layette set? (Also, what is even in a layette set?)

Since my children’s newborn days are long past, I asked a few experts to weigh in on the needs of today’s parents and newborns. Lauren Gregor mom of two and founder and CEO at Rent-a-Romper, and Katie McCann, a breastfeeding counselor and former paramedic with over 15 years of experience in pediatrics, offered their advice on what to look for in everything from rompers and leggings to wrap shirts and sleeper gowns. Whether you’re adding items to your registry, going through the piles of gifts you got at your shower or deciding what hand-me-downs to accept from your neighbor, this list will be a helpful guide to the newborn clothing you need.

How We Chose The Best Newborn Clothes

One thing is certain: There’s no shortage of newborn baby clothes to choose from out there. To help narrow down the list, we’ve done the research, consulted the experts and scrolled through tons of options so you don’t have to. Here are the steps we took to create this article:

  • We interviewed two experts and asked them what types of newborn clothing are essential to have on hand.
  • We looked at the experiences of real parents in The Bump community forum, and included some of their thoughts below.
  • We leveraged our familiarity with leading baby clothes brands that parents (including our editors) have relied on over the years.
  • We consulted guidelines from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to ensure all the baby clothing we recommend is safe for newborns.
  • We read user reviews to see how these garments have worked for newborns, and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.

Editorial integrity is at the heart of everything we publish. Read about how The Bump develops and reviews all articles, including product reviews.

Newborn Bodysuits

First up on our list of the best newborn clothes? The classic baby bodysuit. Baby bodysuits—aka onesies—form the cornerstone of your newborn’s wardrobe. But finding the right ones to stock up on can be tricky.

When it comes to bodysuits, Gregor says, “there are so many styles, so it can be confusing to know what you need.” She recommends trying a few different styles before deciding which kind works best. “Start with a mix of sleeveless, long-sleeved, crewneck and even magnetic bodysuits to see what works best for your baby,” continues Gregor.

Once you land on baby’s preferred style, stock up. The Bump recommends having 4-8 bodysuits in-hand when baby is born, but McCann thinks having 10 is a good idea. “Given my experience with two babies of my own, I learned quickly that you can never have enough bodysuits!” Baby bodysuits are useful for easy diaper changes and help contain messes if a dreaded diaper blowout (aka poonami) occurs. McCann also notes that these versatile garments “are great for layering in the winter, and can also be worn on hot days.”

Short-sleeve newborn bodysuit

Primary The Organic Short Sleeve Babysuit
Image: Primary
Buying Options
Primary|$5

Primary The Organic Short Sleeve Babysuit Looking for a simple, match-with-anything bodysuit for baby? Look no further than this organic cotton option from Primary. It’s available in a ton of bright hues (and some neutrals too!). Better yet, it features button snaps at the crotch and that all-important envelope neckline, so it’s easy to take on and off a wriggly baby.

Size range: Newborn to 18-24 months | Material: Cotton | Care instructions: Machine wash with like colors

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Long-sleeve thermal bodysuits

Simple Joys by Carter's Unisex Babies' Long-Sleeve Thermal Bodysuits, Pack of 4
Image: Amazon

What’s better than a great bodysuit for baby? Four for the price of one, of course! This baby bodysuit multipack is affordable and adorable. Each long-sleeved bodysuit is made from a cozy knit material with ribbed cuffs that offer extra insulation on chilly days. We also love the fact that these bodysuits are free from annoying, itchy tags and boast practical features like envelope style necks and nickel-free fasteners at the crotch.

Size range: Preemie to 24 months | Material: 60% cotton/40% polyester | Care instructions: Machine wash

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Newborn Wrap Shirts

Wrap shirts—also known as kimono tops—were another essential newborn clothing item identified by the experts. “Wrap shirts are popular with newborns because you don’t need to pull them over the baby’s head and they do not have any irritating buttons, zippers, seams or snaps near your newborn’s stomach or umbilical cord stump,” explains Gregor. “Once their belly has healed, you can switch to another style.” This newborn clothing staple comes in short- and long-sleeve styles and can be worn as a top or a thin cover-up over a bodysuit. Pick up a few of these, but don’t go overboard, as baby will outgrow them quickly.

Organic cotton wrap shirt

Kissy Kissy White Pointelle Long Sleeve Cross Tee
Image: Kissy Kissy
Buying Options
Kissy Kissy|$25

For a newborn essential that feels totally luxurious, pack this wrap-style shirt in your hospital bag. Lovingly crafted from ultra-soft Peruvian pima cotton, this top is gentle enough for sensitive newborn skin and has a single snap fastener at the side for easy on and off. Meanwhile, subtle pointelle detailing at the cuffs and neckline ensures this newborn shirt is perfect for those first photo opportunities. Available in crisp white, soft pink and baby blue.

Size range: Newborn to 3-6 months | Material: Cotton | Care instructions: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low

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Printed wrap-style top

Monica + Andy Hello Baby Top
Image: Monica + Andy
Buying Options
Monica + Andy|$14

Hello, cuteness! This basic wrap-style shirt is designed to be the first thing your baby wears in the hospital. The super-soft organic cotton material is GOTS-certified and free from lead, phthalates and other nasties. While the cross-front design leaves plenty of room for baby’s umbilical cord stump to heal and fold-over mittens prevent self-scratching. (Trust us, those newborn nails are sharp!) Available in eight basic colors and a limited-edition farm print, this newborn wrap is a new baby essential.

Size range: Preemie to 0-3 months | Material: Cotton | Care instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry low

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Newborn Beanies

Baby beanies have long been included as a must-have piece of newborn clothing. However, updated guidelines from the AAP state that infants should not wear a hat indoors after they leave the hospital as this can lead to overheating.

With that said, newborn beanies still have a place in baby’s outdoor wardrobe.“Depending on the climate where you live, beanies can be helpful to help your baby regulate their temperature in those first few weeks of life,” Gregor says.

McCann advises having three or four hats on hand. “As a medical professional, I know newborns lose heat rapidly from their heads. Hats are essential during the first few months for temperature regulation.” For newborns, she warns against styles with ties under the chin, as they can present a choking hazard.

Baby beanies

Carter’s Little Planet 2-Pack Organic Cotton Rib Caps
Image: Carter's
Buying Options
Carter's|$12

These gender-neutral baby beanies are soft, stretchy and adorable. Crafted from a double-layer of GOTS-certified organic cotton the hats provide four-way stretch, meaning they’ll expand to fit your growing child. Plus, the seamless style won’t scratch baby’s sensitive noggin. While they may be too thick for indoor use at the hospital, these beanies will certainly keep your newborn warm on outdoor excursions.

Size range: 0-3 to 3-9 months | Material: 95% cotton/5% elastane | Care instructions: Machine wash

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Newborn knot cap

LouLou Lollipop Top Knot Beanie
Image: LouLou Lollipop
Buying Options
LouLou Lollipop| $14

We’re simply gaga for this top knot cap from Loulou Lollipop. It’s made from a blend of sustainable TENCEL and organic cotton, this baby hat is silky-soft, breathable and naturally thermo-regulating. Plus, the knot can be loosened or tightened to fit the size of baby’s head, meaning it can be worn from birth up to 6 months. We love this cute “bears on bicycles” print, but there are tons of patterns available.

Size range: 0-6 months | Material: 94% TENCEL Lyocell/6% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash on gentle cycle, tumble dry low

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Newborn Rompers

Also sometimes called a one-piece or bubble, a baby romper is a cute and practical piece of clothing, a top and bottom all in one, usually with snaps at the crotch for easy diaper changes. Not only do rompers mean fewer pieces of clothing to put on a squirmy baby, but they also come in fun, fashion-forward prints and patterns, making them an ideal option for playdates, family gatherings or photoshoots. A newborn romper can be worn over a bodysuit or on its own for a cute warm-weather look.

Gregor calls rompers an everyday staple for new babies. “They offer the one-and-done benefit to parents of not having to match pieces, and they come with a variety of closures to make dressing your baby easier (zippers, snaps and even magnetic closures),” she explains.

Bubble rompers

Burt’s Bees Baby Multi Stripe Organic Baby Bubble Rompers 2 Pack
Image: Burt’s Bees Baby

How cute are these newborn rompers by Burt’s Bees Baby? The rompers are made from GOTS-certified cotton that’s breathable, soft and pill-resistant, meaning they’ll stand the test of time and multiple wash cycles. The “bubble” design is nice and roomy, leaving plenty of space for baby’s diaper. While the elasticated leg openings aren’t too restrictive, meaning your active baby can still kick and curl up their legs. The two pack includes a sweet striped romper plus a pink option with a tiny embroidered bee—how sweet!

Size range: Newborn to 24 months | Material: Cotton | Care instructions: Machine wash

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Gender neutral baby romper

Organic Zoo Olive Dots Salopette
Image: Organic Zoo
Buying Options
Organic Zoo|$53

We’re crushing hard on this adorable polka-dot romper by Organic Zoo. It’s made from thick, brushed organic cotton that's touchably soft and cozy. Aside from the high quality fabric, the overalls-style romper has three buttons down the front, plus snap fasteners at the crotch for quick and easy outfit changes. Layer it over a bodysuit for outdoor adventures or pop it on solo for indoor shenanigans.

Size range: 0-3 to 3-6 months | Material: Cotton | Care instructions: Machine wash on gentle cycle

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Newborn Leggings

Soft, stretchy leggings are great to pull over a bodysuit or layer under dresses. You’ll want to look for newborn leggings in comfortable fabrics like cotton that won’t irritate or chafe baby’s sensitive skin, and Gregor advises considering how stretchy the fabric is, and whether or not they have feet included.

“You want to make sure any elastic at the belly is not pressing too hard on your baby’s belly during those first days, as their belly is healing from the umbilical cord. Some newborn pants also come with the option of feet included, which save you from losing those tiny socks, but if you have a long baby they may not fit,” Gregor says.

Stretchy baby leggings

Baby Mori Everyday Leggings
Image: Baby Mori
Buying Options
MORI|$46.80

These baby leggings from MORI feature cuffs at the bottom, which help them stay in place as baby kicks and plays. Best of all, they come in several cute but subtle colors and patterns. Also helpful? A stretchy waistband that pulls down for easy diaper changes. We’re sold!

Size range: Newborn to 2-3 years | Material: 70% bamboo/30% cotton | Care instructions: Machine washable

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Cotton baby leggings

H&M 3-pack Cotton Leggings
Image: H&M
Buying Options
H&M|$12

If you’re not looking to break the bank on baby basics like leggings, this three-pack from H&M is perfect for you. You’ll get a few pairs of cotton leggings in various prints, so you’ll always have something warm to pop on baby, even on laundry day. Choose from several different packs, some that include basics like black and beige, and others that feature several coordinating colors.

Size range: Preemie to 4T | Material: 95% cotton/5% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash

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Newborn Sleepers

Can’t tell your bodysuits from your sleepers? No worries—we’re here to help. A sleeper is an all-in-one outfit, often made from cotton or fleece, that keeps newborns warm and cozy as they snooze. But these handy newborn ensembles aren’t just for bedtime; baby sleepers can be worn at home during tummy time or even on outings. More often than not, sleepers have long sleeves and cover baby’s feet—perfect for keeping your little one as snug as a bug anytime, anywhere. But Gregor advises parents to go one step further and “look for brands that include hand covers to keep your baby from scratching themselves with those deceptively sharp nails.” Stock up on a few of these versatile newborn baby outfits, as you’ll probably use at least one a day.

Two-way zip baby sleeper

Hanna Andersson Baby Zip Sleeper
Image: Hanna Andersson

An infant and baby staple, this long-sleeved sleeper from Hanna Andersson is a newborn must-have. A chin-to-knee two-way zip makes diaper changes a snap, while a protective tab at the top ensures the metal zipper never touches baby’s skin. We also love the fold-over cuffs that help you get longer out of the sleep suit and the flat-lock seams for added comfort. This iconic sleep suit comes in an amazing array of super-cute, kid-friendly patterns (everything from hearts to rocket ships) that’ll have you coming back for more.

Size range: 0-3 months to 3 years | Material: Cotton | Care instructions: Machine wash cold

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Bamboo sleeper

Little Sleepies Sunshine Zippy
Image: Little Sleepies
Buying Options
Little Sleepies|$34

This is the baby sleeper that has it all. Not only is it completely adorable—featuring smiling suns and a bright yellow trim—but it’s incredibly soft and breathable as well, thanks to the unique bamboo rayon fabric. And there’s more: The company has thought of every detail, adding fold-over foot cuffs and (as Gregor recommends) mittens on the hands to prevent scratching and keep baby’s extremities toasty all night long. It’s also tagless and lasts up to three times longer than the average sleep suit. Needless to say, we’re obsessed!

Size range: Micro-preemie to 3 years | Material: 95% viscose/5% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash cold

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Newborn Sleeper Gowns

Knot gowns are another popular option for newborn sleepwear. Functional yet cute, sleep gowns are one-piece garments that are either open or can be tied in a knot at the bottom. “Even easier than the one-piece rompers, sleeper gowns allow for very quick changing and particularly great for those middle-of-the night, half-awake diaper changes,” Gregor says. “Some gowns can also grow with your baby and be used from newborn to three months or beyond, as the flexibility to tie up the bottom allows you to adjust the sizing as they grow.” Shop some of our favorite sleeper gowns below.

Soft sleepers for newborns

Carter’s Baby 2-Pack PurelySoft Sleeper Gowns
Image: Carter's
Buying Options
Carter's|$19.20

We’re huge fans of Carter’s sleeper gowns because they’re affordable, washable and adorable. Here, you’ll get two sleeper gowns in gender-neutral colors and patterns. These cotton sleepers feature envelope necklines for easy dressing and removal, cinched hems to help prevent baby’s feet from getting cold and cuffs at the hands to prevent scratching. Plus, the eco-friendly material is super-stretchy and soft.

Size range: Preemie to 3 months | Material: 96% viscose/4% elastane | Care instructions: Machine wash

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Newborn knot gown

aden + anais Comfort Knit Knotted Newborn Baby Gown and Hat
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$27.95

How’s this for versatility? This infant sleeper gown can be tightened or loosened as baby grows bigger. That’s key, since sleeper gowns really only work for the first few weeks of life. Functionality aside, we love the super-soft fabric and cute animal print on this baby sleeper gown.

Size range: Newborn to 0-3 months | Material: 95% cotton/5% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash

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Newborn Socks

“Ready for the always-disappearing tiniest item for your tiny baby?” Gregor asks. “While you want to help babies regulate their temperature in the early days, baby socks are oh-so-small and are bound to get lost behind the laundry machine or in every diaper bag you have.” For this reason, she says she prefers footed rompers or booties with velcro or snap closures that can be used instead of socks.

Still, it’s essential to have plenty of socks on hand. “Don’t skimp on the socks!” says McCann. “Tiny baby socks get lost easily, so have at least five to seven pairs on standby. Proper foot warmth promotes overall newborn health.”

Seamless baby socks

Bombas Baby Socks 8-Pack
Image: Bombas
Buying Options
Bombas|$36

These stylish socks are stretchy, soft and much-loved by parents. While they’re pricier than other options, the seamless toe, “stay-on technology” and extra cushioning make them well worth the investment.

Size range:0-6 months | Material: 75% cotton/22% polyester/3% elastane | Care instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry low

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No-slip socks

Carter’s Baby No-Slip Socks
Image: Carter’s
Buying Options
Carter’s|$9.95

Socks aren’t something you probably want to put a ton of thought into, which is why this three-pack is great. The neutral shades pair with any outfit and the soft cotton material is gentle on little tootsies. Plus, slip-resistant grippers make these socks a great choice for older babies on the move.

Size range: 0-12 months | Material: 77% cotton/23% polyester/2% elastane | Care instructions: Machine wash

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Newborn Layette Sets

Rounding out our list of the best newborn clothes is a couple of layette sets. A layette is a collection of essential items you’ll need after baby’s arrival. Rather than purchasing everything piece by piece, you can pick up a curated collection of clothing at many stores—or simply add a layette set to your registry.

What does a layette include? It depends on the particular set you choose. “A layette is another term for ‘baby’s first clothing set’ and often will include a pre-built wardrobe for the baby including bodysuits, pants, beanies and more,” says Gregor. “They’re great for a coming-home-from-the hospital photo op.”

Ultimate layette set

Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Box
Image: Burt's Bees
Buying Options
Burt’s Bees|$175

This wooden box comes chock full of just about everything you’ll need for baby’s first three months, including five onesies, two hooded towels, infant sleepers, receiving blankets, washcloths and much more. Beautifully packaged, it makes the perfect gift, either for your own little one or someone else’s.

Size range: 0-3 to 3-6 months | Material: N/A | Care instructions: N/A

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Sustainable layette set

Baby Mori Baby Starter Set
Image: Baby Mori
Buying Options
Baby Mori| $216.90

This beautifully packaged layette set comes with tons of baby essentials from the upscale brand Baby Mori. You’ll get 12 essentials—some of which can be personalized for an extra charge—including a sleep sack, onesies, footed sleepers and a receiving blanket. Choose from three striped patterns or a solid gray, each of which is suitable for boys and girls.

Size range: Newborn to 6-9 months | Material: N/A | Care instructions: N/A

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Do I Need Clothes in Newborn Sizes?

When you go out on your first newborn clothing shopping trip, you’ll realize there are multiple sizing options—clothes can come in either 0-3 months, or the slightly smaller “NB” or newborn size. So do you really need clothes in newborn sizes? Well, the answer isn’t one-size-fits-all. We looked to the parents in The Bump’s community for their experiences, and found that it really comes down to your baby.

"I have a handful of newborn outfits, mostly just onesies and PJs. It depends on how big your baby is, mine are all about 9 lbs. but have a big range in length." – yellingbanana

"My [baby] fit into newborn for 6 weeks after she was born. She was born just before 40 weeks at 7 lbs., 1 oz. She was a pretty average size… I was not prepared to have to put her in newborn size!" – BekW2009

"It all depends on the size of your baby, [mine] was only 6 pounds and wore newborn for 3 months. We have a TON leftover that we'll reuse this time. But I have friends whose kids wore newborn for a week or two." – RootBeer29

"I only have one actual newborn-sized outfit. Then about half a dozen onesies and PJs. I've been told to not waste money on actual newborn size because a big baby may not wear it at all." – Schell2013

"[My baby] was 7 lbs., 8 oz. at birth but dropped down to 6 lbs., 10 oz. She was in NB for 6 to 8 weeks. We went out shopping when she was 5 days old because I had no NB clothes." – jesselayne8

Sources

Katie McCann is a mom of two, a former paramedic, breastfeeding counselor and founder of parenting blog From Bump to Bubble.

Lauren Gregor, is a mom of two and founder and CEO at Rent-a-Romper, a rental clothing subscription service.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Evidence Base for 2022 Updated Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment to Reduce the Risk of Sleep-Related Infant Deaths, July 2022

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