How to Build a Layette for a New Baby.

By: Jen Shoop

Mini’s newborn wardrobe was a mess — completely impractical. I had about fifteen little dresses and bubbles requiring hours of ironing, a smattering of pajamas and onesies in a range of random sizes, and four thousand pairs of socks. I learned on the fly and was much better prepared when micro came along. I include this preface because I wish I’d had a guide to building a layette before bearing children and many of you have (wisely) reached out to ask for advice along these lines. Below, sharing my guide to stocking up for a new baby.

A note on sizing: I’d buy maybe one or two items in each category below in a newborn size and the rest in size 0-3 months. Neither of my babies have worn NB size for longer than two weeks and could “fit” into 0-3 month clothing from birth (though they were a bit baggy) — though the sizing of children’s brands is all over the map so it’s a bit of a gamble anyway. If your baby comes early or is on the small side, you can always quickly supplement once she is here with additional NB-sized clothing, but they’ll grow into the 0-3 size regardless!

7 Pairs of Pajamas. One for every night of the week. Of course you’ll do laundry more frequently than weekly (ha), but you’d be amazed at how creative babies can be with wardrobe change demands. (I once had to completely change micro’s pajamas, sleepsack, and bassinet sheet three times in one night.) . Bonus points for convertible gowns. I was BIG into those with micro — makes nighttime changes so much easier.

My personal favorite brands for infant pajamas: Roller Rabbit, Kissy Kissy, Beaufort Bonnet (runs really small — specifically, narrow), 1212, Livly Baby, Hanna Andersson, Gap, Sal e Pimenta, Little English, Primary.

If I were buying pajamas for a baby girl right now, I’d consider: TBBC’s darling gift print; Kissy Kissy rosebud print footie; Roller Rabbit lovebug; 1212 ice cream cones; Little English’s timeless bow crochet playsuit.

If I were buying pajamas for a baby boy right now, I’d consider: TBBC Sir Proper Stork (Hill wore this while in the hospital — swoooon); Livly Baby bunny print; Primary star print (Hill currently owns a pair); Kissy Kissy dots; Roller Rabbit chicks.

5 onesies. I am sure others will say you need more but I personally only used onesies/leggings as “interim” outfits, i.e., I usually had my newborns in playsuits/footies during the day and then jammies at night. I like 1212, Kissy Kissy, Moon&Back, and H&M — and I’d buy most of them in white or solids so they are ultra-versatile, though I’m not adverse to a print now and then (I wouldn’t be able to turn this down for a girl, and I had a couple of truly excellent striped ones from Polarn O Pyret), so long as you think through what it might go with (I’ve definitely run into the issue of buying the cutest print ever and then having nothing to pair it with). And I always had at least one or two Peter Pan collar ones from Kissy Kissy in each infant size. These are so versatile — they can go under overalls or a sweater for a more formal look!

3 leggings. See note above on onesies; I’m sure others would buy many more in this category. I like the ones from Moon & Back, H&M, Polarn O Pyret, 1212, and Old Navy (for boys). I tend to buy solid colored ones because they are more versatile, but if you buy a print, just make sure they coordinate with at least one onesie.

5 “play” outfits. I preferred coveralls to onesies/leggings for daytime outfits for both babies. They seemed more comfortable, less fussy to coordinate, and a little gentler before baby’s umbilical cord comes off — and I just preferred the look for some reason. I love these striped playsuits from Kissy Kissy; the Little English pima playsuits; coveralls from Ralph Lauren, especially this, this, and this (look for less); overalls from Osh Kosh; Polarn O Pyret suits (run big); and La Coqueta knitwear .

3 “fancy” outfits. (Dial up or down depending on your social calendar.) I liked to have at least two really special outfits for special visitors and special occasions. I love LaCoqueta, Beaufort Bonnet Company, Pixie Lily, Foque, Luli and Me, Jacadi, and Bella Bliss.

A pram coat. Even if the baby’s born in summer, you’ll have need for an extra layer from time to time. I like something like this or this for boys and this was one of my all-time favorite items on mini.

Cardigan. White goes with everything. I will admit to buying a few cashmere cardigans for my children in various sizes…so impractical but so sweet.

A coming-home outfit. I brought mini home in a pink bunny print Kissy Kissy footie and micro home in a gray and white elephant print set from Livly Baby. I also love the elegant styles from Pixie Lily and all of the knitwear from LaCoqueta (though you probably want a one-piece).

8 pairs socks. I like Jefferies Socks in white or H&M ones in white (impressed with the quality of these) — no need to worry about matching the right pairs.

2-3 Caps. I was big into these for micro at night — he slept better when bundled with socks and hat, a onesie and a pair of pajamas underneath his swaddle. You can often find ones that coordinate with pajamas/coveralls, but I also had a few solid colored ones that went with everything, including one from Kissy Kissy and one from RL.

2 pairs of booties. Honestly, these have always been more decorative than functional since they usually fall off in a Manhattan second, but sometimes you need an extra layer when it’s cold out or you’re with company. I like the knit ones from La Coqueta or these from RL. The only ones that ever stayed on mini were these fleece ones from Zutano, which are more casual. I’d buy a special pair and the fleece ones, which you can just toss in the laundry.

1 pair dress shoes. For special occasions! I loved Elephantito and La Coqueta for girls and Paz Rodriguez for boys.

1 cold weather suit (season depending). I love this from Livly (Hill had this — weep!) or this from Gap.

2 sweaters (season depending). I love the beyond precious styles from Foque and Mebi, which I often pair with a simple pair of leggings or jeans for a fun daytime outfit.

1 pair jeans. You can’t not see your baby in a pair of itty bitty jeans. I’d buy from Gap, Zara, or H&M.

I overbought and underbought in all the wrong categories as a first-timer — definitely learned my lesson later! Now I have more of a capsule approach to buying clothing for my children.

P.S. More on my favorite sleepwear for children and my favorite traditional shoe sources for children.

P.P.S. My registry and what’s in my diaper bag.

P.P.P.S. What surprised me about having a c-section.

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10 thoughts on “How to Build a Layette for a New Baby.

  1. Is there anything more heart-meltingly adorable than itty-bitty baby clothes? (second to the baby, of course!)

    I’d have to agree with what Leah wrote — we truly didn’t need much variety the first 3 months. We survived on hand-me-down zip-up footies for the most part. My daughter has always been quite intense with her likes and dislikes and made it abundantly clear early on that she couldn’t tolerate the fancy clothes! I had asked my mother for a few smocked dresses similar to what I wore as a child but she maybe only wore those 1-2 times max (and only when she was a bit older, around 5-6 months). Kimono-style onesies also came in handy as I always felt their little heads were so delicate and the kimono style was easier to put on than the ones that go over the head. She also seemed to be always hot despite being born in late November, so we didn’t use outerwear — only a blanket for the car seat (and to this day, at 2 years old, she continues to fight me on the jacket!). So we really only used the basics: zip-up footies with the fold-over cuffs, sleep sacks, kimono onesies, bonnets, and a blanket (and also we didn’t need the heavy outerwear with the relatively milder winters in the Bay Area). I’d say it would help to learn the baby’s temperament/personality first rather than having too many items (which they outgrow so quickly at this stage anyway), and Amazon Prime as needed! Looking back, I’m glad we didn’t buy too much for that stage.

    1. So many good points here! I had forgotten about those kimono-style onesies (and my son is only seven months…) — those are so great for when they are teeny tiny. Thanks for weighing in!!

  2. Ah, this is great! I have yet to pull out the bins of newborn clothes ahead of baby #2’s arrival in approximately 50 days…but I know I need more sleepers and coveralls. I almost bought a kissy kissy footie for the coming home outfit but paused when I saw Nordstrom’s note that they run small. Do you agree? Not sure if I should order the NB size or not. Also debating whether I need a winter suit for a baby arriving late February, knowing she’ll spend most of her outdoor time in a car seat with a cover on it. At least I have some time to decide, and amazon prime if I need a last-minute item 🙂

    P.S. I made the Daniel Boulud carrots for Christmas dinner and they were a hit! Thanks for the rec.

    1. Hi Stephanie – I agree with Nordstrom. I found that Kissy Kissy does run a size small, but they are super soft and wash well. My son is on the small side and wore a Kissy Kissy NB outfit to come home, and it fit him for maybe a month. Hope that helps your decision!

    2. Thanks, Sarah! That does help. My first daughter was 7lb, so if this baby is similar sounds like the NB size will work.

    3. Hi Stephanie! Sorry this reply is so so late. I do think Kissy Kissy runs on the short side BUT they aren’t as narrow as some of the other brands (thinking of TBBC specifically) and I like that about them, especially when the baby’s umbilical cord is still on / you want some room in there. Anyway, I think you’d be safe buying a NB size for a take-home outfit. Hill was 7 lbs and wore his NB Kissy Kissy for maybe 2-3 weeks? And I loved him in them. So so so soft and precious.

      On the winter suit front, I would honestly say you should get one. I have gotten a lot of mileage out of a sherpa coverall and a heavier duty Polarn O Pyret snowsuit because I carry Hill SO often in a carrier. I also put them on him when he’s in his stroller. Then again, my life is pedestrian so I walk with him EVERYWHERE and he’s exposed to the elements more than he would be if we lived somewhere with a car. Anyway, I would encourage the purchase of one of those Gap ones when they are 40% off (I feel like they run those promos every day)! If you don’t end up using it, it makes a GREAT gift for any baby so you could just hang onto it and give to another winter baby 🙂

      AND. So glad (!!) you liked those carrots! Delicious!!!


  3. Just want to add a comment for moms-to-be who may be reading this and may have a less impressive social calendar than yours – my baby was born in the summer and truly needed nothing besides pajamas, onesies, leggings, and socks for months. She didn’t wear anything remotely fancy for a long time. We didn’t have a ton of visitors and I can’t imagine the ones we did have had negative impressions because a baby a few months old was wearing pajamas or a onesie. We also used blankets instead of sweaters when needed. My advice would be to just buy, as you said, 7 sets of pajamas and 7-10 sets of onesies/leggings for a warm weather baby, and then add in winter clothes as needed for a cold weather baby. Save the money for when they do more than eat, sleep, and spit up. Just my two cents!

    1. Hi Leah! Absolutely — definitely dial up or down depending on your schedule and inclination! I think we’re aligned on the number of outfits needed. You go through a lot of clothes with little ones but you don’t need *so* many duplicates because they grow so quickly.

      Thanks for weighing in!! xx

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