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The Best Preemie Clothes Brands

Soft, practical apparel for the NICU and beyond.
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By Martina Garvey, E-Commerce Editor
Updated December 20, 2023
Preemie Clothes-hero
Image: H&M
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No matter how prepared you are for parenthood, life can throw you a bit of a curveball—like your little one arriving ahead of schedule. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics about 11 to 13 percent of births in the US are premature, meaning baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy has been completed. A premature baby—also known as a preemie—has distinct needs and may need to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This can be a lot to grapple with as a new parent—especially if baby’s early arrival wasn’t at all expected.

Initially, baby will be dressed in just a diaper, so that nurses and doctors have easy access to medical lines and tubes. But, at some point, you’ll need some preemie clothes to keep your infant comfortable and warm—and that’s when it gets tricky, according to board-certified pediatrician and neonatal/pediatric hospitalist, Jess Daigle, MD, FAAP. It’s challenging for parents “to know when it is OK to start dressing their preemie and how to find clothing that will fit their premature baby,” says Daigle.

Following some thorough and careful research, we’ve come up with 10 of the best preemie clothes brands on the market, as well as guidance to help you find the perfect preemie clothes for your little one—with Daigle’s personal experiences, both as a doctor and as mother to two premature infants, in mind.

How We Chose the Best Preemie Clothes Brands

Giving birth prematurely can be overwhelming, scary and distressing, especially if baby needs to spend some time in the NICU. And as this life event is often unexpected, it can be a scramble to find preemie clothes to fit your little one. To reduce the burden, our goal is to do the bulk of the research for you, so you don’t have to dash to the mall or spend time scrolling through online retailers in between hospital visits. To do this:

  • We sought advice from a pediatrician and mother of two whose professional and personal experience with preemie life make her uniquely suited to offer trusted advice and guidance on the topic of preemie clothing and care.
  • We consulted guidelines from the AAP and the Mayo Clinic to understand how the right clothing can impact baby’s care in the NICU.
  • We considered a list of criteria when sourcing preemie clothes, including adaptive features, materials, sizing, style and value for money.
  • We leveraged our familiarity with leading baby brands to make sure items are from reliable manufacturers.
  • We read user reviews to get the low-down on how these products work for new parents, and typically don’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.

Where to Buy Preemie Clothes

Best preemie clothes for infants in the NICU

Forest Friends Footie Set
Image: Preemie Store
What We Love
  • NICU- and PICU-friendly gowns
  • Adaptive design features
  • Two-day FedEx shipping
Things To Consider
  • Limited selection of gender-neutral styles

The Preemie Store supports families through their NICU journeys with clothing that ranges from micro to preemie and take-me-home sizes. Patterned wrap jumpsuits, designed with Velcro closures on the shoulders, crotch and sides for easy-access, are ideal for preemies weighing between 3 to 6 pounds. While the NICU-friendly gowns and tops are the perfect size for teeny infants (1 to 5 pounds). The brand also has a clothing range for slightly larger babies in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) that may have additional medical needs. The best part? The clothing is designed so that parents and nurses can easily dress infants without disturbing IVs or monitors. The online store also carries premature baby brands—like Perfectly Preemie and Itty Bitty Baby Clothing Co.—that can be hard to find elsewhere.

Size range: Micro (1 to 3 pounds); Teeny (2 to 4 pounds); Preemie (3 to 6 pounds); Newborn and PICU (5 to 8 pounds) | Materials: Cotton

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Best preemie onesies

4-Pack Baby Girls Clouds Sleep N' Play
Image: Gerber Childrenswear
What We Love
  • Affordable price points (and sales often)
  • Cotton material
  • Multipack options
Things To Consider
  • Fewer adaptive features than other preemie-centric brands

Gerber is the original onesie brand, so much so that they actually trademarked the term. Onesies are the OG in baby loungewear, offering unrivaled comfort with their lightweight and breathable materials resting softly on baby’s sensitive and delicate skin. The onesie's flexibility also ensures ease of dressing, minimizing disruption during medical procedures and check-ins. And once baby graduates from the NICU and goes home, you can easily keep their onesies in rotation, to be worn alone or layered with additional pieces.

Beyond their much-loved onesies, Gerber also has a good selection of premature baby clothes too—from basic wrap tops, bodysuits and hats to gender-neutral gowns made from 100 percent cotton. Plus, the multipack options are incredibly convenient when blowouts, spit up and other newborn normalcy are concerned.

Size range: Preemie (up to 5 pounds in weight and 17 inches in length); Newborn (5 to 8 pounds in weight and 17 to 21 inches in length) | Materials: Cotton

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Best preemie clothes with cute prints

On the Go One-Piece
Image: Monica + Andy
What We Love
  • Organic cotton material
  • Easy on-and-off styles
  • Personalization (embroidery available for an extra $15+)
Things To Consider
  • No micro-preemie options

Searching for the softest and most adorable clothes for your delicate little one? Head straight to Monica + Andy. The brand’s premature baby clothes are crafted from GOTS-certified cotton, which is touchably soft and naturally breathable. Choose from a range of styles including bodysuits with envelope-style necklines, wrap-front rompers and loose-fitting gowns that are open at the bottom for easy access. We also love the kimono-style tees that fasten at the front and come complete with foldover mitts. But our favorite part has to be the sheer variety of sweet prints—from seasonal standouts and special occasion/holiday themes to limited-edition edits (the Pizza Lovers theme is cheesy in all the best ways)!

Size range: Preemie (up to 5 pounds in weight and 17 inches in length); Newborn (5 to 9 pounds in weight and 20 inches in length) | Materials: GOTS-certified organic cotton

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Best bamboo preemie clothes

Zippered Footie in Emerald
Image: Kyte Baby
Buying Options
Kyte Baby|From $10
What We Love
  • Soft bamboo material
  • Gender-neutral designs
  • Easy-on-off bodysuits with lap shoulders and fasteners
Things To Consider
  • No micro-preemie sizes available

Kyte Baby’s selection of preemie baby clothes is small but mighty (just like your little one!). The collection includes long- and short-sleeved bodysuits, footies with full-length zippers and adjustable knot caps that grow with baby. We also love the brand’s baby bundlers; these innovative sleep gowns can be worn open or fastened at the bottom to keep baby’s feet tucked in and toasty. Kyte uses a silky-soft bamboo fabric that’s naturally hypoallergenic and breathable, making it the perfect choice for delicate skin. And the simple, color-block designs are easy to mix-and-match.

Size range: Preemie (4 to 7 pounds in weight and 19 inches in length); Newborn (6 to 9 pounds in weight and 18 to 21 inches in length) | Materials: Bamboo

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Best Organic Preemie Clothes

Bee Essentials Organic Short Sleeve Baby Bodysuits 5 Pack
Image: Burt’s Bees Baby
What We Love
  • Affordable price point
  • Soft GOTS-certified cotton
  • Gender-neutral designs
Things To Consider
  • Sizing runs large on some items

Burt’s Bees Baby is another great option for preemie clothing. The brand offers bodysuits, pants and pajamas for the smallest member of your family. Pick up a multipack of bodysuits that boast lap-shoulders, nickel-free fasteners and flat-lock seams that won’t irritate sensitive skin. Other options include a footless jumpsuit with snaps down the front for easy changing access and a cap and gown set. All of the apparel is made from GOTS-certified cotton—which is ultra-soft and produced without pesticides.

Size range: Preemie (up to 6 pounds in weight and 17 inches in length); Newborn (6 to 9 pounds in weight and up to 21.5 inches in length) | Materials: GOTS-certified organic cotton

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Best high-end preemie clothes

Ele-Fun Silver Footie
Image: Kissy Kissy
Buying Options
Kissy Kissy|From $13
What We Love
  • Soft premium pima cotton fabric
  • Convertible styles give baby room to grow
  • Fasteners from top to bottom for easy access
Things To Consider
  • High price point
  • Limited styles and sizes available

Kissy clothing is described as “softer than soft,” and we can confirm the quality of this luxury baby brand is top-notch. The newborn and preemie clothing is made from Peruvian pima cotton, which is durable yet gentle enough for extremely sensitive skin. It’s also breathable and hypoallergenic, which reduces the risks of skin irritation, sensitivities or allergic reactions. Kissy Kissy’s curated collection includes footies with snaps from neckline to feet, convertible gowns that double as playsuits and teenie beanies to keep baby’s head covered and warm. Investing in luxury baby clothing can also offer emotional benefits for both preemie babies and their parents. Dressing your baby in high-quality, well-crafted clothing can provide a sense of normalcy and pleasure during an understandably-challenging time. It can also bring you a sense of pride and confidence, knowing you’re giving your little one the utmost care and attention.

Size range: Preemie (up to 6 pounds); Newborn (up to 10 pounds) | Materials: Peruvian pima cotton

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Best budget-friendly preemie clothes

Baby 3-Piece Animal Outfit Set
Image: Carter’s
Buying Options
Carter's|From $14
What We Love
  • Affordable price point
  • Adjustable features for easy dressing and monitoring
  • Designed in collaboration with NICU nurses
  • Wide-scale availability (and frequent sales)
Things To Consider
  • Limited micro-preemie options

Carter’s is a go-to store for cute baby and toddler clothing—but did you know that the brand offers preemie clothes too? Designed in partnership with NICU nurses, the collection of bodysuits, hats and gowns are affordable yet practical. Each item is easy to take on and off, thanks to front openings and overlap shoulders for over-the-head removal. Plus, all Carter’s preemie clothes feature plastic snap-fasteners, so they don’t have to be removed for X-rays (genius!). Although we’re smitten with the entire collection, the romper with hook-and-loop closures on the arms that allow for IV lines and plastic snaps down the front for changing access is a standout piece.

Size range: P (up to 5 pounds in weight and 17 inches in length); Preemie (up to 6 pounds in weight and 18 inches in length); Newborn (6 to 9 pounds in weight and 18 to 21.5 inches in length) | Materials: Cotton

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Best preemie pajamas

Sienna's Unicorns Zippy
Image: Little Sleepies
What We Love
  • Micro-preemie sizes available
  • Wide range of prints and patterns
  • Bamboo fabric is soft and stretchy
Things To Consider
  • Expensive

Next up on our list of the best preemie clothes brands: Little Sleepies. This online store specializes in pajama sets, but they also offer zip-up sleep suits and crossover sets for premature babies. In fact, a few styles are available in micro-preemie sizes too. Thoughtful design elements—like built-in mitts and foot cuffs that can be folded back to avoid interfering with IV lines—make this brand a real standout. There’s a wide range of color options on offer, including a cool Where the Wild Things Are print for your soon-to-be in the wild babe (hooray for graduation!). Plus, all of the clothing is tagless and made from a bamboo-blend fabric that’s gentle on sensitive or eczema-prone skin.

Size range: Micro (under 5 pounds); Preemie (up to 5 pounds in weight and 17 inches in length); Newborn (5 to 9 pounds in weight and up to 20 inches in length) | Materials: Bamboo viscose

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Best preemie layette sets

2-piece Blouse and Bloomers Set
Image: H&M
Buying Options
H&M|From $12.99
What We Love
  • Many sets include pants, tops/bodysuits and hats
  • Make great coming-home outfits
  • Plenty of neutral colorways
Things To Consider
  • May run too big for micro-preemies

Having a baby in the NICU can be an emotionally fraught experience, especially if you have to scramble to find preemie size clothing. Luckily, H&M offers hundreds of beautiful baby-basics and stylish separates, including cardigans, sweatshirts, leggings, rompers and overalls for premature infants. H&M's preemie clothes feature sweet and gently-textured fabrics, along with adorable prints (the Disney collaborations are totally precious) and special features designed for convenience and comfort. And many of the options available are gender neutral, allowing you the freedom to choose outfits that reflect your own style and preferences. Built-in adaptability is another undeniable pro for the fast fashion brand. Transitional preemie sets even include extra-long cuffs that can be unfolded as baby grows, snap fasteners at the sides and two rows of snap fasteners at the gusset for adjustable length. It’s thoughtful details like these that provide peace of mind for preemie parents—knowing that your baby's well-being is being prioritized is truly priceless.

Affordability can't be overlooked, either. You can buy the majority of these coordinating onesie or bodysuit and pant sets in bulk, with three or more combinations per order. Not only will you be able to build a versatile and layerable wardrobe for your little one, you’ll do it all without breaking the bank.

Size range: < 0-1 Month (up to 5.5 pounds); Preemie (up to 7 pounds) | Materials: Cotton

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Best adaptive preemie clothes

Coralee Sweet-Tee
Image: Perfectly Preemie
What We Love
  • Velcro fasteners
  • Many garments fold out flat for easy dressing
  • Inclusive sizing options for the smallest infants
Things To Consider
  • Items tend to sell out fast

Perfectly Preemie has been making clothing for premature babies for 30 years, so it’s no surprise that the brand’s adaptive designs are among the best available. Each piece is NICU-friendly, with innovative features that make life easier for parents, nurses and babies alike. There’s a multitude of styles and sizes available, from NICU gowns to short- and long-sleeved jumpsuits and bespoke bodysuits with adjustable sides that can be loosened as baby grows. Almost every item in the collection has Velcro fasteners and can be opened up flat, so you can lay baby down to dress them. Meanwhile, foldover mittens and cuffs keep little digits warm and prevent baby from pulling out feeding tubes or IV lines.

Size range: Micro (1 to 2.5 pounds); Teeny (2 to 4 pounds); Preemie (3 to 6 pounds); Take-Me-Home (5 to 8 pounds) | Materials: Cotton, spandex and Velcro

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What Size Are Preemie Clothes?

Preemie clothing sizes are based on height and weight and can typically be split into three categories: micro-preemie, preemie and newborn. Daigle tells us to “pay [special] attention to weight-based sizing and consider the specific needs of your preemie.” The NICU care team should be an approachable sounding board for your questions, queries or concerns and they’ll be able to coach you best to “ensure clothing doesn’t prevent the nursing staff from monitoring baby appropriately,” she continues. As a general rule, however:

  • Micro-preemie clothing is designed for the smallest infants, weighing 1 to 3 pounds and under 16 inches in length.
  • Preemie clothing is the next size up, and these items usually fit babies up to 6 pounds in weight and 17 inches in length.
  • Newborn clothing sizes vary depending on the brand, but are typically designed for babies up to 9 pounds in weight and 21.5 inches in length.

What to Look for in Preemie Clothes

When it comes to preemie clothes, Daigle advises parents to start by “talking with the staff and asking when it is best to start dressing your baby, and then choosing front-opening designs, clothing with strategically-placed openings and practicing the dressing techniques with the NICU staff to get familiar and gain confidence.”

Once you’re ready to dress baby, remember that premature babies have specific needs, which affect what they can wear while in the NICU. Here are several things to look for when choosing preemie baby clothes:

  • Soft fabrics. All infant clothing should be soft to the touch, but fabric choices are even more important for premature babies, as they have extremely sensitive skin. With this in mind, Daigle says to look for “soft, breathable fabrics (like organic cotton or bamboo) and avoid rough textures.” You’ll also want to prioritize “clothing with minimal snaps or seams to prevent discomfort on baby’s delicate skin and to accommodate medical attachments.”
  • Easy access. Infants in the NICU may need to be hooked up to an IV and other medical devices. Daigle encourages garments with openings (or flaps) on the legs, shoulders and sides to “allow for easy placement and removal of monitoring leads and tubes without disturbing the baby too much.”
  • Warm accessories. According to the Mayo Clinic, preemies may need help regulating their temperature, as they are born with very little body fat. Overlooked items include NICU-friendly hats to regulate temperature, soft socks and gentle mittens to protect a preemie’s sensitive skin, but gowns or bodysuits with fold-over cuffs for hands and feet are good options, as they provide scratch protection and extra warmth, but won’t obstruct IV lines or medical monitors. Daigle adds that “many NICUs have specialized blankets to help the babies feel cozy as they grow, but a practical wardrobe will have a nice mix of front-opening onesies, soft hats and socks that do not restrict movement.”
  • Kangaroo care features. Daigle also highly recommends ensembles that facilitate kangaroo care. When it comes to skin-to-skin contact with your preemie, look for clothes that offer front or shoulder openings, as they simplify dressing and undressing your baby during kangaroo care sessions. Additionally, opting for soft and comfortable fabrics that are gentle on your baby’s delicate skin can help enhance the bonding experience. Some types of preemie clothes that offer adaptive features for closer skin-to-skin contact include wrap-style tops, kangaroo care shirts or vests and preemie-sized onesies or bodysuits with convenient openings.

“So much of the NICU experience is out of a mom’s control,” says Daigle. “As a pediatrician in the nursery and NICU, I am very intentional about offering families the opportunities to clothe their babies, inviting them to initiate skin-to-skin, kangaroo care and helping to empower them. Something as simple as being able to dress your preemie can be a significant memory for a family.”

Sources

Jess Daigle, MD, FAAP, is a board-certified pediatrician and neonatal/pediatric hospitalist. She is the proud mother of two kids, both born prematurely. She has a concierge medical practice in Atlanta, GA— Mom & Me MD—that provides local in-home/virtual medical services to NICU babies, along with education and emotional support for their mothers and other family members. She offers life coaching for NICU moms to help them overcome fear after life in the NICU, balance their new life and be the confident mom they want to be.

Healthy Children (AAP), Caring for a Premature Baby: What Parents Need to Know, October 2019

Mayo Clinic, Premature Birth, February 2023

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