Choose the Perfect Coming-Home Outfit for Baby

Pregnant woman folding future daughter's clothing
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Selecting the outfit your baby will wear home from the hospital is one of the most fun parts of expecting a baby. Your baby will wear this special outfit when she meets the great, big world and there are sure to be lots of photos.

With all the cute newborn clothes out there, choosing just one adorable outfit may not be easy, though. Here are things to keep in mind to ensure baby's home-coming outfit is comfortable, travels well, and looks great in pictures.

Consider the Season

Infants usually need to wear one additional layer of clothing over what adults would wear, except when it's very hot. Think about what season it will be when baby arrives, and plan the type of outfit accordingly.

If you'll need to be outside in the cold, baby's going-home outfit should also fit easily inside a sweater or thin jacket. You can keep baby warm with extra blankets. You should have a warm hat. If it's hot, a single layer of clothing is fine, but you may still want to buy a coordinating sun hat or shade blanket to protect your baby's skin.

Comfort Is Key

Babies have sensitive skin, so newborn clothes must have soft, breathable fabrics and stretchy arm, leg, and neck openings. If elastic is used to gather the openings, make sure it's not too tight, and that there's a layer of fabric between baby's skin and the elastic, to avoid irritation. Make sure snaps and buttons are attached well and won't scratch.

It's normal to want to dress baby up in something fancy, but remember that overly fussy dress clothes often aren't comfortable, so don't be swayed by ruffles and grown-up details if the clothes aren't also soft and comfy.

Check Sizes Carefully

It's hard to know how big your baby will be at birth, but in general, newborn size is appropriate for coming home from the hospital. Many parents try to buy baby clothes in slightly bigger sizes in hopes that their baby will be able to wear the special clothes for a longer time. This is a great strategy when the baby is a bit older, but for newborns, a few pounds can make a big difference in how clothes fit and look.

Buying a too-big size will likely make your newborn look like she is swimming in her special outfit. Look at the weight ranges on the sizing tags and go by those rather than age ranges. No two brands fit the same, so always check the tag and compare clothing brands in the store to see if it seems to run big or small.

Easy On, Easy Off

Newborn babies have floppy heads and curled-up limbs that are used to being in cramped quarters. Look for head openings that get wider with snaps or buttons. Legs and arm fabric should have enough stretch to work stiff, little limbs through.

And, of course, diaper changes will be necessary, so make sure the outfit has snap openings or easy-to-remove bottoms. Double check that the clothing is machine washable.

Basic for Baby

On babies' tiny bodies, clothes with lots of details and huge adornments tend to look out of place. Simple clothes in solid colors or fairly low-key patterns tend to look best on newborns. These types of outfits also tend to photograph well, so baby will be ready to smile (or snooze) for the cameras on the way home.

Carry a Spare

Babies tend to make messes at the least convenient times. Be sure to have a second outfit ready to go just in case the first one gets soiled. This is also good practice for the next few years.

Traveling Newborn Clothes

If you're driving home from the hospital with your new baby, any special outfits will need to fit in the car seat safely. Very long, ruffly dresses, thick sweaters or jackets, or sleep sack–type outfits that would need to be bunched up in order to buckle up are not a good idea.

It is not safe to have any extra fabric bunched under the car seat harness or behind your baby, and it probably isn't comfortable, either. If it's very cold, consider putting the baby in the car seat and then tucking warm blankets over the top of the harness, or put baby in a thin fleece suit. Never use thick snowsuits or winter coats in a car seat.

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