In the first few days of baby’s life, there are many important moments you’ll want to treasure forever. One of them is the baby-coming-home outfit. “Each time my husband and I were preparing to leave the hospital with our daughters, it was a surreal feeling,” says Kristal Bean, a mom of three from The Woodlands, TX. “The baby-coming-home outfit is a celebration of that new life and of motherhood.” It can be an emotional homecoming for mom or dad to dress baby, who up until that moment had been wearing a hospital-issued tiny shirt or onesie, and be discharged from the hospital. “I remember so fondly dressing my girls for the first time. It was a bonding moment, a motherhood rite of passage,” Bean says.
Experts agree there’s a deep psychological impact of the experience that parents feel. “It's the moment when being a family really begins,” says Ann Grauer, AdvPCDA (DONA), IBCLC, doula coordinator and staff lactation consultant at Columbia Center Birth Hospital in Mequon, Wisconsin. “The first couple of days in the hospital was like a starting place, but not ‘real life.’ Now they are truly a family, making their way into the world. It's an amazing and terrifying day of firsts!” And whatever coming-home outfit baby will be wearing will be remembered forever, both as a keepsake and through the photos you’ll likely share with family and friends.
Though baby-coming-home outfits are an important tradition, they’re a fairly modern one. Before the 20th century, the majority of births took place at home, so there wasn’t a need for a coming-home outfit. “However, the outfit to wear home became one of the first independent decisions a family made for their baby,” Grauer says.
Baby Coming Home Outfit Basics
So what exactly should your baby coming home outfit include? “Outfits can vary based on what parents feel fits their family’s style,” says Melissa Gersin, maternity RN and inventor of the Tranquilo Mat. “As long as baby has on a diaper and is dressed appropriately for the weather, there is no right or wrong outfit.” Some parents go all out draping baby in a beautiful dress, while others just put baby in a cute onesie. But with all that new parents go through, getting baby dressed is, indeed, a major accomplishment, Gersin says. One thing parents shouldn’t forget? It’s really important to wash new clothes before baby wears them to protect that delicate newborn skin from potentially harsh chemicals that can be present on new duds from both the production and the transportation of clothing from factory to store. Opt for a gentle, hypoallergenic detergent free from dyes, like Dreft purtouch, to reduce the risk of irritating baby’s skin.
Baby coming home outfit essentials
Keep these baby coming home outfit essentials prepared ahead of time so you can focus on enjoying those early moments with baby:
• Onesie. “A onesie is a perfect, basic building block for clothing,” Grauer says. “If baby is too cool, more thin layers of clothing can be added. If baby is warm, the onesie itself is the outfit. And these days, onesies are “completely darling.”
• Hat. It’s often best to buy one a la carte, since hats that come with outfits are usually too big for baby’s first days, Grauer says.
• Socks. Babies don’t easily keep socks on, but they’ll need that extra layer of warmth since “they receive little blood flow to their tootsies,” Grauer says.
• Blanket. “You want to be prepared for any weather,” says Alison Mitzner, MD, a pediatrician in New York City. “Also remember you will be taking the baby in a car seat, so the blanket helps cover the legs too if they are exposed.”
• Leave the mittens at home. “I know parents worry about scratching, but newborns need their hands,” Grauer says. “Those hands have been their friends and comfort for nine months and they can even help soothe a baby on that first ride home.”
When you’re figuring out your baby coming home outfit, you’ll want to consider these factors:
• Baby’s gender. “Gender shouldn’t matter in a newborn outfit. That said, many parents know in advance what they are having and buy accordingly,” Mitzner says. But remember, even if a friend or family member gifts you with a cute outfit at the hospital, don’t dress baby in it until you’re home and able to wash it with a gentle, baby-friendly detergent like Dreft purtouch.
• Weather. Layers are key to anticipate temperature changes. “A cold, snowy Wisconsin winter will dictate footed sleepers, while a baby born in south Florida will likely need just a onesie and perhaps an extra layer, including socks,” Grauer says.
• Comfort. “As most babies are likely just going right into a car seat, comfort is important too, so simple is best,” Mitzner says.
• Ease for mom. “I personally like outfits that are simple and functional,” Gersin says. “Dressing baby in a onesie, jeans, and a sweater with socks, a hat and mittens might look adorable, but you’ll regret your choice when baby needs two diaper changes in less than 30 minutes! This is why I prefer something cute but simple, something that might combine a majority of your needs into a single outfit.”
How to buy the right size
Buying the right size for the baby coming home outfit seems straightforward, but can be a challenge. Most baby outfits run big these days, with the majority sized for a 3 month old rather than an infant, Gersin says. This is especially the case for any outfits labeled 0-3 months. “Unless you know your baby will be 9 to 10 pounds at birth, it’s best to only bring clothing labeled as ‘newborn’ to the hospital,” she says. If you’re worried, bring two options for the newborn take-home outfit: one that’s small and one that’s a bit bigger. But there’s no need to stress too much about this. “If the outfit is a bit too big, baby won’t care and the outfit will function to keep baby warm and protected against the elements,” Gersin says. “And if the outfit is a bit too small? Make adjustments by not snapping the onesie closed at the bottom, and keep the hoodie unzipped or scrap the sweater altogether in favor of just a warm swaddle blanket.”
And don’t get too carried away. After all, it’s about choosing a baby coming home outfit that you like. “Trust your instincts and buy an outfit you and your partner are excited about—you don't need the stamp of approval from friends and family,” says Bailey Gaddis, C.Ht, HBCE, and author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood. Above all, enjoy choosing the baby coming home outfit. “Make this first fashion show be a comfy, practical and true reflection of you and your baby,” Grauer says. Keep that in mind when shopping.
The Best Baby Coming Home Outfit For Girls
As a mom of three girls, ages 31/2, 2 and 7 months, Bean knows all about shopping for the ultimate baby girl coming home outfit. While her first daughter wore a “soft pink gown with white lace details,” Bean concedes that wasn’t the best choice trying to buckle baby into the car seat. By the time Bean picked out a baby coming home outfit for her third daughter, she took in practical considerations without sacrificing the sweet details, choosing a white footed pajamas with a tiny damask pattern that her daughter could use again. “If wearing the outfit again is something you know you want to do, the footed pajamas work best,” she says. “Plus, the footies mean you can either skip socks, or not worry about losing them!”
Check out our baby coming home outfit for girls picks for all four seasons:
Fall coming home outfit for girls
Your new little girl will be on trend in a chambray onesie, and these crib shoes perfectly complete this coming home outfit for a baby girl.
Winter coming home outfit for girls
Soft and snuggly, your little one will be cute and cozy in a hooded fleece jumpsuit featuring adorable ears. Throw in a hat and socks, and she’ll be ready for winter’s chill.
Spring coming home outfit for girls
This vintage-look long-sleeved cotton onesie with footies will keep baby toasty on early spring days—and washing it in Dreft purtouch (the detergent recommended by Little Me) first will make it extra soft too.
Get the look:
Vintage Rose Footie, $16, LittleMe.com
Summer coming home outfit for girls
A sweet dress is perfect for summer, and the cardigan protects against chill in the air conditioning.
Get the look:
Carter's Newborn 2-Piece Polka Dot Bodysuit Dress and Cardigan Set in Pink/Navy, $12.99, buybuybaby.com
Petit Bateau Newborn Baby Beanie, $10.99, petit-bateau.us
Little Darlings Occasion Ivory Cotton Baby Socks with Lace Trim, $12, childrensalon.com
The Best Baby Coming Home Outfit For Boys
While you might assume that girls get all the frills and fuss when it comes to their outfits, the baby boy coming home outfit can be fun too. “I chose my baby's first outfit based on material, weather and design,” Gaddis says. “My son was born in summer so a onesie was our obvious choice.” Take a look at these four cute coming home outfits for a baby boy that offer inspiration for every season:
Fall coming home outfit for boys
This sporty varsity jumpsuit is an adorable reminder baby is now part of the home team.
Winter coming home outfit for boys
This navy footed one-piece with white-stitched detail is a preppy, classic that he’ll wear again and again.
Spring coming home outfit for boys
Dress baby in this playful puppy print with sweet striped accents.
Get the look:
Puppy Toile Footie, $16, littleme.com
Summer coming home outfit for boys
This sweet airplane print romper is both practical (with a popper opening for easy diaper changes) and so fly.
The Best Gender Neutral Baby Coming Home Outfits
Waiting until the big day to find out whether you’re having a boy or girl is a fun surprise—but that’ll factor into your baby coming home outfit. “The outfit was such a symbol for me, because we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl,” says Jill Simonian of TheFABMom.com author of The FAB Mom's Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby. “My mom bought a boy outfit and a girl outfit for us to take to the hospital and make bets on which one we'd be dressing the baby up in for the ride home.” But you don’t always need to have two outfits prepared. There are plenty of adorable gender-neutral newborn coming home outfits, including these options for each season.
Gender neutral fall coming home outfit
No matter your age or gender, stripes are always in.
Get the look: Organic cotton henley coverall and hat set, $18, burtsbeesbaby.com
Gender neutral winter coming home outfit
This cozy, star-studded set is out-of-this-world cute.
Get the look:
Welcome To The World Footie, $16, littleme.com
Gender neutral spring coming home outfit
Get baby in the habit of counting sheep early (and, hopefully, often) with this cute two-piece set.
Gender neutral summer coming home outfit
The beloved swaddle brand brings its lightweight, breathable cotton muslin to this dotted kimono-style one-piece.
Published October 2017
The Bump and Dreft purtouch present Gentle Touch, a sponsored series with tips for treating newborn skin and clothes with tender, loving care. To learn more about why plant-based detergent is a gentle choice, visit Dreft.com.