As a new mom, I found baby clothes so confusing! What style and sizes should I get? How long will they last? How many should I get? I also didn’t have many baby clothes hacks up my sleeve yet… no, I was starting from scratch.
Now that I’m a soon to be second time mom, I’ve got some tricks to share that will:
- make life with a newborn so much easier
- help you make the most out of your baby’s clothes so you get your money’s worth, and,
- so your baby’s clothes will last longer and you won’t have to spend so much money.
The first place to start is with considerations you NEED to have in mind when buying your baby’s clothes in the first place. There’s so much you can do up front to make life easier…
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Baby Clothes Buying Hacks
These hacks have one thing in common: take them into account in the beginning (before you buy baby’s clothes) and you’ll have a MUCH easier time of it!
Why Do Baby Onesies Have An Envelope Neckline Anyway?
You might think this is just to make it easier to get over baby’s head – that’s a good point, but it’s not the whole story!
The envelope neckline also serves another purpose: when faced with a poo-splosion of epic proportions you DON’T have to try get the soiled onesie up over your little one’s head, you can stretch out the envelope neckline and pull that sucker down.
Zippy Sleepers Make Night Time Changes Easier
As a new mom, I just thought that baby clothes had snaps – it was pretty much all I was exposed to… and then I discovered zips.
Wow! Mind = blown.
They are a gazillion times easier to use.
The number of times I change my baby late at night, trying to concentrate on which tiny little snap attaches to which other snap, and yet STILL got it wrong was insane. It didn’t help either that some different brands arrange the snaps slightly differently… one time I ended up turning a footed sleeper into a dress (don’t ask me how!)
Zips take all the pain out of the equation. Zip goes down, zip goes up. Simple. Functional. It’s a beautiful thing at 3am when you just want to get back to sleep.
Kimono Style Newborn Baby Clothes
One thing no one tells you about before your baby is born is that newborns hate having things pulled over their heads… Which can make getting them dressed a bit challenging.
Kimono style onesies, body suits, and rompers are excellent for newborns, as are most sleepers.
Some over-the-head style clothing is unavoidable, however, look for stretchy envelope style necklines or ones that have a snap or button to allow you to unsnap to pass the neckline over baby’s head and then snap it back nice and snug.
Keep receipts for clothes in larger sizes (and don’t wash them until ready to wear)
I know you’ll probably want to get prepared and buy, wash and organize baby’s clothes for the first year or so… it’s a nesting thing!
But, don’t do it!
You don’t know how fast baby will grow and whether something will fit during the right season. If you can, the best choice is to wait to buy larger sizes of clothing until your baby needs them… but that’s not always feasible.
Keep your receipts, keep the tags on (no washing!) and you’ll hopefully be able to return any items that are too small for the season and exchange for something that fits.
Unisex Baby Clothes Have Better Re-Use Potential
I love unisex clothes for babies. There’s nothing cuter than white on a brand new baby… or monochrome… or even soft gender neutral colors. In fact, I much prefer it to the hot pink or bright blue staples of girls and boys wardrobes.
But, unisex baby clothes are also great for another reason: you’ll get way more use out of them for second (or more) babies. I know the temptation is there to go out and build a wardrobe fit for a princess for your little girl, complete with tutus and cute cardigans and hair bows for all occasions. But, if your next baby is a boy you probably won’t get that much use out of those items… whereas practical, quality basics in neutral colors can be used again and again no matter what gender your baby is.
Two Reasons to Get Onesies Over T-Shirts or Vests
Things you never realised before about dressing a baby #279: baby vests, under-shirts and t-shirts ride up, every single time you pick them up. Not what we’re aiming for, especially in cold weather.
The solution: onesies that snap in the crotch.
They come in multiple styles – sleeveless, short sleeves, long sleeves – so you’ll easily be able to find the right option for the weather and know that your baby is going to stay nice and warm.
As an added bonus, it can even stop older babies taking off their nappy!
Things you never realised before about dressing a baby #280:
Onesies and sleepers are the best choice for the newborn days as your baby’s umbilical stump is still healing. Waistbands tend to sit right on it and can rub, which is why I really don’t recommend pants + shirt combo outfits until the umbilical area is fully healed.
Footless PJ’S (Or Sleepers) Will Last Longer
It’s nice to have footed pj’s to keep your little one’s feet toasty warm… but it does make the length of time they can use that size dependent on the length of their legs…
You can get around this with footless pj’s (just add socks).
Alternatively, my favorite type of sleepers are these zippys that have fold over cuffs on the feet and hands. You can fold over the feet to make it ‘footed’ for a smaller baby then unfold them once baby grows further. Brilliant!
Alternatively, alternatively, you could just cut the feet off if you aren’t going to use the sleeper again.
Buy Clothes You Can Re-Use at Different Sizes
Think dress to top, long leggings to capris, long shorts to normal shorts.
It’s often in length that babies tend to grow in big spurts and their width takes a little while to catch up. Buying clothes you can resuse as a different style can help you save money and make them last.
Baby Clothes Hacks for Older Babies (Who Like to Take Their Diapers Off)
Once baby gets a bit older and more mobile, they start to learn how to do all kinds of interesting things… like taking off their diapers. Some babies really get into this phase and it is a real struggle to get them to leave the diaper on.
Here are some hacks that help keep baby’s diaper ON:
Put Sleepers and PJ’s on Backwards
While it may be something to marvel about at first – your baby is so dexterous he can take off his own clothes! – it gets old fast. Putting your baby’s sleeper or PJ’s on backwards can help stop them taking off their clothes / diapers because they won’t be able to reach the zip or snaps.
Use Onesies Under Clothes
Sometimes a simple onesie under your little one’s clothes can stop them from escaping from their diaper. It’s worth a try!
Duct tape, safety pins and more
Some babies really, really don’t want to wear their diapers and are veritable Houdinis when it comes to escaping them… for those babies, you can try the above tips in combination with one or more of these:
- use duct tape to secure the diaper around the waist.
- use duct tape or a (safe) safety pin to keep onesies closed.
- using a safety pin to secure the zip on a zippy sleeper.
- put the diaper on backwards.
- put pants on underneath a onesie.
Hacks to Make Baby Clothes Last Longer
The worst part about buying a wardrobe for your baby is that it’s hard to know exactly what size your baby will need at any given season. Babies grow at their own rates, and start from different points. One baby might start in premmie size while another baby might skip newborn and go straight to 0-3 months!
So, how do you make sure you get your money’s worth out of your baby’s clothes and how can you make them last longer?
Socks without heels
Ok, this was a new one on me, but did you know you can buy some baby socks that are just tubes? No heels?
This is awesome! They’ll last so much longer because you don’t have to worry about the baby’s foot growing past the heel – your baby can wear the tube sock until it literally won’t stay on anymore.
Snap Extenders Extend the Life of Your Onesies
Onesies are kinda like underpants for babies… you need them under everything.
Unfortunately, some babies are very tall through the torso (or grow quite quickly in length) and, even though the shoulders fit perfectly, the onesie no longer does…
Luckily, there’s a really simple solution for that:
These little strips of material lengthen your onesies – snap them between your onesies original set of crotch snaps and voila! You get a bit more length and room to grow which can extend the life of your onesies by weeks if not months.
Keep The Pants
Did you know that once your baby is out of diapers, they’ll likely drop down a size or two in the pants department? Yep – all those pants in smaller sizes can now be used again and will save you the hassle of buying more.
This is also why you’ll sometimes come across styles of pants that just don’t work with a diaper (I’m thinking formal pants with a button and small amount of elastic at the back) – these pants might actually be intended for potty trained toddlers, not diaper wearing babies! If you come across some pants that you can’t stand putting on your baby with a diaper, keep them, just in case they turn useful once potty trained.
Laundry Hacks to Make Baby Clothes Last Longer
Is there anything you can do to help your baby’s clothes last longer? There sure is!
Keep it Together With A Mesh Laundry Bag
Mittens and baby socks tend to go missing with alarming frequency… they’re so tiny it’s like the washing machine just eats them.
To avoid this, keep a mesh laundry bag in your baby’s laundry hamper and put worn socks and mittens directly into the mesh bag. This will save you time and money from buying an endless amount of baby socks and mittens!
Stain remover and Spot cleaning
Baby clothes tends to take a lot of punishment in the spills department – spit up, blow outs, drool, not to mention baby food once your little one starts on solids. Many of my baby clothes were retired due to stains, rather than normal ageing or getting damaged.
Preventing stains can help you get more life out of those clothes. Keep a stain remover stick in your diaper bag so you can treat stains immediately and make sure you follow up with a proper wash as soon as possible.
Fasten bibs before washing them
Bibs with velcro are a must have baby item for the teething baby. But, if you let that velcro loose in your washing machine, it can cause havoc. Velcro can attach to and damage delicate items or fill up with fluff and stray threads. Yuck.
There’s an easy fix for this though – just make sure you fasten the bib before putting it through the wash. Simple!
Kids Clothing Hacks for Sewers and Craftsters
Are you a crafty mama? Have some small skill with a sewing machine? If so, you have a whole range of tricks up your sleeve to make your baby’s clothes last longer.
Here’s what I mean:
Lengthen Skirts or Dresses
If your little one’s favorite skirt or dress is getting a little short, you can grab a long strip of complementary fabric and add it to the hemline to increase the length. You could even add cuffs to pants or sleeves.
Let out the hems
You can also let out the hems of skirts, dresses, shirts, and pants to gain a little bit more length.
Velcro For Faster Diaper Changes
Let’s be honest, snaps are super annoying. If you’re even slightly crafty, why not swap them out for a strip of velcro? It’ll make diaper changes insanely fast.
You don’t need much skill to do this… just grab some velcro, a needle and thread and sew that velcro across the snaps.
Convert Onesies Into T-Shirts
Once your little one grows too tall for his or her onesies, why not give them a new lease on life? You can snip the crotch part off and hem straight across to create a cute t-shirt that will fit for much longer.
More Reading on Baby Clothes
- Baby Clothes: Everything a First Time Mom Needs to Know [Ultimate Guide]
- Hanging Baby Clothes vs Folding? These Genius Tips Will Help You Decide!
- 19 Brilliant Baby Clothes Organizer Ideas
- Unisex Newborn Baby Clothes – Why You Should Go Unisex (Even If You Know the Gender!)
- Where to Buy Cheap Baby Clothes: 6 Places to Get Cheap (or Free!) Newborn Clothes
- Cute Clothes for Baby: Inspo & Options for Boys, Girls, & Team Green
- Free Printable Nursery Closet Dividers – Preemie Baby to 24 Months