How to Prepare for a Baby: Newborn Baby Clothes

Going into a shop that's bulging with baby goods can be a little overwhelming. How do you know what you really need straight away? Here's a list of basic layette items to get you started for your baby's early days. Some of the amounts may seem like a lot, but with extra items on hand, you won't have to do washing every day.

  • 2 or 3 soft, baby-size bath towels and 6 to 10 baby flannels

  • 6 to 8 receiving blankets

  • 6 front-snapping stretch jumper suits, newborn gowns or onesies

  • 6 to 10 cotton-knit, front-snapping T-shirts

  • 1 or 2 jumpers

  • 2 to 3 sleep suits

  • 3 or 4 cot or bassinet sheets (be sure they fit tightly on the mattress)

  • 2 to 3 thin blankets or quilts (fluffy blankets pose a SIDS risk), tucked in around the mattress

  • 4 to 6 pairs of socks or booties

  • Diapers sized for newborns. If you're planning on using disposable diapers, look for the kind with a notch cut out of the front for your baby's umbilical cord stump. Cloth diapers can just be folded over.

  • At least one wide-brimmed hat to protect your baby's head and face from the sun during outings.

  • A snow-suit if you live in a cold climate.

  • Mittens if you live in a cold climate. Don't bother with the thin hand covers sold in many shops; infants need their hands free for exploring.

Clothing Safety Tips

Keep these guidelines in mind when shopping for all children's clothing.

  • Stick with all-cotton or cotton blends, which are soft and easily washable.

  • Check labels for the phrase 'flame retardant'.

  • Don't dress your baby in items with strings (like hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings); these can twist around little hands, fingers, toes and even necks.

  • Buy tops with generous head holes so that dressing your infant is easy for you and comfortable for her.

  • Check regularly for loose buttons, which pose a choking hazard.

  • Avoid outfitting your baby in clothes with decorative items like beads or ribbons, which are tempting for little hands. If they come loose, they present a choking risk.

For information on setting up your baby's nursery, read more about baby gear.

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