Baby Clothing: What do you really need?

Going into a store that's bulging with baby goods can be a little overwhelming. How do you know what you really need right 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 laundry every day.

  • 2 or 3 soft, baby-size bath towels and 6 to 10 baby washcloths
  • 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 sweaters
  • 2 to 3 sleeper suits
  • 3 or 4 crib 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 in 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.
  • Bunting or snowsuit 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 stores; 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 Kid Stuff .And to find out which type of car seat you'll need for your baby's first ride (home from the hospital!), see our Car Seat Shopping Guide.

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