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Making Sizing Sense of Baby Clothes

Making Sizing Sense of Baby Clothes

If you’ve ever held up a brand new onesie alongside one passed down from a family member and thought, “huh?” you’re not alone. The variety in sizes among baby clothes is similar to…well, adult’s clothes, for one thing.

Add that to all the other things one must learn when prepping for baby’s arrival and it can feel overwhelming. While sizing for infant clothes is relatively easy to understand—with its helpful “age of baby” categories—there are a few tips and tricks to consider before going out to purchase a whole new (adorable) wardrobe for your newest family member.

Babies follow their own growth curves

Growth curves can be helpful to catch outliers in the medical sense, but there is a big difference between a baby who is at the 10th percentile in height and weight, with one that is at the 90th. 

Yes, both kiddos are perfectly normal, but this discrepancy in sizes is especially noticeable when the kids we’re talking about are all under 20 lbs.

When shopping baby clothes, you’ll see that sizes are broken up into 3 month increments for the first year, and then 6 months for year two.  NB clothing means ‘newborn,’ and the smallest of the bunch, and then it goes up from there—0-3 Months, 3-6M, 6-9M, and so on. 

This is a great ballpark to shop in, but within a few weeks after your little one’s arrival, you’ll likely be able to eyeball clothing sizes within those labels better than relying solely on the tags.

How much of each size to buy

One important thing to consider is that baby clothing is meant to fit babies up to that size, but not beyond it. So, for example, if your baby is approaching 3 months old, you’ll be searching for clothes in the 3-6M range, because those sizes will fit babies up to 3-6 months.  That being said, sizing up is always wiser than staying within size.

Babies are at their happiest when they are comfortable, and comfort to a baby means nothing rubbing against their skin, especially as they increase their mobility.

As the time approaches to stock their closet and drawers, you will be constantly asked, “what do you need?” That can be tricky to answer because it involves a certain level of clairvoyance.

A good rule of thumb is to stock up on onesies and sleepers.  For the first 6 months, you’ll be doing frequent feedings and diaper changes, and in between, baby will be sleeping—a lot, hopefully. In fact, they grow so rapidly at this stage that you’ll swear they have grown overnight!

Generally, babies in the first year go through at least 2 outfits a day, plus what they sleep in. Having 15 onesies and 7 sleepers within each size bracket will be plenty if you manage to do laundry once a week.

Yes, playwear and coordinating outfits are adorable, but chances are, your little one won’t be wearing those items with any consistency until they are walking.