A Guide to Baby Clothes for New Moms-to-Be: Learn from My Mistakes

Listen. One thing no one ever tells you before you give birth is: baby clothes sizes are strange and confusing. I think it is important for me to write this guide because I never had one while I was struggling with mountains of onesies. Just looking through baby clothes can get overwhelming. First of all, there are newborn and 0-3 month sizes… Like, wouldn’t “zero months” be the same as newborn?? There are 0-3 months, 3-6 months, and just “3” months… Are these special clothes that can only be worn for one particular month when the baby is 3 months old??

I’m here to help you out. I already made all of the mistakes so you don’t have to.

1. Newborn Clothes

Before my daughter was born, everyone told me that I wouldn’t need very many newborn size clothes for her because: 1) babies grow so quickly, she’d be out of them in no time 2) 0-3 month size clothes fit just as well as newborn size and 3) there’s a chance she wouldn’t fit in them anyway if she was a big baby when she was born. So, all of that advice… totally NOT true. I did have several newborn size outfits for her, but I wish I had had more. Briella was not a tiny baby when she was born; she was almost an 8-pounder, weighing in at 7 lbs 15 oz. Yet, when I put her in 0-3 month clothes, she was swimming in them. Newborn size clothes fit her so much better and she didn’t actually outgrow them until she was probably about a month old. And that first month is when everyone comes to visit and take pictures of the new little baby, so you want her to be dressed cute, right? And not like a half-empty potato sack (not that any baby could really look like a potato sack!). If I had to do it over again, I would definitely make sure I had more newborn size clothes on hand.

2. 3 Months, 6 Months, 9 Months, 12…

This was probably the thing that confused me the most about baby clothes. Weeks before I even gave birth and as I was getting things ready for my daughter’s arrival, I had hung all of her 0-3 month clothes up nice and neat in her closet, but didn’t really know what to do with the clothes that were labeled as just “3 months.” I just figured, “Well, she probably won’t be able to wear those until she’s 3 months old…?” so I kept them packed away. It wasn’t until several weeks after she was already wearing her “0-3 months” clothes that I found out that “3 months” were the same size! I’m so glad I found out when I did, otherwise I would have pulled out all of these cute outfits when she was 3 months old only to find out that she’d already outgrown them. SO… if an outfit is labeled “3 months,” it’s the same as “0-3 months.” Similarly, if it’s labeled “6 months,” it is the same as “3-6 months.” “9 months” is “6-9 months” and so on and so forth.

3. Sizes differ depending on the brand

Nothing is more disappointing than pulling out clothes for the next size up and finding out that some of the outfits don’t even fit before your child has had a chance to wear them. This is what I discovered the hard way about a few certain brands. Gerber Onesies are the first ones that pop into my mind. We bought some really cute 0-3 month onesies for her when she was about 2 months old, and when we went to dress her in them, they were already pretty tight on her. The same thing happened when we got out her 3-6 month clothes when she was 3-months-old, and she was already outgrowing the 3-6 month Gerber onesies. I can’t think of any other brands that tend to run small that I’ve had experience with, yet, but I know Gerber is a popular brand. Also, Garanimals tend to run large. My daughter is a rather little baby, and at 6 months old, her 3-6 months clothes are just now really starting to fit her well, but the Garanimals are still pretty big on her.

4. Take inventory before taking off tags

I get it: nothing is more exciting for a mom-to-be than to take all of the tags off of your expected little one’s clothing and washing them and hanging them in the closet or folding them and placing them in the drawers… but just slow down…. because I sure didn’t. I was an eager beaver to have everything prepared, so whenever someone gave us a gift or after our baby showers, I automatically ripped the tags off of everything and washed them all up. Having done that, though, we ended up with about 20 0-3 month sleepers, maybe a couple 3-6 month sleepers, and none for 6-9 months or older. If I could do it over, I would have waited to take inventory on what we had, so I would have realized that maybe I should take a few of those 0-3 month sleepers and exchange them for larger sizes so we wouldn’t have to buy them later down the road. Yeah, I wasn’t very smart about it. Don’t be like me.

I hope this guide helps somebody out. For other moms who may be reading this, did I leave anything out? Are you aware of any other clothing brands that run small or large??


One thought on “A Guide to Baby Clothes for New Moms-to-Be: Learn from My Mistakes

  1. These are so true! Now that shes getting bigger she will slow down in changing sizes. A smart frugal mom friend said that when you have to actually buy clothes buy a few cute well fitting outfits for pictures and outings, but let your little run around the house in clothes a size bigger so they can where them longer. Oh and wait till you get to 2T and 24mth. hahah. Just so you know, 24mths is for more of a baby type 2 year old. The pants have room for diapers, sometimes buttons and onsie like outfits. The 2T clothes are big kid Toddler like clothes, they may have zippers and buttons at the waist to adjust to potty training. And by then your little may be in 2 different sizes. wearing smaller pants and bigger shirts or vice versa. This clothing debacle is hard work!

    While discussing clothes, organization is key. I always had an open box for clothes that didn’t fit, so I didn’t get them mixed in. I don’t know what you are doing with the boxes of clothes you have, but I packed mine by how they fit B, so small clothes went in a smaller size, and granimals went into the larger size. I was grateful when I found out I was preggo again and I had stayed organized. Also be sure to label your seasons. C was unfortunate to be born in a different season as B so I was always needing a few pieces to fit the weather.


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