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Boys Personalized Blue Fleece Baby Jacket
Boys' Personalized Blue Fleece Baby Jacket

How to Buy Baby Clothes

Buying baby clothes for the newest addition to your family can be both exciting and daunting, especially for new parents. Here's what you'll need to know to keep your baby dressed in style from birth through toddlerhood.

The Basics

Step 1Sizing: Be sure to pay attention to the weight and height information listed on the labels. Infant and toddler clothes are made to correspond to typical sizes for the ages listed, but every brand sizes slightly differently.
Step 2Washing: Examine labels for washing information. No new parent wants to hand wash or worry about certain items that require special care.
Step 3Growth: Babies grow quickly. Purchase clothes in a variety of sizes.
Step 4Season: Be sure to buy clothes appropriate for the season. And remember, seasons can change quickly.
Step 5Variety: You have no idea which clothes you'll prefer or which will fit your baby best until you start trying them on. So, purchase different styles and brands until you find what you like.

The Lingo

Onesies/bodysuits: These long- or short-sleeved undershirts have wide neck openings and typically snap at the diaper. Most babies wear these under their clothes for the first few months, especially in the winter.
Romper/playsuit: A romper is a one-piece outfit, usually with snaps or a zipper. Feet may or may not be built in.
Tops and bottoms: You can purchase tops and bottoms (sets) separately. These matching sets are ideal for older infants and toddlers.
Gowns: These are nightgowns specifically designed for babies. The bottoms are open, which makes middle-of-the-night diaper changes a breeze.
Sleep sack: Babies wear these one-piece outfits to sleep. Unlike gowns, sleep sacks zip up and can be worn on top of a bodysuit or a romper on cold nights before blankets are appropriate.

The Experts

WhatToExpect.com While you'll want to be careful to dress your baby warm enough, overheating can also be a concern. According to this site, new babies have difficulty regulating their own temperatures; parents should be sure to dress infants appropriately for the weather. Take off warm outerwear once inside, and make sure baby's room isn't too hot at night.
March of Dimes Infant outfits should be snug fitting and shouldn't have any loose items, snaps, zippers or unraveling thread, according to this baby health nonprofit organization. This ensures that baby is safe as well as cute.

The Brands

Gerber Most popular for their Onesies, Gerber baby clothes are utilitarian and reasonably priced.
Carter's These fashionable and well-made baby clothes come in sizes that will see kids through the preschool years.
Old NavyThis brand offers infant and toddler clothes that are scaled down versions of their popular (and practical) boys and girls clothing.
GymboreeThese upscale baby and kids clothes are fashionable and easily recognized for their high-quality workmanship.

The Price

$: These inexpensive baby clothes might be thinner and more prone to shrinkage than their pricier counterparts. However, they'll last until your child outgrows them and you won't be upset when they get spit up on. Old Navy is a good option when you're looking for baby clothes that cost less than $10 per item.
$$: Slightly more expensive, expect these baby clothes to be of higher quality and a bit more fashionable than cheaper variations. Look to Gap for baby clothes in the $10 to $20 price range.
$$$: For the upscale baby, Nordstrom and others offer pricey baby clothes that are stylish, of exceptional quality and should last well for future babies.