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Essential Baby Clothes for the First Month

Few things are cuter than baby clothes. It can be tempting to have a wee wardrobe of designer threads for your baby's big debut. Before you load up your credit card, though, remember babies grow fast the first year. Shop wisely so your baby doesn't outgrow clothes before wearing them!

Lots of parents get so many hand-me-downs and baby clothes as shower gifts; they don't even need to buy that many clothes at first. This list will get you through the first 3 or 4 weeks after your baby's arrival.

Choose sizes 3- or 6-month. If you don't know your baby's sex in advance, or if you plan on having more children, choose colors that you'll be comfortable putting on either a boy or girl.

Undershirts: 4-6, short- or long-sleeved
Undershirts that snap or tie on the side are easier to put on a small baby than those that pull over the head. Undershirts are also better than onesies until your baby's umbilical cord falls off.

Onesies: 7-10
Onesies are the staple of a baby's wardrobe. They're one-piece cotton outfits available in long- or short-sleeves. Snaps at the crotch make changing baby, well, a snap.

Infant gowns: 3-4
Long gowns that close at the bottom keep your baby's feet warm and make diaper changes easier. Some gowns have mittens attached to protect your baby from scratching herself.

Sleepers/stretch suits: 3-6
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies wear one-piece sleepers at night and NOT covering them with blankets or quilts. Sleepers with built-in feet will keep your baby comfy and cozy from chin to toe.

Socks/booties: 3-4 pairs
Socks and booties should be loose enough for your baby to wiggle his toes. The ones with an elastic band at the cuff are more likely to stay on kicking little feet. Remember, shoes are made for walking. Shoes are unnecessary until your child starts walking. They can also hinder the growth of her feet.

Hats/caps/bonnets: 1-2
Hats and caps will keep your baby cozy and warm, whether you're indoors or out. And bonnets will shield her from the sun.

Sweaters or blanket sleepers: 1-2
Depending on the weather where you live, your newborn may also need a few blanket sleepers -- or even a snowsuit.

It's a good idea to wash new clothes before your baby wears them. They'll be clean, first and foremost. And washing makes clothes softer and may help prevent skin rashes. You don't need special baby detergent or to wash your baby's clothes by themselves. But do protect your baby's sensitive skin by using a gentle detergent free of dye and perfumes and avoid using bleach, dryer sheets, or fabric softener.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on July 05, 2014
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