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The clothes your baby needs in their first year

A baby clothes checklist is a good idea for all new mums. Baby clothes epitomise fast fashion but are often overlooked as a contributor to landfill. But just how many clothes does your baby need? Its really easy to get carried away with so many cute baby items around – ooh those teeny tiny sleepsuits, and ahh how lovely are those baby jackets! Well we’re going to shed some light on what’s needed, what’s wanted and what’s not.

One of the things that really makes the difference to how many items you buy is how many times you plan on doing the laundry for your baby’s clothes. Essentially, the less items you have the more frequent you’ll need to wash them, because you’re going to need to keep changing your baby in the early months.

Baby feeding

Breast milk and infant formula provides all the nutrients your baby needs until around 6 months old. Then around 6 months, when they start on solids, it’s a whole new ball game with projectile vomit and nappy explosions. They will gradually progress from pureed and blended foods to mashed, lumpy or finger foods. Let’s face it – it’s going to be messy! You can protect your baby’s clothing during food times with cloth bibs. There are of course plastic or BPA free silicone pelican bibs – those are the ones which clip behind your baby’s neck and have a built in crumb catcher at the front, which are great for those dribbles and spews, but not so good for the environment. If you decide to use a pelican bib then go for a 100% food grade BPA free silicone one.

Baby clothing sizes

Once you’ve decided on how many times you want to, or are hoping to, do your laundry, then you can start thinking about the number of clothes you need. Let’s start with the sizes you’ll probably get through in the first year – Newborn, 0-3m, 3-6m and 6-12 months. Some brands even do 6-9 months and 9-12 months, so that would be 5 sizes!

A newborn won’t need much variety in their wardrobe, as they basically live in sleepsuits, or wrapped in muslins. As your baby gets older the types of clothing and styles increase due to necessity as your baby starts to find their feet and get more involved in different activities and events.

Baby clothes checklist

Let’s take a look at the essentials on our baby clothes checklist – based on a laundry day every other day and accommodating up to 4 changes a day. With the exception of newborn clothes you’ll need at least 16 outfits, per size, to allow for four days and four outfits per day, worth of clean clothes. Of course you may not need to use all of them, but it’s a good way to plan your baby’s first year wardrobe. Four outfits a day has been allowed for because some parents need to change their babies 3 or 4 times a day!

Baby clothes checklist
Baby clothes checklist

Laundry rotation

You can plan your week so you start with a clean set of clothes, that’s 4 outfits, (3 for newborn). An outfit would cover your baby’s top and bottom halves. For example one set could be made up of two sleepsuits, and two bodysuits and two leggings.

  • So lets start the week with (set A) for Monday. Laundry for set A takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday to allow for washing and drying time.
  • You’ll need two more sets (B) and (C) for Tuesday and Wednesday to allow for laundry time for set A.
  • Set A will be clean, dry and ready to wear on Thursday. Sets B and C will be in laundry Thursday and Friday for wash and dry time.
  • A fourth set (D), is needed for Friday.
  • It all repeats again from Saturday with sets A and D in laundry Saturday and Sunday, and baby wearing set B and C.
Baby clothing laundry cycle
Laundry cycle

Use our baby clothes checklist to create your baby’s first year wardrobe. If you want to wash less frequently, then you’ll need more clothes.

Seasonal baby clothes and accessories

Building your baby’s first year wardrobe is made up of clothes needed for each size. The variety increases as your baby gets older. Those 86 items don’t include seasonal clothing like snugsuits and baby jackets or accessories such as hats, mittens, socks, blankets, dribble bibs and muslins! With those added in the you can easily reach over 150 items. Sleep bags sizes are from 0-6 months and 6-18 months, so you’ll probably need two sizes in the first year. They are great for giving your baby a safe place to sleep wherever you are.

The importance of colour in baby clothes

We don’t want our babies to be dressed in the same clothes for a months at a time. So we naturally want rather than need to introduce variety in both styles and colours. Perhaps a cool summer dress or dungarees to style things up. Dungarees are really so versatile and you will create some fabulous outfits by wearing them with fun T-shirts and bodysuits. Babies develop colour vision between 2-4 months, and red is the first primary colour they see. Visual stimulation in the form of different prints and colours can also be a good educator. As your little one grows, naming colours and shapes can help with word association to help their development.

Sustainable shopping

Then of course there are things that you just like the look of. Like an impulse buy, they’re bought without too much thought, and a bit frivolous! You don’t really need these items, but you just like the look of them. The truth is, it is really hard to resist buying new clothes for babies and in reality the number of things you buy can surpass 200 or even 300 item! While it might be fun to buy these items of clothing, bear in mind that they will only be needed for such a short period of time. Once you’ve bought them you need to think about how you’ll discard them. A good way of having all the fun of shopping for baby clothes is to rent them! Guilt free shopping! Be as frivolous as you like. Knowing you can rent and return them when your baby outgrows them.

Renting is no longer seen as something for people who can’t afford to buy their clothes. It is part of a sustainable solution to reduce clothing waste, carbon emissions and water usage. Try out our handy calculator to see your eco savings when you rent your baby clothes.