Your baby boy will need lots of clothes within his first couple of years, and it's important to know how to shop wisely and efficiently for these items. When your baby is a newborn, you'll receive many outfits for him as shower gifts and welcome home presents. However, you'll also need to supplement these gifts with practical items for his first few months, as well as a complete wardrobe for each size after that. Knowing when and where to shop can save you money and ensure your little one has all the clothing he needs to be cozy and well-dressed.
Understand Baby's Needs
Baby clothes are sized according to months, but it's actually more accurate to consider your little guy's length, weight, and developmental stage. Each clothing brand is sized slightly differently as well, so reading the labels is helpful in determining when your baby will wear that particular outfit. Knowing what he needs for each stage can help you make sure you are ready for the next growth spurt.
Newborns: The Layette Phase
The newborn, or layette phase, of a baby's life has some specific clothing requirements. This stage is typically marked by the first 0-3 months of your infant's life. Clothing companies tend to steer new parents into over-buying at this point with long 'must-have' lists, but you won't need everything on those lists. Instead, be sure to pick up the following necessary items for your baby boy:
- Onesies - You'll need about a dozen onesies. Choose short or long sleeves, depending on the season. Even if you're having a summer baby, it's helpful to have a couple of long-sleeved options for chilly days.
- Pants - Two or three pairs of knit pants can also come in handy. Choose something in a soft knit that will match many of your onesies.
- Sleepers and gowns - Your little guy will spend most of his time in sleepers and gowns, so you'll need about a dozen of these. Sleepers snap or zip up the front, depending on your personal preference. Gowns are open at the bottom for easy diaper changes.
- Socks - Invest in five or six pairs of socks for your little boy. At this stage, babies can have trouble controlling body temperature, so his little toes might get chilly.
- Sweaters - You'll need one sweater for your baby. Choose something that can layer over other clothing and that matches his wardrobe.
- Bibs - A couple of bibs are also a good idea. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, your baby is likely to spit up sometimes. Having a bib on your baby can help extend the time his outfit looks clean.
- Hats - You'll need at least two or three hats to help keep your baby's head warm.
There are also items that are nice but by no means are necessities. These include adorable coordinated outfits, rompers for summer wear, booties or infant shoes for his feet, and bathrobe sets.
Older Babies: Infants to Walkers
After the newborn stage, your baby will spend less time sleeping and more time playing. While he still needs to be comfortable, his clothing needs will change from sleepers and gowns to play outfits. This is a fun stage, since you can dress your little guy in all kinds of cute outfits. As he enters the crawling phase, the integrity of his clothing will begin to be tested a bit more, and fit becomes more important. You'll need the following items in each infant size (typically 3-6 months, 6-9 months, and 9-12 months):
- Onesies - You'll need about ten long-sleeved or short-sleeved onesies, depending on the season.
- Pants or shorts - Depending on the weather, your little guy will need at least six to eight pairs of pants or shorts.
- Pajamas or sleepers - Your baby will still wear sleepers at night, so expect to need about eight to get you through the week.
- Socks - Now that he's moving around more and going out into the world, you'll want to keep those feet covered. Buy him at least eight pairs of socks.
- Sweaters - If it's chilly weather, you'll need at least three or four sweaters to help keep him warm.
- Outerwear - If you live in an area with cold winters, your baby will need a snowsuit or winter coat and snow pants. For warmer winters, as well as spring and fall, a light jacket is important.
- Bibs - During this stage, your little guy will discover the joys of solid foods. This can be a very messy experience, so you'll need about 12 bibs to keep him looking neat.
- Hats and accessories - You'll need a winter hat for chilly weather, a sun hat for summer, and mittens if it's cold outside.
A few other items are nice to have at this stage, but they are not necessities:
- Overalls - Little guys look adorable and can move easily in overalls. They are great for crawling and moving around.
- Button-down shirts - If you like to take your baby to religious services, special events, out to dinner, or to visit great-grandparents, a couple of button-down shirts can make him look extra cute.
- Crib shoes - Even though your baby isn't walking yet, crib shoes can help keep his feet warm and complete his outfit.
- Rompers - Rompers make easy, one-piece summer outfits, so it's nice to have a couple on hand.
The Second Year: Early Walkers and Toddlers
Once your little guy is up and on his feet, his clothing needs will change again. As you shop for clothes, be sure to pick up these necessary items:
- Onesies - You'll need about eight to ten onesies with long or short sleeves.
- Pants or shorts - Again, you'll need about six to eight pairs of pants or shorts to get you through the week.
- Pajamas - Expect to pick up eight pairs of pajamas, since babies this age can get pretty messy.
- Sweaters - In winter, your little guy may need a sweater or sweatshirt for each day of the week. In summer, he'll need one light cardigan to stay warm on cool days.
- Socks - Now that he's up on his feet, your little one will start to wear out his socks a bit more frequently. They'll also get dirtier. Buy at least ten pairs of socks.
- Outerwear - A winter coat or jacket, a light windbreaker, and maybe a fleece jacket will keep your baby warm outside.
- Bibs - Your baby will be able to continue using the bibs from last year. However, you may want to invest in a few larger ones, since his meals are also getting larger.
- Hats and accessories - He'll need a winter hat and mittens, as well as a sun hat.
- Shoes - Now that he's walking, your little guy needs supportive footwear. Have him fitted for a pair of shoes that will help his development. He'll also need sandals for summer and winter boots for the cold months.
At this stage, there are also a few items that are fun to add to your little man's wardrobe:
- Rain jacket and boots - If he hasn't yet discovered the joys of stomping in puddles, he soon will. Waterproof footwear and a rain jacket can help keep him clean and dry.
- Dress-up clothing - Your baby is starting to look more like a little boy, and this is a great time to dress him in pieces that are a bit more formal. Consider button-down shirts, dress pants, and sweater vests.
- Swimwear - Although it's perfectly fine to take your baby swimming in a swim diaper, it's fun to have a pair of trunks too. Baby swimwear is cute, and it can also help protect his skin from the sun.
Know Where to Shop
After you've established your baby's needs, the next step in understanding how to shop for baby boy clothes is knowing your shopping options. Where you choose to shop will depend on the style you're going for, as well as your budget.
Used Clothing Retailers
Buying used baby clothing is a great way to save money on necessities. Babies rarely wear out their clothes, since they grow so quickly. You can find some great deals, and save the rest of your budget for fun splurges.
Baby and Children's Clothing Retailers
There are lots of stores that specialize in children's and baby clothing. Consider some of these options:
- Janie and Jack- If you're looking for something a bit more formal, this store is a great choice. Prices can be a bit high, but the merchandise is cute and stylish.
- Babies'R'Us- This baby superstore stocks a wide variety of baby clothing labels. It's a great place to look for basics, as well as special pieces.
- Baby Gap- If you love Gap-quality clothing, you'll enjoy these styles designed for infants. The knitwear is especially soft and cozy on your little guy's skin.
- The Children's Place- A widely trusted name in both infant and children's clothing, this is a great place to pick up essentials.
- Gymboree - If you're looking for something impossibly cute for your little man, Gymboree is an excellent choice. Prices are a bit higher than some other retailers.
Tips to Help You Save
Outfitting a baby's clothing needs can be costly, no matter where you shop. However, if you keep the following tips in mind, you can stretch your budget a little farther.
One of the best ways to save is to shop off-season. This means you buy his winter clothing for the following year at the end of this winter season. You'll see incredible deals on all of the necessities, as well as a lot of cute items.
Take Inventory Before You Shop
Before you head to the store, make a list of what you already have for your little guy. That way, you won't duplicate clothing and end up with items he doesn't wear.
Stick to Your List
When you're in the store, it's easy to get seduced by the adorable little outfits that would look great on your baby. However, if you stick to your list of items, you'll be sure to get the necessities first.
Many stores offer coupons and mailing lists that can help you save money. If you love the clothing at a particular store, sign up to receive these discounts.
You Don't Have to Break the Bank
Shopping for baby boy clothes is fun, and it doesn't have to be overwhelming or terribly costly. Before you start shopping, set your budget and know what you need and where to get it. This will help ensure you get everything you need without spending more than you can comfortably afford. Depending on how you shop, you can spend as little as $100 to outfit your baby for each size, or you can spend much more.
Doing this will also help ensure that you have a little left over for those extras.