Most conventional weekly pregnancy updates contain a to-do list telling the expectant parents to buy this or that each week. New parents hope to have a baby shower to help curtail the costs of the expensive and expansive baby gear. By the time the baby is born, s/he already has more belongings than the average medieval king.
This is my third go at it. At first we wanted two children, so I felt generous in gifting away my baby gear to friends and family with more urgent need. What these two factors mean is that I’m starting from scratch with a whole lot more parenting wisdom than I once had.
Special Considerations for This Age Group (0-3 months)
- A young baby does a lot of sleeping with few transition times, so clothing should be comfortable to sleep in. No one wants to wake up baby to put PJs on.
- Unless you’re very lucky in hand-me-downs (or a shop-a-holic), you will probably never need to “cull” a baby’s wardrobe (that is, outside of the transitions between sizes). This is because they grow out of sizes or damage their clothes so fast that the collection is pretty self-limiting.
- Ease of nighttime changing should be a real priority. Waking up to feed and change a baby is exhausting enough without dealing with finicky clothing.
- Footies are especially helpful as babies, with no control of their limbs, still manage to kick off shoes and socks which are much too difficult to put on those tiny, delicate limbs in the first place.
- Hats and mittens for indoor use aren’t mere accessories. Many young babies have long sharp fingernails and can easily gouge their faces. They also often have bald heads which lead to heat loss.
My List of Essentials
- 1 outdoor car seat / travel suit. These preferably have built in hand and feet coverings, a hood and a crotch so that you can fasten a car seat whilst the baby is snug inside. This is especially essential for winter babies.
- 3 pair of indoor mittens. Light weight to prevent scratching. Baby socks can substitute for these.
- 3 indoor hats. To keep that big bald head warm. They don’t tend to get really dirty and can be reused between washes.
- 7-10 onesies. These are those typically white body suits that snap together over the diaper and are usually used as an infant undergarment. Short-sleeved lasts longer, but if you intend to use them as actual shirts, long sleeves are great for winter babies or kids with eczema.
- 7-11 sleep and play body suits. I prefer ones that zip and have feet attached. I usually like to have about 7 thinner ones and 3-4 warmer/thicker ones for very cool days or for night wear.
That’s it! I know it probably seems like a small number of items, but babies don’t do a whole lot except for growing.
This is a great base to have, but you’ll probably get gifts from family and friends to supplement these items and to change things up. There certainly are so many cute outfits that you may get (and not want to use on a regular basis due to finicky parts). Pieces with sweaters and pants and buttons in weird locations.
All About Sizes
For the uninitiated, baby sizes are really confusing. For the first year, a baby could go through as many as 6 sizes (preemie, newborn, 0-3 month, 3-6 month, 6-9 month, 9-12 month). Thankfully, this speed of growth slows down after all that! Some garments will be marked with a single month (6 month, 9 month and 12 months are common) and some garments, such as outdoor suits and sleep sacks, are designed to hit a large range of sizes (example: 0-9 months).
Like the Pirate’s Code, sizes are more like “guidelines”, though. Different companies may use a different scale and a kid could be stuffed into the same clothing item for a large span of time, especially when short sleeves are used.
My babies have historically been on the large side of things. For this reason, I consider 0-3 to be the perfect first size for my family. This is where I invest in my first capsule wardrobe.
Even though I don’t choose to work a complete newborn-sized capsule, I do keep clothes of this size on hand for the brief time my kids fit into them. I usually have a few outfits (4-8) tucked away in the drawer and hospital bag.
When asked which sizes I want from friends and family, I usually ask for size 6 month and up. The reason being is that enthusiasm over a baby wanes and once kids start eating solids (usually around 6 months), hand-me-downs and stocks in used clothing stores dwindle due to so many garments being ruined by babies past.
In the past, I tried to get my first sizes (newborn and 0-3 month) in gender neutral prints so that if there is a surprise in the delivery room, I wasn’t unprepared. It was also more economical and eco-friendly as I was planning for multiple kids.
As this is our last kid, and we’re pretty sure that we’re having a girl, I didn’t stick as much to my rules about gender neutrality as I did for my older kids. I’ve decided to live up having a little girl to clothe.
Additional Items We Chose to Have:
Above, I gave my absolute essential items. However, I’ve included a few additional items in my own baby’s capsule that may be useful or inspirational for other parents.
- 4 pairs of white fluffy socks (These could be used as extra scratch mittens or to keep little toes warm in the few footless outfits we have.)
- 4 head bands (This is baby girl specific)
- 4 pairs of plain pants (Shirts frequently come with prints so this eases putting outfits together)
- 4 long-sleeved onesies for outfits (I skip out on regular shirts that don’t snap in the crotch because they tend to ride up and expose baby bellies to the cold.)
- 1 sweater
- 5 “special” outfits (For upcoming holidays, pictures, costumes, etc. I have a Halloween costume, two cute body suits, and two jeans dresses that I couldn’t resist.)
I hope this knowledge from one parent to another is valuable and may your own little minimalist be comfortable and happy.
Happy Parenting With Mother Earth in Mind!