When most people are preparing for a baby, they think of the “big” things, like baby beds, diaper changing tables, diapers, baby food, baby carriers and plenty of toys for their new child. However, when it comes to clothing, many new parents simply purchase plenty of cute, frilly and colorful baby clothing. Because of this, they are often unprepared when it comes to having all of the necessary and essential clothing for their babies and toddlers. It’s easy to fall into the trap of stocking up on cute and adorable baby outfits—but these outfits, while fun to look at, are not among the essential clothing items for your young child. It’s vital to have a stock of these important baby and toddler clothing items to keep yourself prepared for the need to change clothes, poor weather, and other unpredictable events.

Essential baby clothing needs to be, above everything, functional and practical. While putting your baby in a frilly velvet dress with a row of silver buttons will look adorable for a family holiday card, it is not going to be practical for their everyday wear. Babies will get a combination of spit, slobber, drool, and throw up on their clothing almost every day, so putting your baby in expensive or fussy clothing will make it all the more frustrating when you are going to be frequently changing and washing their baby clothing. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have cute outfits for your baby, but it’s much more practical to save them for holiday parties, photographs or trips to grandma’s house, instead of expecting them to wear them every day.

Practical onesies with snap buttons, baby tee shirts, and skirts or pants which are easy on and off are your best choices when it comes to everyday baby wear. You will need to have enough clothing to provide your child with a clean outfit should they spit up, throw up or otherwise need a change of clothing. As a rule of thumb, you should have about five clean outfits on hand at any one time. Having enough clothing for about five new outfits will make sure that you will always have something to change your baby into, while avoiding the pitfall of buying too many items of clothing and being stuck with drawers full of clothes that won’t fit the baby in several months.

In addition to onesies and basic practical everyday wear, parents should also look into baby shoes, baby boots and baby accessories. Baby shoes should be soft and as natural as possible to allow for the babies feet to grow properly. Dress shoes with hard soles may be fine for a photograph, but the shoes that your baby wears everyday should be as close to being bare foot as possible. Booties, or baby boots, are a great choice for baby shoes, because they provide friction that keeps that baby from slipping and sliding as they learn to walk and crawl, while keeping their feet as close to their natural state as possible.

Essential Baby Clothing Checklist

8 to 10 baby bodysuits/onesies

The baby bodysuit or onesie can be used as a foundational garment to give your baby warmth and comfort, or it can be worn all on its own. A onesie has a snap between the legs, which makes them ideal for everyday wear and diaper changing. really can’t go wrong with a basic onesie for your baby. It is practical, comfortable and one of the most important items in your baby’s wardrobe. Some onesies are even waterproof! Waterproof clothing can be a way to prevent your baby from becoming wet under their clothing, whether it’s from drool, sweat, or rain. You

5 to 7 sets of sleepwear.

Baby sleepwear is just as important as their everyday wear. The type of sleepwear you purchase should be warm enough to keep them comfortable at night and yet practical enough for swift late night diaper changing. Sleepwear for babies comes in a variety of different styles, including two piece outfits with pants and a top, night gowns, onesies and even wearable blankets. Regardless of what type of baby sleepwear you purchase, be sure that the fit is not too loose or too tight — accidental suffocation has been linked to poorly fit sleepwear.

5 to 7 one piece outfits

One piece outfits, worn over a onesie or on their own, are ideal for newborn and young babies. One piece outfits are a cinch to coordinate and easy to slip on and off, making them less of a hassle when it comes to dressing and undressing your baby. There are countless styles and designs of one piece outfits out there, and you will have no trouble at all finding appropriate one piece outfits for your baby.

6 pairs of baby shoes (including baby boots)

Baby boots and baby shoes help keep a baby’s feet warm in cold weather, and provide a layer of protection between the baby’s feet and regular surfaces. Baby shoes and baby boots should be comfortable, well fit, and as close to “bare feet” as possible. Hard baby shoes should be left for photo shoots. Baby booties should be natural and allow for the baby’s feet to develop and grow uninhibited by tight shoes and hard soles.

1 to 2 cardigans or jackets

Babies get cold just like everyone else! Babies actually lose their body temperature faster than grown adults, so they will need to be kept warm on cool days with a jacket or cardigan. Warp cardigans are a simple way to keep your baby warm, and are often made of warm material like wool. Jackets are easier to put on a baby than a full jumper, and they usually have snap buttons which make them easy to put on and easy to take off.

1 to 3 sun hats

A baby’s skin is very sensitive and they need to be protected from the harsh sun whenever possible. Sun hats will protect the sensitive skin on top of your baby’s head, as well as keep their face and eyes from the full brunt of a sunny day.

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