When you have a baby, there are a ton of things you need from the get-go, like diapers, wipes, and clothes. However, babies also grow fast, which means that every few months, you’re going to need clothes and diapers in the next size up as your baby’s weight increases.
Preparing for a newborn can be even more tricky since you don’t know what size your baby might be. Plus, they grow out of clothes quickly, leaving you needing a different size within months. Soon, your baby will graduate to toddler clothing!
Before you go clothes shopping for your new baby, you’ll need to figure out what size clothes will fit best. Picking out clothes isn’t only about finding a cute sweater or safe sleepwear and comparing different brands. You have to find the right size and buy the correct amount (diaper blowouts are incoming).
In this guide, you can learn the ins and outs of baby clothes sizing, how to pick the right size, and how many you will need.
How Are Baby Clothes Sized?
As a rule of thumb, you can find the size of a garment on its tag. Unlike adult clothing, baby clothes aren’t categorized based on different measurements like height, waistlines, or bust.
Tags on baby clothes typically have an age instead of an actual size guide.
Why? Well, most babies are generally the same size at around the same ages, so this makes it easier for everyone (most of the time). Since babies grow fast during their first year, clothes fit a wider range. Perfectly fitting clothes usually won’t fit after a week, and you’ll soon move on to a larger size.
As adults, we can be fairly confident we won’t grow taller, so we can invest in tailored clothing made to fit our exact specifications. Babies? Not so much.
Baby clothes sizes usually begin with a newborn, although many companies make clothes for premature babies as well.
The most common baby clothes sizes are:
- Zero to three months
- Three to 6 months
- Six to nine months
- Nine to 12 months
- 12 to 18 months
- 18 to 24 months
While these general categories can make nursery shopping easier, we still need to look at the individual brand’s size chart.
Different clothing brands tend to vary slightly in how they size their clothes. One brand might be slightly narrower, while another could be wider. Another brand might make clothing that’s long for its size, but another might run short. Other brands might have a combination of two of these four differences, and some trending brands even use European sizing guidelines.
It may make buying clothes slightly more difficult, but in practice, it will mostly just mean that your baby might outgrow one outfit faster than another.
American vs. European Sizing: What’s the Difference?
As you’re opening baby shower gifts, you might come across baby clothes with numbers, like 56, instead of listing an age range. Clothing with these numbers is most likely sized with the European system.
American baby clothes can be picked out by using age, but the European system uses length in centimeters.
As long as you know your baby’s length, you should be able to pick out clothes that use the European system.
- 46-52 cm, premature
- 56-62 cm, zero to three months
- 62-68 cm, three to six months
- 68-74 cm, six to nine months
- 74-80 cm, nine to 12 months
- 80-86 cm, 12 to 18 months
How Do I Pick the Right Sized Clothes for My Baby?
When picking baby clothes, there are a few things you need to consider: the baby’s age, the attire brand, and the fabric, as well as a few other considerations.
Leave Room To Grow
When you're out shopping, it’s always a good idea to buy a few clothes in one size bigger than what your baby is currently wearing, especially if your little one’s close to growing out of them. That way, you’ll be prepared, especially if your baby goes through a growth spurt.
Brand Specific Size Charts
You’ll also want to research the brand in consideration. Oftentimes, you can find a sizing chart that will list the weight and height that will fit into the clothing. When browsing online, look for brands that offer simple shipping and return options, too, so you have options if the garment doesn’t fit.
It’s also important to consider the type of fabric. We prefer clothing that is GOTS Certified Organic (and super soft). Organic cotton is always a great choice, but double-check any washing instructions since it can shrink easily. That’s why we prefer pre-shrunk ring-spun jersey cotton.
At Tabeeze, we know that babies (and their caregivers) have sensitive skin. That’s why our Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuits are 100% GOTS Certified Organic. Our cotton is free of chemicals, and our snaps are free of nickel so that families can be free from stress.
That said, caring for sensitive skin goes beyond fabric choices and manufacturing and shipping regulations. It’s in the even smaller details. Our Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuits feature printed tags. That’s because hanging tags can be itchy, leading to fussy babies and frustrated parents — it’s just another part of our bottom-up design process.
Is It Better To Pick Clothes Based on Age or Weight?
Every baby is unique, and they grow at their own pace.
Sometimes, your two-month-old might not fit into the 0-3 months category. In those situations, it might be better to look at the recommended weight or height.
It can also depend on how your baby grows. Sometimes, babies' legs can grow faster than their torso — they might outgrow their footies before they outgrow a onesie.
Picking Clothes for a Newborn
Newborn babies are the trickiest to shop for (well, until you have a teenager). Since people collect clothes for newborns before the due date, you can’t figure out exactly what size you’ll need. Although most newborns will fit into the newborn size, it’s not guaranteed.
If your baby is a preemie, newborn clothes might be too big, so you’ll need to buy clothes that are smaller. That way, your baby won’t be swimming in fabric (for safety reasons).
Similarly, some newborns can be big for their age. Newborn clothes are generally for babies that are eight pounds and under (most newborns average around seven pounds). However, sometimes newborns can be over eight pounds.
If your baby is eight pounds or more, you may want to hop online and purchase some larger sizes since newborns grow super quickly.
How Much Clothing Will I Need?
We all know that babies are messy. Some days, your baby might make it through the day without getting anything on their clothes, but there might be another day where your baby goes through three outfits.
Figuring out how many pieces of clothing to buy can be tricky. On the one hand, your baby can make a big mess. On the other hand, babies outgrow clothes pretty quickly. Generally, four to eight pieces of each type of clothing should be enough.
You might need less of some types of children’s clothes, like holiday apparel or swimsuits. If you live in a colder area, you might need one or two jackets and a snowsuit for really cold days. You’ll also need winter hats and summer hats (to keep the sun off your baby’s head and face).
You may also want to purchase a swimsuit or two in the summertime.
Once your little one outgrows clothing, there are plenty of ways that you can reuse or recycle them, like passing them down to other children.
The Right Size Baby Clothes: Final Thoughts
Buying baby clothes is a fun, exciting experience, especially when you’re preparing for your newborn. Getting those small, adorable outfits helps bring a sense of reality to this new experience.
Baby clothing comes in all shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find the clothes that your little one needs, whether they’re newborns or a year old. With the right clothes, your baby will be ready for any weather or event that your family goes to.