Baby Clothing Basics: What You Need and What You Don’t

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For many parents, one of the most fun parts of a pregnancy is planning baby's wardrobe. Cute baby clothes are hard to resist. Here is the rundown on the baby clothing basics you need – and what you don't.

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What You Need

Onesies: Onesies, adorably tiny bodysuits, are a staple of any baby clothing basics. They are easy to get on and off and allow for easy access to diapers. For winter babies, plain white is a great choice to use as undershirts to ensure baby's belly and back stays warm. For summer babies, onesies can function as outfits or t-shirts and colorful options are fun and practical! Since onesies are the first line of defense against a blowout diaper, get a few more of these than you think you will need. And also be sure you are ready with the next size up.

Sleepers: Babies sleep. A lot. So making sure babies have comfy sleepwear is a must. Sleep gowns for boys and girls are a great solution for making sure baby is comfy all night — while also ensuring those middle of the night diaper changes are easy and hassle-free. One-piece footie pajamas are another great choice for sleep, especially for winter babies.  

Socks: Babies don't need shoes but they need plenty of socks. Luckily, adorable little options are available like these from Trupette that look like Mary Janes or sneakers. It's only a matter of time before your little one starts pulling off her socks and they are never to be seen again so enjoy the cute ones while you can. Then, switch to all white ones that will always have a matching mate.  

Hats: Babies need hats to stay warm. Newborns in tiny hats are adorable. But once you take your bundle of joy home, you probably want something a little more stylish to keep her noggin toasty. Look for adorable sets like this one with matching baby leggings or this biker bear hat. 

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Stretchy Pants: Anyone who has changed 200 diapers a day knows how important it is to have easy access to the diaper area. Opt for stretchy for boys and girls that allow for easy on and off. What's more, leggings are normally super-soft against baby's skin and allow for complete freedom of movement.  

Side-Snap Shirts: As an alternative to onesies, or to layer over onesies for winter babies, side-snap shirts are a good choice. Why side snap?  Many babies don't like having shirts pulled on and off over their heads and side snaps make it possible to get baby dressed without covering his face for even a moment. Side-snap shirts also avoid irritating the umbilical stump before it falls off.  

What You Don't Need

Too much of anything:  Babies grow very quickly, especially during the first few months. You may be shocked at how quickly your little one outgrows her clothing so exercise some restraint. It's also hard to predict how big your baby will be at birth. Some full-term babies may wind up wearing preemie clothes for a while others fit more comfortably into clothes for older babies. Except for one or two outfits, keep the tags on anything you buy before birth just in case you need to return them for another size.  

Clothes by Age: Baby clothes are labeled by age. But just as babies are born different sizes, they grow at different rates as well. Don't buy three-month clothes just because your baby is three months old. Instead, go by weight or your best estimate of which size looks like it will fit your little one.  

A Special Going Home Outfit: Your baby does need an outfit to go home in, but it doesn't need to be a special going-home outfit. Nearly every newborn outfit is adorable. Just choose your favorite from what you have!  

Anything Designer: Any new parent will tell you the amount of “stuff” that winds up on baby's clothes, from diaper blow-outs to spit up. Anything that touches baby's skin is subject to being soiled by a bodily substance so keep that in mind before shelling out big bucks. Definitely don't buy anything that's not machine washable.  

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Baby Clothing Basics: What You Need and What You Don’t

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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