How to dress a newborn baby - Start for Life (2024)

Newborn's do not need a huge variety of outfits during the first few weeks. See our list of what your baby needs.

When dressing your baby, it's really important to keep them comfortable – not too hot and not too cold.

How to dress your newborn in summer

During the day

Babies less than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight, so try to stay in the shade as much as possible. Their skin contains too little melanin to give any protection from the sun so they should not be exposed at all.

Generally, when it's hot, a single layer is enough – lightweight cotton is best as it's breathable.

When you're out and about, make sure your baby has a wide brim hat on to keep the sun off their face.

The pram should have a clip-on parasol or sunshade. Never cover the pram with muslin or blanket as your baby can overheat.

At night

Keep nightwear and bedclothes to a minimum. A vest or just a nappy is fine on the warmest nights.

If your babykicks or pushes off thecovers duringthe night, just leave their nappy on and have a single, well-secured sheet. Make sure the sheet is secure enough so it cannot cover their face, or get entangled during the night.

Read this guide to hot weather with a newborn.

Sudden infant death syndrome

The Lullaby Trust website says the chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is higher in babies who get too hot.

How to dress your newborn in winter

During the day

A good rule of thumb is to give your baby 1 extra layer of clothing than what you're wearing.

For example, if you're in a t-shirt and jumper, dress them in a vest, sleepsuit and cardigan or jumper. If you feel chilly, your baby probably does too.

Always remove hats and extra clothing as soon as you're indoors or get into a warm car, bus or train – even if it means waking your baby.

At night

It can be tempting to wrap your baby up to keep them warm. However, we know that overheating a baby increases the chances of SIDS (also known as cot death). Research shows babies are better to be cooler than too hot.

A sleepsuit and either a sleeping bag (check the manufacturer's recommendation for winter tog thickness) or a sheet and/or blanket should be fine.

If you're using a sleeping bag and feel like your baby is cold, add an extra layer of clothing – but not extra blankets.

If you're using sheets and/or blankets, use lightweight cellular blankets. Avoid thick, fleecy or padded blankets.

Read more about safer sleep in winter and top tips to keep your baby warm in winter.

Temperature regulation

Small babies are not very good at regulating their own temperature. They can overheat because of too much clothing or bedding, or because the room is too hot.

How will I know if my baby is too hot?

If your baby is sweating or their tummy feels hot to the touch, take off some of their clothing or bedding.

Don't worry if your baby's hands or feet feel cool. This is normal.

It's easier to adjust for the temperature with changes of lightweight blankets. Remember, a folded blanket counts as 2 blankets.

Safe room temperature

A room temperature of 16 to 20C is comfortable and safe for sleeping babies. Your baby just needs light bedding or a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleep bag.

If it is very warm, your baby may not need any bedclothes other than a sheet.

Even in winter, most babies who are unwell or feverish do not need extra clothes.

Babies should:

  • never sleep with a hot water bottle or electric blanket
  • never sleep next to a radiator, heater or fire
  • never sleep in direct sunshine

Watch the Lullaby Trust's baby temperature video.

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How to dress a newborn baby - Start for Life (1)
How to dress a newborn baby - Start for Life (2024)


How to dress a newborn baby - Start for Life? ›

During the day

What should I first wear for new born baby? ›

Bodysuits or rompers are one of the most important items of clothing for the baby's first wear . These soft cotton garments are comfortable, easy to put on, and perfect for keeping baby warm and protected.

What should a newborns first outfit be? ›

Choosing newborn clothes: soft, comfortable and easy care

Clothes should be comfortable, soft and easy to take care of. Stretchy jumpsuits that fasten at the front are best, as well as tops with envelope necks, which are easier to get over your baby's head.

What do babies wear in the beginning? ›

Start with the onesie or wrap shirt

Think of these bodysuits as ideal base layers for newborns. “The main benefit is that they'll stay in place and keep your baby's back and tummy from being exposed,” says Suzanne Price, founder of children's clothing retailer Sprout.

How many onesies does a newborn need? ›

We generally include 8-10 onesies for the newborn and early months sizes. We always include at least some long sleeve onesies in our sets for skin protection from the sun. Many new parents like to use kimono bodysuits for the first few weeks.

How many outfits does a newborn need? ›

In this case, “outfit” means shirt/onesie, pants, and a pair of socks. 0 – 3 month – Plan on two outfits and a sleeper each day, but don't overbuy in this range as your child will grow quickly. 3 – 6 month – Plan on one to two outfits a day plus a sleeper. You may also need bibs for drooling.

How many outfits a day does a newborn go through? ›

It's good to always have around 3-4 outfits every day to make sure your newborn baby is comfortable and protected in their clothes. If you're looking for quality newborn baby clothes, check out our huge range at Bespoke Baby now!

What should a baby wear to leave the hospital? ›

Comfort. As most babies are likely just going right into an infant car seat, comfort is important too, so simple is best. Skip outfits with intricate embroidery or lace, in favor of soft cotton basics that won't irritate sensitive newborn skin. Easy on-off.

How to know if baby is cold at night? ›

If your baby is too cold at night, the core of their body (chest, neck, back, and tummy) would feel cool to the touch. It's important to know that your baby's fingers and toes are not a good indicator of warmth.

Do I need to change baby clothes at night? ›

It doesn't matter when you switch up their outfit as long as you do it daily. If you want, you can keep them in the same sleeper that they wore to bed throughout the day. Just make a habit of putting them in clean clothes every day. This allows your baby to get used to getting clothes put on and off.

How long will a baby wear newborn diapers? ›

How long are babies in newborn diapers? Most babies stop using newborn diapers once they're over nine or 10 pounds. So if baby arrives on the scene weighing less than that—and they weren't born prematurely—they'll probably grow out of newborn diapers by week three (give or take).

Can newborns wear onesies with an umbilical cord? ›

Try not to cover the stump with baby's diaper (plenty of newborn diapers come with a U-notch to ensure baby's umbilical cord isn't covered up). Use comfortably fitting—not tight—onesies, or just dress baby in diapers and T-shirts.

How many layers do you dress a newborn in? ›

If they are starting to feel warm, taking off a layer or two until they return to a safe temperature is recommended. Use common sense (and a weather report) when determining how many layers they need. The general rule of thumb is babies typically should wear one more layer than we would.

How many layers should a newborn wear to sleep? ›

Sleep clothing can be layered to suit the bedroom temperature and provide any needed warmth. In many cases, a onesie can be an effective primary layer of sleepwear. As a general rule, parents and caregivers should dress a baby with only one more layer than an adult would need to stay warm in that same bedroom.

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