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The ultimate guide to buying baby clothes – sizes, tips, and must-haves

Pregnant woman washing baby clothesHow do you buy clothes for someone you haven’t met yet?

How do you shop when you don’t know what size your baby will be? And how do you buy practical clothing when you’ve never had a baby before?

We hope our ultimate guide to buying baby clothes – with tips on baby clothes sizes, what to buy and must-have items – will help you shop for baby!

Baby Clothes – Size Guide

So what size clothes will you need for your new baby?

Below is a general guide to baby clothing sizes although keep in mind that all babies grow at different rates and, like us grown-ups, have different body shapes and sizes. Also clothing sizes will differ slightly from brand to brand.

Size Age Weight
Size 00000 Small or premature babies 2kg
Size 0000 Newborns 3kg
Size 000 Up to 3 months old 6kg
Size 00 3-6 months old 8kg
Size 0 6-9 months old 10kg
Size 1 9-12 months old 12kg


Size 00000

This size is for very small and premature babies (about 2kg). It is unlikely that a full-term baby would need 00000 clothes so no need to buy this size if you expect to make it to 40 weeks or close enough. If you do have a small or premature baby then head to the shops or online – many popular brands make baby clothes in 00000.

Size 0000

This size is for newborns (around 3kg) but don’t go overboard buying an entire wardrobe in this size before your baby is born. You may end up with a 4kg+ newborn and a drawer full of 0000 clothes that never see the light of day. Buy a few clothes in this size but only the basics (singlets, growsuits etc). Even if your newborn is 3kg or so they’ll be out of 0000s within a month or two.

Size 000

This size is generally for babies up to 3 months old or around 6kg. Buy comfortable clothes (growsuits are great) that will do up at the front and allow easy access to nappies as you’ll still be doing quite a lot of nappy changes.

Size 00

This size is for babies up to and around 6 months old (about 8kg). They’ll probably wear this size for a bit longer than the others. Clothes in 00 size will probably be the first lot of clothes your baby will make a mess of as this will be the age he starts on solid food and begins to explore the house – rolling/commando crawling/crawling. Might be a good idea to invest in some ‘play clothes’ in this size (go op-shopping for some cheap clothes that you won’t mind them destroying!)

Size 0

Size 0 clothes are generally made for babies up to and around 9 months old. Again, these are likely to get a good workout as baby starts crawling/walking/eating solids so it is good to have a few more in this size. Look for clothes don’t get in the way of your little one as they are learning to crawl and walk. It is a good idea to stick with leggings, long pants and shorts for girls as dresses and skirts tend to get a bit tangled up when they’re learning to crawl.

Size 1

Size 1 clothes are made for babies aged around 12 months old. This is a fun age to buy clothes! They’ll be walking, or starting to, so you can start buying dresses and skirts for your little girl. Plus as they say ‘goodbye’ to crawling you can say ‘goodbye’ to the dirty and torn knees of the size 0 clothing. Babies at this age are still messy little things so have plenty of ‘play clothes’ that you don’t mind seeing covered in mud or with watermelon dribbled all down the front.

Baby clothes size chart

11 Tips For Buying Baby Clothes

  1. Buy gender-neutral newborn clothes as they won’t be worn long and newborns don’t tend to get their clothes very dirty so they’ll still be in pristine condition by the time your next baby comes along!
  2. Wait to buy most clothes after baby is born. Buy a few items in sizes 0000 and 000 then stock up once you know more about your baby (sex, size etc). Also you’re likely to receive quite a few items of clothing as gifts.
  3. Don’t wash (or take tags off) baby clothes in bigger sizes until you’re ready to use them. You might find that the sizes are wrong (eg you’ve got some cute size 0 winter clothes but your baby is on the small side and won’t be in size 0 until the weather warms up). It might be OK to exchange for the right size.
  4. Clothes with press studs are easier to handle than buttons – especially in the middle of the night when baby is crying and you’re so sleep deprived you can’t hold your head up straight. Zips are good but can ‘buckle’ a little and make clothes look weird and uncomfortable.
  5. Consider buying singlet suits as they don’t ride up (like a normal singlet) on small babies and they can stop older babies from taking off their nappies. If you plan on using cloth nappies you might prefer normal singlets as having singlet suits tight over cloth nappies can cause moisture to wick from the nappies to the clothes.
  6. If you’re buying baby clothes for a friend, larger sizes make good gifts as they last longer and your friend will probably already have loads of small clothes. Use the guide above to help you choose clothes according to the seasons and keep the receipts!
  7. Accept all the hand-me-downs you can!
  8. Babies don’t really like having clothes pulled over their heads (and it isn’t an easy thing to do with a small baby) so look for clothes that have front openings and can be put on lying down (without going over the head). If you do buy T-shirts etc (especially once your little one is a bit older) remember that babies have big heads so look for clothes with large or expandable necklines (or clasps etc that you can do up again once the shirt is over their head).
  9. Don’t buy too many separates (shirt plus pants) in the small sizes (0000 and 000) as a newborn’s healing umbilical cord will get in the way of a waistband.
  10. If you want to buy some nice outfits for photos, going out and ‘showing off’ your new arrival make sure you have at least two (as they’ll no doubt ruin the first with baby spew or a poop explosion as you’re just about to walk out the door). There’s no need to have too many, they’re likely to be impractical and they’ll only wear them once or twice.
  11. Look for clothes in natural fibres such as cotton as they’ll be less likely to irratate baby’s skin.

How To Store Baby Clothes

  • Wash the clothes and treat any stains. Make sure your clothes are completely dry before storage. Separate into each size and label your storage container (I used old nappy boxes) and store in a cool, dry place.
  • Sometimes baby clothes appear yellowed when you pull them out of storage. Don’t stress, the yellow stains weren’t there when you (or their previous owner) put them away and they just need an overnight soak, a wash and some time in the sun to be good as new.
  • Don’t give away your baby’s pants and shorts too early as they might just fit again once they are out of nappies. A one-year-old with a bulky nappy on might fit into his favourite shorts again when he is two and wearing undies.

Essential Baby Clothes To Buy

Cotton singlets

Singlets (or singlet suits) are essential in all sizes. In winter they help insulate baby against the cold and keep their chest nice and warm. In summer they might be the only item of clothing your baby wears (not in the direct sunlight of course though – make sure you’re always sunsafe!)


The most practical item in baby’s wardrobe. Warm (but not too warm), easy to put on, easy to take off for nappy changes and, of course, very cute. Buy some with feet and some without as sometimes baby will still ‘fit’ into the growsuit except for the feet. Onesies without feet are also less slippery for an older baby who is learning to walk.

Essential items for a newborn:

  • Singlets x 5 (or, even better, singlet suits – as they don’t ride up!)
  • Short-sleeved bodysuits (can be used under clothes in winter)
  • Long-sleeved growsuits (you’ll still need one or two even if your baby is born in summer)
  • Socks x 3

For more information read on what you need for newborns read our guide to nursery essentials.

Clothes You Don’t Really Need For Baby

Baby shoes

Babies don’t need shoes until they can walk well. Before that hard-soled shoes may actually get in the way of your baby learning to get around. Onesies, socks and booties will keep your baby’s feet warm in the winter months and bare feet are perfect for when it is warm. If you want some nice shoes for a special occassion look for soft-soled pre-walker shoes.

Baby clothes that do up at the back

Dressing a baby is hard enough and if you’ve ever seen one being dressed you’ll notice that they are lying down when it is done – pretty hard to do up buttons when baby is lying flat (and hard to hold baby up while you fiddle around behind them). Also buttons on the back of your neck wouldn’t be very comfortable while you sleep.

Designer clothes for newborns

Newborns grow so fast that you won’t get enough wear (if any) to justify the huge price tags on designer items. Plus they’ll just poop on them when you do try to dress them up for a photo. The most important things to look for in baby clothes are safety and comfort. If you do want a few ‘special’ items of clothing avoid tight waistbands, scratchy frills or fabric, synthetic fibres, hoods and cords or ties that could become choking or strangling hazards.

Adult clothes for newborns

The reason babies wear baby clothes is because they’re practical and safe. While it is cute to put small babies in jeans, T-shirts, or other ‘adult’ clothes, you’ll soon realise they’re uncomfortable for baby and a pain to get on and off at change time. Much better to buy these items for an older baby or toddler.

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