Clothing Sizes You'll Need for a Newborn

Babies come in all shapes and sizes—so what size clothing should you get for your newborn? Here's the deal.
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Updated April 26, 2017
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Stock up on baby clothes in a range of sizes. But don’t cut off the tags of all the newborn clothes yet, says Ali Wing, founder and CEO of baby store Giggle. “Babies come into this world in all shapes and sizes, so don’t buy everything under the sun before you meet your own son or daughter,” says Wing.

While the size marked on the label make it seem like it’s based on baby’s age, it’s really based on size. For example, “preemie” § usually fits babies up to 17 inches long and five pounds. “Newborn” (NB) represents an average baby at birth up to 21.5 inches long and five to eight pounds. Yep, “newborn” fits a wide range of sizes, so chances are your baby will fit into it at birth.

“Parents should expect clothes to be a bit loose; no clothes are made to be grown out of in a week,” says Wing. “How fast baby grows into new sizes depends on how well he eats. Trust the market and follow the sizing charts until you learn more about baby.”

Wash a few of baby’s newborn clothes for her first days now, and then see just how they fit her at the time of birth to help you gauge how many you might need in the coming weeks. If she’s a big baby or hits an early growth spurt, you can exchange any extras for the next size up: 0 to 3 months, which usually fits babies anywhere between eight to 12.5 pounds.

Over time, you’ll figure out more about baby’s shape and your preferences, and will have a better idea of what will work best for him. “It has just as much to do with things like neck and head shape and whether you will prefer crew necks or kimono-style onesies,” says Wing. So definitely don’t buy a full wardrobe just yet.

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