Buying Guide to Newborn Essentials


Buying Guide to Newborn Essentials

Congratulations! You've come to the best source for your baby's newborn essentials. From receiving blankets to side-snap tees to socks, shoes and more, you'll find all the essential clothing and accessories your brand new bundle of joy needs during the first stages of life—right in one place. To further simplify your search, we've created this handy newborn essential guide, which outlines exactly what you'll need and how much you'll need of it. It's perfect for first-time parents, as well as experienced parents, adoptive parents and parents of multiples. And when you add items from this guide to your Baby Registry, shopping is super easy for gift-givers, too!

image of newborn essential clothing

Exactly what layout essentials will your new baby need? At what age?

Note: Ages are approximate.

Item First 3 Months 3 to 24 Months 2 to 4 Years
1. Side-Snap Tees, You need 4-8 Don't have this option    
2. Receiving or Swaddling Blankets, You need 4-6 Don't have this option    
3. No-scratch mittens, You need 1-2 pairs Don't have this option    
4. Gowns, You need 2-4 Don't have this option    
5. Footies, You need 4-8 Don't have this option Don't have this option  
6. Bodysuits (Short and Long Sleeve), You need 4-8 of each Don't have this option Don't have this option  
7. Bibs and/or Burp Cloths, You need at least 6-8 Don't have this option Don't have this option  
8. Caps/Hats, You need 1-2 Don't have this option Don't have this option Don't have this option
9. Socks, You need 9-12 pairs Don't have this option Don't have this option Don't have this option
10. Separates, You need 4-6 T-Shirts/Tops, 3-5 Pants, 2-4 Sweaters   Don't have this option Don't have this option
11. Outfits   Don't have this option Don't have this option
12. Shoes, You need 1-2 pairs   Don't have this option Don't have this option
13. Blanket Sleepers/Wearable Blankets, You need 2-4   Don't have this option  
14. Seasonal Items Don't have this option Don't have this option Don't have this option

More than just adorable, every layette item is designed with specific features meant to comfort, calm and protect baby.

Here's why you need them...

Side-Snap Tees
  • Side-Snap Tees don't put pressure on baby's tender bellybutton while the umbilical cord is healing.
  • Are easier than a bodysuit to get on and off.
  • Allow for easier access during diaper changes.
  • Are generally designed in soft, smooth, absorbent 100% cotton.
  • Helpful hint: Some Long-Sleeve Side-Snap Tees have a turn-cuff mitten feature which prevents baby from scratching themselves until you are able to cut baby's finger nails.
  • Did you know: Most hospitals typically dress a newborn in a Side-Snap Tee and cap, then wrap the baby in a receiving blanket.
Receiving or Swaddling Blankets
  • Newborns easily lose body heat and need to be bundled up, unless the weather is very warm. Wrapping a baby in a receiving blanket is called "swaddling."
  • A Swaddling Blanket acts like a Receiving Blanket but is designed with specific places for baby's arms and legs.
  • The standard size of a Receiving Blanket for swaddling purposes is 30" x 30".
  • Are available in your choice of 100% cotton knit, thermal, flannel or muslin.
  • Did you know: Swaddling replicates that snug feeling of being in the womb by containing baby's arms and legs. Most babies prefer this sensation until they can control their own ligaments.
  • Did you know: Most hospitals keep a newborn swaddled in a receiving blanket except at feeding or during diaper changing.
No-Scratch Mittens
  • These specially designed mittens keep baby from scratching themselves until you are able to cut their nails.
  • Many Long-Sleeve Side-Snap Tees and Long-Sleeved Bodysuits have no-scratch mittens built in.
  • Individual No-Scratch Mittens sold separately have elasticized cuffs so they won't slip off baby's small hands.
  • Gowns typically come in one size (up to 11 pounds) and are used during baby's first couple months.
  • Are convenient for night-time diaper changes.
  • Have elasticized hems which prevent them from riding up over baby's body, keeping baby warmer and safer.
  • Helpful hint: "Convert-a-gown" styles grow with your baby. They feature snaps in front and back which transform the gown into a footless coverall/jumpsuit and extend its usefulness.
  • Footies are one-piece outfits that cover baby from neck to toes.
  • Feature snaps or a zipper down center front, then along one leg.
  • Are warm, comfortable and what baby will wear during the daytime for the first three months, then to sleep in, after the first three months.
  • Helpful hint: Footies remain a clothing staple during baby's first through second years. You'll want a progression of sizes.
  • Did you know: The law requires that children's sleepwear above the 9-months size must be flame-resistant. This is why most sleepwear is 100% polyester, as polyester fabric can be treated with fire retardants. If children's pajamas aren't flame-resistant, they must be snug fitting. Snug-fitting pajamas are made from cotton or from cotton-blends.
Bodysuits - Short and Long Sleeves
  • After baby's umbilical cord falls off, he or she can wear a Bodysuit.
  • Bodysuits are the staple for the first to second years. They make dressing and diapering baby easy, as they pull over the head and snap at the crotch. They keep baby protected, as they stay in place and don't ride up.
  • The unique neckline of many bodysuits, called a "lap shoulder" or "envelope neck," easily slips over baby's head.
  • Some Long-Sleeve Bodysuits in newborn size offer turn-cuff mittens built into the sleeves.
  • Helpful hint: You can purchase snap extenders to prolong the use of the bodysuit as baby gets longer.
Bibs and/or Burp Cloths
  • The primary purpose of a Burp Cloth is to protect your clothing, baby's clothing and surrounding furniture. For the first three to six months, Burp Cloths are used to absorb spit-ups and drips.
  • Once baby is eating solid foods, Bibs are also useful to protect baby's clothing.
  • Bibs come in a variety of styles; many are designed to match an outfit.
  • Different styles offer a variety of features:
    • Waterproof backing prevents food from being absorbed into baby's clothing.
    • PVC-Free plastic can be easily wiped off.
    • Flip-pocket designs catch any mess before it hits the chair or floor.
    • Broader-coverage designs better protect a wider area of baby's clothing.
    • Throw-away or disposables are easy to pack and carry, and are always clean and convenient.
  • Did you know: There are two ways a bib can be put on baby:
    • A tie or Velcro closure secures in back.
    • A pull-over bib slips over baby's head-and is ideal when baby is strong enough to pull off his or her bib.
    • All Bibs can be put on or taken off quickly.
  • Hats are essential, as many newborns do not have much hair and babies lose body heat through their heads. A sun hat or cap is a must-have to protect baby's head from the sun's rays.
  • Did you know: Most hospitals keep baby in a cap during his/her entire stay.
  • Baby can also lose body heat through his/her feet, so it's important to always keep baby's feet covered for warmth.
  • Elastic cuffs ensure Socks will remain on baby's feet.
  • Good quality Socks are at least 85% cotton, blended with some spandex or polyester to retain shape.
  • Helpful hint: Buy Socks with skid-proof, gripper bottoms once baby starts attempting to walk.
Separates: T-Shirts/Tops, Pants and Sweaters
  • Once baby starts crawling, Separates provide the most flexibility for movement.
  • For parents and gift-givers, the fun of coordinating Separates begins as you pick styles to go with your baby's personality.
  • You'll definitely want several special outfits for holidays, occasions, picture taking... and especially, for baby to wear when coming home from the hospital.
  • Soft-Soled Shoes or bare feet are recommended until baby is fully comfortable walking by him/herself. Soft-Soled Shoes allow baby's toes and feet to curl more easily, making it easier to learn how to balance.
  • Soft-Soled Shoes provide extra warmth for baby's feet during colder weather and protect baby's toes and feet while crawling or learning to walk.
  • Helpful hint: Once baby is comfortable walking-and walking is baby's mode of getting around-you should switch your baby to Hard-Soled Shoes.
Blanket Sleepers and/or Wearable Blankets
  • Blanket Sleepers provide extra warmth for baby at night (especially in winter).
  • Their one-piece designs offset the danger of having a loose blanket in the crib.
  • Are available in both footless versions and footed, which makes walking while wearing possible.
Seasonal Items
  • Baby should be protected against weather-related changes. Depending on where you live:
    • i. In winter: baby will need a Bunting or Pram; an older child will need a heavy winter coat and snowsuit, a hat and mittens.
    • ii. In spring: baby will need a jacket; an older child will need a raincoat, pair of rain boots and umbrella.
    • iii. In summer: both babies and children will need swimsuits, swim goggles, sun hats, sunglasses and sandals. Baby will need swim diapers. Always look for swimwear and hats with SPF protection.
    • iv. In fall: both babies and children will need jackets.
  • And of course you'll want to dress up your baby for different holiday occasions throughout the year!

What size should you buy?

Purchasing the right size for your baby is based more on your child's height and weight, rather than their age. While most lines of clothing label their products with an age, they also include the specific height and weight measurements that age represents for their line. When a month-based age is placed on the label it indicates the high-end of the age range the item will fit.

For Example:

  • 3 months = 0 to 3 months
  • 6 months = 3 to 6 months
  • 9 months = 6 to 9 months
  • 12 months = 9 to 12 months
Helpful hints:

If you are buying a gift and don't know the weight and height of the child, the rule of thumb is to buy six months larger then the age of the baby. Always think through size and seasonality. You don't want to buy a 6 months summer outfit for a baby born in the summer – they will have out grown it by the time it is warm enough to wear.

What is the difference between 24 months and a 2T?

Twenty-four months is usually slightly shorter and wider in the waist. 2T is cut narrower because baby is starting to lose his/her rounded belly.

Here are a few guidelines to help:


Clothing Size Weight (lbs.) Height (inches)
Preemie Up to 5 Up to 17
Newborn 5 - 8 Up to 21.5
3 Months 8 - 12.5 21.5 - 24
6 Months 12.5 - 16.5 24 - 26.5
9 Months 16.5 - 20.5 26.5 - 28.5
12 Months 20.5 - 24.5 28.5 - 30.5
18 Months 24.5 - 27.5 30.5 - 32.5
24 Months 27.5 - 30 32.5 - 34
2T 29 - 31 34.5 - 36.5
3T 31 - 34 36.5 - 38.5
4T 34 - 38 38.5 - 41.5

Shoes/Socks General Size Guidelines

Shoe Size Sock Size
0-1 0-4 (or 0-6 months)
1-3 4-5.5 (or 6-12 months)
3-5 5-6.5 (or 12-24 months)
5-10 6-7.5 (or 2-4 Toddler)
Soft breathable materials for tiny newborn toes in sizes 00 to 4. Constructed with soft soles to protect babies beginning to actively crawl and move around in sizes 0 to 3. Durable construction with flexible support for active toddler in sizes 2 to 10.
00 Preemie to 6 lbs.    
0 Birth to 6 weeks 0 Birth to 6 weeks  
1 6 weeks to 3 months 1 6 weeks to 3 months  
2 3-6 months 2 3-6 months 2 3-6 months
3 6-9 months 3 6-9 months 3 6-9 months
4 9-12 months   4 9-12 months
    5 12-18 months
    6 18-24 months
    7 24-30 months
    8 30-36 months
    9 36-42 months
    10 42-48 months

Tights Size Guidelines (specific to Be Basics)

Tight Size Weight (lbs.) Height (inches)
0 - 6 Up to 18 Up to 26
6 - 18 18 - 26 26 - 31
18 - 24 23 - 33 30 - 36
2 - 4 28 - 38 33 - 38
4 - 6 38 - 50 39 - 45

While most infant clothing is machine washable, you should always read the garment tag with the manufacturer's care instructions first.

Helpful hints:

  • Remove all tags and stickers from new clothes, blankets and sheets. Tags may irritate baby's tender skin and the sticker's adhesive may melt in a hot dryer.
  • It's best to use fragrance-free, dye-free or sensitive-skin detergents (free of perfumes) and skip bleaches, softeners, stain removers and dryer sheets, as they may bother baby's delicate senses and skin.