Skip to main content

Newborn clothing sizes: What you need to know

Those of you who are new parents may have no clue whatsoever about newborn clothing sizes’ ins and outs. After all, there are a ton of things for which you need to prepare. For example, you’ll need things like bibs, burp cloths, breast pumps, a nursing pillow, bottles and nipples, formula, and more!

It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed thinking about all the things you and your newborn need. Getting newborn clothing and understanding how baby clothes are typically sized isn’t always at the top of the priority list.

With that said, though, if you’ve asked yourself a question like, “How do baby clothes sizes work?” then you’re in luck. In this article, we intend to make this the ultimate newborn clothing sizing guide!

Baby and Boy Lying on Bed
Photo by Laura Garcia/Pexels

Are newborn clothing sizes accurate?

In short, the answer is “not very.” While baby clothes will often have tags that indicate they’re intended for a 0- to 3-month-old, babies are constantly growing, and they don’t all grow at the same rate. Unlike adults, who, once they’ve stopped growing, can almost always wear the same size, the same isn’t true for newborns whose sizes seem to always be in flux.

When it comes to newborn sizing, the truth is that you might have a newborn who is still wearing 0- to 3-month-old clothing when they actually ought to be wearing 3- to 6-month-old clothing if you’re dressing them based on their age and not by how much they’ve actually grown.

Pay attention to height and weight

Weight and height are more noteworthy than age when considering newborn clothing sizes. Pay attention to the clothing brand’s size chart, reference the height and weight, and make a purchase decision that matches those things rather than age. In other words, buy newborn clothing based on your baby’s overall size instead of age.

Also, when buying based on size, don’t buy something you know will be tight just because you feel your newborn needs to be warm, cozy, comfy, etc. Suppose the clothes are too tight, especially around the leg openings or neckline. In that case, your baby is likely to become fussy rather quickly. Would you want to feel choked or like your wrists or ankles were being squeezed by your clothes? If you know you wouldn’t like it on you, your baby won’t like it either.

The idea is that you don’t want the clothing you buy to restrict the newborn’s range of motion, especially once they begin inching along and crawling!

Man and Woman Gaze at Baby
Photo by Anna Shvets/Pexels

Is 0 to 3 months the same as newborn size?

The average baby at birth weighs around 5 to 8 pounds and is around 21.5 inches long. When it comes to newborn clothing sizes, 0 to 3 months generally equates to 8 to 13 pounds. If your newborn weighs less than 8 pounds or is smaller than 21 inches long, then 0- to 3-month clothing might actually be a bit too big.

However, that’s not a huge concern because your baby will rapidly grow into a 0- to 3-month clothing size. Remember, too, that some brands run large and others a bit smaller.

Do you need lots of every size?

That’s a very good question. The truth is that it’s going to be hard to estimate just how many of each type of newborn clothing your baby will actually need. As mentioned above, babies grow at their own pace. However, it’s better to have more than enough rather than not enough, wouldn’t you agree?

Keep in mind that babies make many messes, and those messes often end up on their clothes. You’ll likely need to change the newborn’s clothes regularly and often. Many experts recommend having two of whatever outfit you have planned for the baby on hand each day of the week in the newborn phase.

For example, say it’s late fall or winter. You decide to dress your newborn in a bodysuit, kimono top, and baby leggings on Monday. In that case, you might want to set aside two of each of these clothing types for Monday. You’d then want at least one set of sleeper pajamas per night. For the week, then, you’d need 14 sets of clothing and seven sets of pajamas. Of course, that’s a rough estimate, but you get the idea!

Editors' Recommendations