Types of Baby Pajamas and How to Choose

Michele Meleen
newborn triplets asleep

Pajamas are an infant wardrobe staple that are very easy to find. The process of pajama shopping for your baby doesn't need to be complicated, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind before you hit the stores. Some of these considerations may save you money in the long run.

Types of Baby Pajamas

Babies don't always wear traditional pajamas when they sleep because they sleep a lot of the time and in many locations. Consider your baby's size, typical nighttime needs, and sleeping environment when shopping so you can choose the right type of pajamas for your little one.

Baby Onesies or Bodysuits

Onesies are one-piece outfits that cover baby from shoulder to bum, close between baby's legs, leave legs bare, and have long or short sleeves. These garments fit snugly, are ideal for warmer climates, are comfortable for baby, and are convenient for middle-of-the-night diaper changes. Look for standard cotton onesies that are breathable and opt for long sleeves to provide extra warmth.

  • Plain, white, 100% cotton bodysuits by Carter's are the perfect simple pajama outfit for baby boys or girls and cost only about $16 for a 4-pack.
  • At $25 the Muslin Long-Sleeve Kimono Bodysuit by aden + anais is great for bedtime because the fabric helps prevent overheating and the side snaps make late-night outfit changes quick and easy.

Baby Sleep Sacks, Sleep Bags, or Wearable Blankets

Baby sleep sacks, also known as sleep bags and wearable blankets, are a great alternative to giving baby a blanket for cover and can have thick straps or long sleeves. These one-piece pajama outfits go on like a dress, but are closed all around the legs so baby's legs stay covered in chilly weather. Baby sleep sacks are best for families on a budget because baby has lots of room to grow in the loose sack. Look for sleep sacks with simple, but safe closures and medium-weight fabrics.

  • Keep baby cozy in a Slogan Fleece Sleep Bag with long sleeves and a safety tab to cover the zipper for only $8.
  • Featuring an inverted zipper so the pull is not near baby's face, the HALO SleepSack Wearable Blanket is 100% cotton, sleeveless, and comes in a variety of colors with an average price of $20 each.

Baby Sleep Gowns

Sleep gowns are one-piece garments with long sleeves and are usually gathered at the bottom to encourage baby to keep her legs covered while still making it possible for baby to kick her legs out. Sleep gowns are great for younger babies in 0-6 month sizes, work great in mild climates, and are the best option for quick and quiet nighttime diaper changes. Choose gowns that are long enough to cover her legs with a little room to spare.

Baby Footie Sleepers

Sometimes called sleepers, footie pajamas, or even coveralls, footie sleepers are one-piece garments with long sleeves and full pants that also cover baby's feet. These are great for cold weather and colder climates because they keep baby completely covered even without a blanket. Look for sleepers with a safe zipper closure because they'll be easier to get off and on than ones that snap all the way up baby's front.

Baby Footless Sleepers

Also called rompers, coveralls, or jumpsuits, footless sleepers are one-piece garments with either short or long sleeves and full pants. Parents of long babies can try footless sleepers to keep baby covered comfortably. If you're traveling, footless sleepers are great because they comfortable in warm or cool weather and layer well if needed. Look for a footless sleeper that's easy to get on and makes diaper changes simple.

  • Carter's large selection of Fleece Footless PJs for babies each feature a zipper, sell for under $10, come in a variety of patterns, and offer extra warmth.
  • The Cloud Island 2-Pack of Coveralls from Target comes with one long-sleeve romper and one short-sleeve romper, each with a crotch/leg-snap closure for about $10.

Two-Piece Baby Sleep Sets

Most suitable for older babies, two-piece sleep sets are more like traditional children's pajamas with a separate top and pants. They're great for quick bottom-only changes at night due to super wet diapers or babies with special needs like those who might have medical devices you need easy access to. Make sure the pajamas are not loose and baggy to keep baby safe.

  • For about $12 you can get a Harry Potter pajama set with a long sleeve shirt in either a 3-6 month or 6-9 month size from Target.
  • Walmart.com sells a long-sleeve shirt and pants set featuring Disney character Dumbo for babies in a 9-12 month size for under $8.

Baby Pajama Safety Tips

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement of their recommendations for creating a safe sleeping environment for babies. This statement includes great information that can help you choose the right pajamas to keep your baby safe and comfortable.

  • Babies under 12 months should always sleep on their backs, so avoid goods or decorative elements on the back of the pajamas.
  • Babies shouldn't have blankets in their beds, so wearable blankets can help keep them warm instead.
  • Only dress baby in one more layer of pajamas than you're wearing.
  • Don't use swaddlers with babies who can roll over on their own.
  • Pajamas should be tight-fitting, but not restrictive.
baby boy lying on a bed

Where to Shop for Baby Pajamas

Any infant retailer or department store will carry a wide selection of infant pajamas. If you have specific fabrics or cuts in mind, it might be easier to shop online for the exact type of pajamas you're looking for. It's best that you familiarize yourself with a particular brand before shopping online so your are better acquainted by their particular sizing.

  • Large retail store baby departments, such as Walmart's baby section, are invaluable resources for budget-conscious parents in search of infant pajamas.
  • Carter's baby is one of the most recognizable names in baby clothing and their online store includes a wide variety of baby pajama options.
  • A huge name in baby and kids clothing, The Children's Place features mostly fun holiday pajamas and trendy designs for babies.
  • If you love organic baby products and cute patterns, Hanna Andersson is a reliable retailer known for its soft, comfortable, and Swedish inspired designs.

Pajamas for a Good Night's Sleep

Choosing the right pajamas for your baby and his sleeping environment can mean the difference between a good night's sleep or tossing and turning for both you and baby. Look for good quality pajamas made from safe, breathable fabrics and provide a fairly snug fit for nighttime safety.

Types of Baby Pajamas and How to Choose