Buying baby clothes is such a fun part of having a baby. There are so many cute baby outfits! However, I encourage you to resist the urge to buy too many baby clothes. First, friends and family love giving clothes so you might receive a lot of clothes as gifts. Secondly, babies grow out of baby clothes really quickly! My boys didn't have a chance to wear all their newborn clothes. Depending on the size of your baby, you may not even need newborn clothes at all or just a few outfits for the first couple of weeks. My boys were always a size ahead (example: at 3 months they were wearing 6-month size clothing and so forth).
You'll want to buy clothing that is soft and comfortable for your baby as your baby will be sleeping most of the time during the first couple of months. Also, consider buying clothes that are easy to put on and take off. You'll be changing a lot of diapers - day and night. The most frustrating thing is when you are half asleep and can't figure out how to snap up your baby's jammies back up after a diaper change! That's why I opted for zippers on most of our onesies.
As far as how many clothes you actually need depends on a couple of different factors. First, it depends on how often you plan to do laundry. It also depends on how often you baby gets their clothes messy. If you have a baby that spits ups or has leaky diapers, you are going to be changing their clothing a lot more often.
Below are my general recommendations for the first couple of months. These are great basics to list on your baby registry or buy before your baby arrives.
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Going Home Outfit
When packing your hospital bag, don't forget a going home outfit for baby. You are going to want a special outfit for baby's first day out in the big world. When picking an outfit, keep in mind the weather, comfort, and ease. I recommend a cute onesie and pants set or a comfy pair of pajamas. I would also recommend taking a second set just in case your first outfit gets dirty.
Here are a couple of ideas:
Onesies & Pants
Bodysuits/Onesies: Consider a pack of 6 to 8 newborn short-sleeve or long-sleeve sets depending on the season. Then 6 to 8 short-sleeve or long-sleeve sets in 0-3 month size. If you know you are having a larger baby (over 9 lbs. then you likely can skip the newborn sizes.
Pants: If it is a warmer season and you don't keep your house too cool, you may not need pants. Otherwise, I would suggest matching pants in the same sizes as the onesies above.
Sleepers & Gowns
Sleepers or Gowns: I suggest starting with 4-7 footed sleepers or gowns. My preference was a mix of both zippered sleepers and gowns. Again, snaps are way too frustrating when you are tired and changing your little one in the middle of the night. Gowns made nighttime diaper changes a lot easier but they are not as warm as footed sleepers.
Socks: I recommend starting with 4-6 pairs of terry bootie socks. They fit snuggly and don't slip off like some other socks I have tried.
Mittens: I recommend 3-4 pairs of mittens to help keep your little one's hands warm and help keep your little one from scratching themselves. Those little fingernails can be pretty sharp!
Hats: Start with 2-3 soft cotton hats, possibly more if it is cooler.
Sun Hat: If you plan to out in the sun, you'll definitely want a sun hat to keep your little one's head protected from the sun.
Slippers & Shoes
Slippers or shoes: Optional but for winter months having a pair of slippers to keep your little one's feet warm is great.
Bunting Sack: Optional as well. I had a bunting sack but never used it. It is not recommended to have your child in a winter coat, snowsuit, bunting sack etc, when in their car seat. Instead of a bunting sack, I purchased a bunting car seat cover which kept my little one warm and out of the elements during the winter.