baby clothes are folded in a pile on the bed with the title how long do babies wear newborn clothes

How Long Do Babies Wear Newborn Clothes?

You’re getting ready for the imminent birth of your baby by purchasing, washing, and sorting all of their adorable miniature clothes. You think you’re prepared but then you ask yourself, how long do babies wear newborn clothes anyways? Here is all the information you’ll need so that you know you have the right size and number of baby clothes ready (and won’t break the bank by loading up on unnecessary items). 

Parents-to-be (as well as generous family and friends) often jump to the incredibly cute newborn pieces as they excitedly wait for the baby’s arrival. Aisles and aisles of adorable outfits just waiting for you to tap the card at the till. 

It’s natural to get excited about imagining a little person fitting into such sweet clothes. But the reality is that they may not be wearing them for long. 

As babies grow at an impressive rate, they’ll likely grow out of that tiny size quite quickly! Unfortunately for you, that may mean you won’t get much of a chance to use all those newborn clothes you have ready in their closet.

Luckily, you’ve stumbled across this blog and will have all the answers to prepare your little one’s wardrobe properly. Let’s jump in!

How Long Do Babies Wear Newborn Clothes? What You Can Expect

Generally speaking, babies wear newborn clothes for up to six weeks. However many other factors go into how long your baby may be wearing the newborn size that you need to consider before stocking up on six weeks of NB clothes. 

The size of your baby at birth, the baby’s growth rate, and the brand of baby clothes all influence the amount of time your newborn can wear that one size. Sounds like a lot, so let’s break it down. 

It Depends on the Size of Your Baby

A baby that’s born full term (37-40 weeks) will weigh 5 lb 8 oz to 8 lb 13 oz. on average (or 2.5 to 4 kg)

That’s quite a wide range of birth weight for little babies! This also means that giving a concrete answer as to how long your baby may wear newborn clothes is a nearly impossible task. 

Given that many clothing brands’ newborn size goes up to 8 lbs, the amount your baby is under or over this weight at birth will influence how long they’ll fit the size.

baby lays on scale in just a diaper

If your baby is born under 8lbs, you can expect for them to wear them up to four or six weeks before moving into the next size. If your baby was born weighing over 8lbs, they’ll maybe have a week or two in newborn sizes, if any at all. You may need to jump to 0-3 month clothes right away. 

Weight is not the only measurement that may determine whether the newborn size will work for your newborn. The length of your baby may have a significant impact on whether that sweet footie pajama fits your baby or not. The longer the baby, the less time they’ll be fitting into the newborn items.

Even with those birth sizes in mind, there are more factors to take into consideration when planning how long they may need newborn sizes.

It Depends on Your Baby’s Growth Rate

A baby’s growth rate is the fastest within their first 6 months. Medical News Today explains that “Although this can vary, babies tend to gain around 4–7 oz, or 113–200 grams (g), per week in the first 4–6 months.”

Once again we’re faced with a wide span of what falls into the average measurements. So if your baby gains 113g per week in the first month, they may remain in newborn clothes for longer than others in their cohort who are gaining at nearly double that.

Even with birth size and growth rate out of the way, there’s one final thing you should take into account when thinking about how long babies wear newborn clothes.

It Depends on the Brand of Baby Clothes

Many of us are well aware of how different the same size of adult clothes can fit or measure across independent brands, and baby items are no exception to this. You could shop around at five different stores and you may come out with five different weight or height measurements for each piece of newborn clothing.

To give you an idea, here’s a list of newborn sizing from the 10 best baby and clothing brands of 2022 according to Babylist.

BrandSizeMax Weight, Height
Carter’sNB6-9lbs, 18-21.5”
PrimaryNBUp to 7lbs, up to 17”
Burt’s Bees BabyNB6-9lbs, up to 21.5”
Cat & JackNB6-8lbs, 18-20”
Goumi KidsNB5-8lbs, 17-19”
Kickee PantsNB7-10lbs, up to 18”
Old NavyNBUp to 7lbs, up to 18”
Lou Lou Lollipop0-3M (*NB Not Available*)7-12lbs, 19-23”
H&MNB11lbs, 22”
Hanna AnderssonNBUp to 8lbs, up to 19”

As you can see, ten popular baby brands’ newborn sizes range from 5-12lbs and 17-22” on the charts. How can you have a solid frame of reference when shopping for your baby when different shops cover such a vast range of baby sizes?

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop at different stores. It just makes a little more work for you. You may have to sort through the actual clothing items rather than trusting the size name on the tag. 

One trick when sorting baby clothes is to ignore the size label. Simply lay them down in order to group the clothing based on length. Gather similar-length items together so that they’re ready for your baby to wear when the previous length is getting too tight.  

How Many Newborn Clothes Do You Need?

All of this sizing talk may leave even the most experienced shopper baffled. But what do we really want to know? Possibly more than “how long do babies wear newborn clothes”? It’s “how many newborn clothes do I need for my baby?”.

It may be hard to believe but in reality, you’ll probably need, and use, even less than you think.

If you’re not planning on doing daily loads of laundry, I’d recommend getting 14 pajamas or sleepers and 7 other outfits (onesies and footed pants) in the newborn size. 

This means you’ll have enough to double up each day on the sleepers if needed (your baby spits up or has a diaper leak) and a cute outfit for several outings or family/friend visits each week. 

You may need to change your baby fairly frequently or at least daily (read more about that here).

With this guide, you’re looking at a manageable 1-2 loads of baby laundry per week yet you’re not completely loading up on too many newborn-sized items. Of course if you’re willing to do laundry more frequently (every few days) then you could probably get away with only half of the recommended amount (so 7 sleepers and 3-4 other outfits).

Depending on the size of your baby, there’s a good chance they’ll only get to wear each newborn item a handful of times before they’ve outgrown them. 

sleeping infant lays next to folded baby clothes on a bed

In the first couple weeks, I mostly dressed my newborns in sleepers as I found that seemed to be the most comfortable option for them and convenient for me with all the frequent diaper changes as well. 

The cute outfits I thought I’d want my baby to wear mostly sat in the drawers waiting for the “right opportunity”. And before I knew it they were already in the 0-3 month size. 

If you end up having a smaller baby, you can always pick up a few additional newborn items when the baby is a few weeks old if you think they’ll be in the newborn size for several weeks longer. 

Don’t forget about weather-appropriate items, such as hats or a baby bunting, if it’s going to be cold where you live.

What Else to Know When Buying Clothes for Your Newborn

Focus more of your baby’s wardrobe purchases on the 0-3 month or 3-6 month sizes. They will probably get more use out of these pieces. 

Some of the items can probably be used even when they’re a smidge too big as you can roll up the sleeves or waistband, as long as they don’t pose any safety risk to the baby. (You don’t want anything so big that the fabric can pull up over the baby’s face.)

Also, don’t feel like you need to get the items that are on trend this season. Opt for basics that you can mix and match or dress your baby in for any occasion.

Head over to the clearance section and get your newborn clothes super cheap! You can find some great deals this way. Or buying clothes second-hand is also a great (and wallet-friendly) option.

Don’t forget that newborn-sized clothes make popular gifts as well. So try to resist the temptation of loading up before you’ve even made it to the third trimester. 

Final Thoughts

So how long do babies wear newborn clothes? Well, I can’t answer that specifically for your new arrival. But you can probably assume it’ll be under six weeks, unless you have a very small baby. 

Yes, it’s true that pretty much all newborn clothes are adorable when you see them in the store but before you load up keep in mind that your baby may not be able to wear them for long (if at all). Between birth weight, birth height, growth rate, and brand-specific measurements, there is a lot that will factor into how much use your little one will get out of each size. 

Looking for more advice on newborn clothes? Check out Snaps or Zippers for Baby Clothes? 12 Helpful Tips for Dressing Your Newborn and How Often Should You Change Newborn Clothes? for lots of relevant information.

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