How Long Do Babies Wear Newborn Clothes? (Surprising Expert Tips)

How long do babies wear newborn clothes? Let me share a story.

I remember the first time one of my girlfriends got pregnant. I was so excited for her baby shower that I couldn’t wait to go shopping and look for a great baby outfit. Her baby was due in late summer and she already put together a baby registry. I knew her other friends would buy the onesies, hats, and baby sunglasses for warm weather. So, I decided on a counterattack. I purchased the soon-to-be newborn boy a hoodie.

I knew he wouldn’t wear it home from the hospital, but it would be perfect for a couple of months down the road when the temperatures began to drop. However, the hoodie I bought was too small once winter came around.  

I learned from this mistake. So, when my first baby came a few years later, I was thankfully ready to buy the correct size.  

Newborn baby clothes may be the second cutest thing on the planet (behind newborns themselves). They come in all sorts of colors, designs, and shapes. Plus, they’re almost as soft as a baby’s skin. 

So, it begs the question: How long are babies in newborn clothes? Keep reading, and I’ll let you know.

How Long Do Babies Wear Newborn Clothes?

Every baby is different when it comes to newborn clothing. Some babies are born on the larger side and can even start wearing 1-month clothing early on. 

Some babies are premature or small and may be too small for their newborn clothing. In this case, you might need preemie clothing, which is available to order online and in some stores. 

Factors to Consider 

So, how long do babies stay in newborn clothes overall? It’s essential to consider various factors that go into your baby’s clothing. I’ve outlined these below. 


Newborns come into the world in different shapes and sizes. If your new baby is on the smaller side, they might remain in newborn clothes for a few weeks extra. 

However, if your child is larger – usually defined as a birth weight of 9 pounds or more – it may mean using 1-month clothes or transitioning from newborn clothing faster. Newborn clothing is made for babies from 6-9 pounds and up to 21 inches in length. 

Clothing Labels 

The baby industry decided long ago to size clothing by age, not by length, width, height, or weight. A 0 to 3-month onesie might not be big enough for larger newborns. Research indicates that a woman’s weight gain during pregnancy will often foretell how big the baby may be.

Some brands have size variations in their clothing label size from others. You should always check the tag to see what weight and length the clothing covers. 

Growth Rate 

According to Mayo Clinic, newborns grow between half an inch and one inch per month and gain up to 7 ounces in weight per week. Your baby will often double its birth weight in the first five months. Depending on how your baby puts on weight, you may need to switch to 0 to 3-month clothing within a couple of months. 

Differing Brands 

Because there is no industry standard, and no two companies create the same newborn baby clothes sizes. There are slight differences among them all. One company’s 3-month outfit might be another’s 0-month or 6-month size. Don’t just look at the label. Compare different brands in the store.

Given these factors, it is nearly impossible to definitively answer “How long do babies stay in newborn clothes?” However, there are good guestimates. 

Clothes for newborns who weigh less than 9 pounds at birth will fit for up to five weeks. Larger babies will only fit in newborn clothes for three weeks or less. You might consider using the average birth weight in the U.S. of 7 pounds, 6 ounces as a guide.

How Many Outfits Should I Have?

How Long Do Babies Wear Newborn Clothes

How many outfits you have depends on how often you want to run the washer and dryer. I think two outfits per day for one week, plus one sleeper per night for a week, should do the trick. That’s 14 outfits and seven sleepers. Remember, you will need them for five weeks max.

Because of that, I recommend stocking up on 0 to 3-month and 6-month outfits. These will be used for far longer than newborn clothes. Plus, friends and family will understand if you roll up the legs and arms until your baby is big enough to fit them properly.

You should consider a combination of onesies, bodysuits, and rompers. Buy some with short sleeves and others with long sleeves. Sleepers should cover your newborn’s legs. You can also include a skull cap (beanie), socks, and mittens with each outfit.

Mittens are essential because your baby will tend to scratch at their face. I prefer to buy only one color of socks for newborns. That way, I don’t have any trouble finding the tiny matches.

If your baby is due in the winter, you can add a sweater or jacket to the ensemble. Make sure the buttons are on the front.

Two neutral color beanies should be plenty. Some body heat evaporates through the head, so a skull cap will keep your baby nice and warm. Just remember to remove the hat once your baby falls asleep gently.

How Can I Buy the Right Clothes?

Since your newborn will only require a few outfits for the first three to five weeks, my recommendation for brand new baby clothes to look for include the following:

  • Easy getting into and out of: For example, find Velcro instead of button-up onesies.
  • Soft fabrics: For example, find synthetic clothes without tags.
  • Seasonal buys: For example, find warmer outfits for fall and winter.
  • Necessary items first: For example, find the pieces listed above and stick to them. Extras, like baby booties, can wait a few weeks or months.
  • Washable and wearable: For example, avoid fabrics that need to hang dry or shrink.

Remember to shop for your baby’s body, not always by size. If you have a chunkier baby, buy larger clothes. 


You only need enough newborn outfits for a week’s worth of changes. This should be two daily outfits and one for nighttime. You can wash and dry them each week while your babies grow. After about five weeks, your baby may be ready to move on to larger clothing. 

Remember, newborns only need a few onesies, caps, socks, and sleepers to get them from the hospital through the first five weeks of life. A few necessities are all that are required to keep babies warm and comfy while they adjust to the new surroundings and while you adjust to a new person in your home. Also, as you are thinking about newborn clothes, check out our amazing guide on the must-haves you should on your baby registry.