If there’s one thing all parents are likely to agree on it’s that tiny baby clothes are ridiculously cute.
The answer will come down to a range of factors including their birth size and weight, rate of growth, style of clothes and the clothing brand.
On average newborn clothes last 3-6 weeks from birth, but in some cases this may be much shorter, and if your baby has particularly long limbs or torso, they may even skip this type of clothing completely.
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How Long Do Babies Wear Newborn Clothes?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how long your baby will wear any sort of clothing.
Some of the key factors that determine the answer include:
Full Term vs Premature
If your baby is born preterm like my daughter was (preterm is defined as before 37 weeks), they may not actually fit newborn clothing at first.
In this case you will need to dress them in preemie clothes at birth, following which they will move on to newborn clothing after a few weeks once they gain more weight.
If your baby is born between 37 and 41 weeks and is around the average weight of 7lbs, then you can expect to get anywhere from 3-6 weeks of use before your little one outgrows the items.
Full term babies that are bigger than average may only fit into newborn clothes for an even shorter period (see below).
Size & Weight
Your baby’s length of gestation will heavily impact their size at birth, but this alone does not perfectly correlate to their clothing size.
Healthy babies can come in a relatively wide range of sizes and shapes.
As we saw, if your baby is around 7lbs at birth, they may fit into newborn clothing from the time they leave hospital to up to 6 weeks or more.
But if on the other hand your baby is born on the bigger side, for example 8-9lbs, they may only fit into these clothes for 1-2 weeks, or sometimes not at all (in which case you’ll need to move straight onto 0-3 months clothing).
Length Of Torso
To complicate matters further, you baby could have long limbs and a long torso, but they may still be on the lighter side.
So even if your baby has a low birth weight, if they have a long torso or long arms and legs, they may outgrow clothes very quickly, despite their low weight.
The average birth length of a full-term newborn is 19-20 inches, while the upper range for most newborn clothing is 21-22 inches.
Given how close the two are, it’s easy to see why many babies either outgrow this classification of clothing within a week or two, or even don’t fit newborn clothes at all.
How Fast They Grow
Babies grow very quickly, especially as they attempt to regain their birth weight.
From birth to 6 months, you can expect your baby to grow 1/2 to 1 inch per month and gain 5-7 ounces per week!
As with any average there are of courses some babies that grow faster than this, and some that grow at a slower rate.
But if your little one is a normal birth weight and happens to grow faster than average, you can expect them to outgrow newborn clothing pretty quickly.
Just like any other clothing category, there can be significant differences in sizes between brands.
Some brands will run much larger than other, so keep this additional complication in mind when shopping for clothes.
Style & Fit
In a similar vein, both the style and fit of clothes can impact how much wear you get out of them.
If you like to see your baby in snug clothing, they may get less life out of the items vs styles that are meant to be looser, such as a (relatively) baggy cardigan or sweater.
How Many Newborn Clothes Do I Need?
Once you’ve have more of an idea of the amount of time your baby will wear their clothes, you should know more about how many to buy.
But some additional factors to consider are:
- How often you do laundry. It goes without saying that if you don’t have frequent or easy access to a washing machine or dryer, you’re going to need more clothes for your baby. This will also be exaggerated if your baby has reflux which is not caught by their bib, or experiences regular pee leakages or diaper blowouts, both of which will lead to the laundry basket filling up even faster. As a reminder it’s also important to wash baby clothes before use to avoid dust and dirt irritating your baby’s delicate skin irritation.
- How easy it is to buy more clothes. Sure, you can always shop for more clothes online, but some people prefer to look at and shop for items in person. If it will be a challenge for you to physically go shopping in person to buy more baby clothes (more than likely given how full on the first few weeks of the newborn phase can be), then you may want to stock up when you do actually manage to go shopping.
Can Newborns Wear 0-3 Months?
Newborns that are above average in terms of height or weight may not fit into newborn clothes, or if they do, they may outgrow them within a few weeks.
Given the average length of a full-term baby is 19-20 inches, while the upper limit for most newborn clothing is 21.5 inches, taller babies may need to skip wearing this stage of clothing completely and head straight to 0-3 months.
In addition, given many people refer to a newborn as being aged birth to 2 months, a large percentage of babies that are under 8 weeks move from newborn to 0-3 month clothing during the newborn phase.
- There is no easy answer to how long your baby will wear newborn clothes for.
- The answer will come down to their birth size and weight, how quickly they grow, the style of clothes you dress your baby in, and the brand.
- The “average” baby is likely to wear newborn cloths for about 3-6 weeks after birth, but for some babies this can be much shorter (e.g. 1-2 weeks).
- If your baby is born on the bigger side, or has particularly long arms, legs or torso, they may need to move straight up to the 0-3 month size from birth.
- Once you know your baby’s size, the biggest factor in determining how many clothes you need will be how often you do laundry.