Tips for Stockpiling Baby and Toddler Clothing (sizes 0-24M):
(For a layette especially for newborns, check out this post.)
“Do I really need this?”
I have to ask myself this a lot. See, I have this
need obsession to stockpile stuff when it goes on sale. I use coupons and have amassed an amazing stockpile of hygiene products. So naturally, with this obsession, I wanted to stockpile stuff for the baby, during my “nesting” period while pregnant.
So I made a pretty big stockpile of clothing and diapers. And it was pretty awesome. Except for a few “errors” on my part:
I made the mistake of stocking up on a variety of clothes and accessories for Baby in all sizes. I tried to predict Baby’s growth and stock up on 9-month fall clothing and 12-month winter clothing. This worked until Baby grew out of 3-6 mo clothing and was already wearing 6-9 mo clothing in the blazing Texas summer heat when he was 5 months old. Luckily I had onesies and rompers in that size but was doing the wash several times a week to make sure Baby had enough to wear.
If I were given a redo, I would only stock up on only basics:
- I highly recommend short-sleeved clothing for younger babies because it is so hard to dress little babies already and a sleeve makes things more difficult. Some long sleeved pieces can be too tight or too long – and you will not be able to squeeze those fatty arms into them! I rarely used long sleeved clothing until Baby was a year old because before then, they were hard to get on and off. We layered with a blanket or zip-up sweaters or jackets if it was cold.
- Onesies (recommend about 10 per size) are the most versatile piece of baby clothing and easy to layer for all seasons. You can even buy white ones and decorate them yourself (That would be a cool baby shower activity). I like about 10-12 onesies in each size, but that’s just my personal preference. I don’t like doing laundry all the time. But remember, you will get some clothing from baby showers–so don’t buy too many right away! If budget allows, buy color to hide stains but remember black and navy aren’t best for the summer heat. Buy plain white if you feel comfortable using bleach for stains.
- Pajamas: Buy seasonally as needed
- Creepers (recommend 3-5 depending on weather and other tops) are nice for younger babies because you open them from the front (easy to put on small. wiggly babies) and they are one piece (without feet), so baby can grow into them without getting trapped into the footies! They are available at Carter’s up to 12M. Sleepers with footies are also great, but I’ve gotten a lot more use out of creepers like these in the summer:
- Footed sleepers with zippers are faster and easier to put on, but the whole thing will be unzipped for those quick diaper changes (with only baby’s arms still dressed). With snap-up creepers, you only unsnap the bottom three snaps for diaper changes. It’s your call and your climate is probably the deciding factor. To read more about one-piece pjs, click here.
- After 9M or so, I switched from one piece to two piece pj sets from Walmart with a shirt and long pants, 100% cotton, but all brands we tried run small (go one size up) even Carters. The long-sleeved version of pjs is a seasonal item and is best bought in the autumn or before winter at retailers. I found the separates to be easier with diaper changes and I could pair the pj pants with bodysuits during the daytime (last winter Baby lived in pjs more than regular clothes.)
- Dressy Outfits: Don’t buy too many fancy outfits or one-piece rompers (recommend 1-3 per size). I’m a fan of rompers to use around 3-24M; they have snaps for easy access for changes and look a lot cuter than regular shirts! but they do get tight on older babies who like movement; babies tend to grow out of these quickly compared to t-shirts or onesies. Again, I recommend short sleeved pieces for easy dressing.
- Baby girls have many options like dresses and jumpers but for boys it’s a lot harder to find dressy clothing. Some formal or Sunday wear for baby boys are polo shirts or button up shirts (over white undershirt bodysuits if needed) and neutral pants; button up shirts are easier for younger babies, but try short sleeved ones unless you have a thin-framed baby; polo tops are best for older babies who can squeeze into a shirt without problems. I suggest finding thinner material for shirts for warmer temps; you can layer in cooler temps with a jacket if needed.
- Pants: Buy 3-5 per size; don’t buy too many pairs.
- I recommend elastic waistband, cotton pants on newborns (Gymboree is a good brand, check their clearance bins); avoid newborn shorts because they need coverage when outside (whether cold or hot). I like soft shorts on babies size 3-6M and up, especially for spring and summer, when they are ready to go out more; pants can be kind of a pain to put on (for some reason they are always way too long so try them rolled up!) Get bottoms made of lighter and softer material (cotton jersey or khaki).
- Don’t get pants of material that is too heavy, thick or stiff. I dread using the stiff cotton and corduroy pants we have, even in the wintertime. Babies are hard to dress if the clothing is uncomfortable or restricting; buy clothing for comfort and ease. Toddlers who are walking can handle the harder material, but I’d only recommend them for cold weather or formal occasions.
- Young babies have a lot of blowouts and can use 5 pairs of bottoms. We had 7 pairs of 0-3 M and that is way too many; we hardly used them all. Babies are limited in movement, so their pants may get dirty but are never worn out.
In the summer, an older baby can get by with 3-4 pairs. Our baby doesn’t even wear shorts or pants unless we leave the house. Even then, if he is going to stay in the stroller, I don’t even bother with pants. They are a pain: you are constantly taking them off for diaper changes, and babies get hot in their car seats just wearing a onesie.
In cooler temps, an older baby can get by with about 5 pairs and I’d suggest getting some that double as pj bottoms and thicker ones for layering on top of thinner ones, when outdoors.
- Now in size 18M clothes, Baby has 5 pairs of pj bottoms which sometimes we use as pants, but we only have 3 pairs of regular pants.
- I seriously feel like I bought too many pairs of pants when he was a baby because I was trying to make “outfits” for the baby like what you see in a store window. If attending a wedding or taking family photos, you might buy a pair of formal pants to coordinate with a top, but otherwise stick to a few pairs of stretchy and soft pants and/or shorts.
- Accessories are always available and in the sale rack. Wait for the season! I found a couple of really cute hats on sale before Baby was born and I could not resist buying them. I totally missed the mark on hats. Baby’s head is huge and all the summer hats we got in 0-3M are useless. He could fit 6-12M hats at 4 months! Just buy one or two beanie-style hats for the newborn months (keep the tags on, keep receipts, try a few sizes at first) and then buy as you need them.
I know it’s hard to resist cute stuff. But take my advice, walk, no run away from the cuteness! (I know it’s hard!)
I would avoid buying seasonal clothes (for future seasons) like hats, coats, long-sleeved sleepers or thick jackets unless they were on a super sale and I could re-purpose these for baby gifts if they were unused. Buy seasonal clothing and accessories as needed.
I suggest to begin, buying socks and one or two beanie-style hats (remember keep the tags and receipts!)
- Gymboree socks (3-5 pairs per size) are the best for little babies; they have the thickest material for their N and 0-3 socks with cuffs (they really stay put; use them as mittens too)
Older babies can use the regular baby socks and once baby starts walking, use those with dots (textured grips) (appear on bigger-sized baby socks), especially if you have hard floors. Old Navy has a similar baby/toddler sock that is affordable and they carry more toddler sizes than Gymboree/Carters.
Sweaters and jackets: 1-2 per size, don’t go crazy; often the 2nd one is in the diaper bag permanently, just as a backup. I feel button-up or zippered sweaters or jackets best for younger babies as they are soft, stretchy and are easy to get on and off. Just realize that when jackets are fully zipped up, little babies might want to teeth on the zipper so zip appropriately. I definitely love zip-up hoodies for older babies. I’ve bought at least one jacket in each size because they are the perfect outerwear for Texas.You can’t predict the weather or your baby’s exact growth pattern. Especially once your baby hits 1 year, her growth will slow down to 8 ounces/month (5 lbs) that year; so limit yourself to only shopping for seasonal clothing and accessories for the next size up and no more!
Remember, go by the weight range not by age on the sizing. 12M sized clothing fits a 22 lb baby –which is what size my 6-month old is wearing right now!
Note that people will gift you nice clothing or hand-me-downs and some of it will not be seasonally appropriate for your particular baby, so you will have to determine whether or not you have sufficient clothing when your baby actually grows into that size.
Moneysaver Tip: Find clothes that are easy! Easy access (for diapering), easy removal (after feeding and teething), easy to layer, easy to mix/match