I remember when I was pregnant with my first baby and being so confused by baby clothing sizes. As I shopped for an outfit to bring my baby home in, I didn’t know if I was supposed to get Newborn clothes or 0-3 month clothes. Zero months is a newborn, right? So why is there a separate size for the same age? And then I saw the little preemie pajamas and wondered, “Will my baby come early and need preemie clothes? What are the chances that my baby with be preemie? How much smaller are preemie clothes than newborn?” And then I left the store without buying any outfits.
It was too overwhelming. My brand-new baby could potentially fit into 3 different clothing sizes. It was too much pressure. Luckily, I have a husband who doesn’t overthink things the way I do and he ended up buying a cute little newborn outfit that was perfect for the trip home.
Even after all of this, I still put my baby in the wrong sizes all the time. I didn’t know how long my baby should be in newborn clothes. And I felt like each brand fit my baby so differently, so I never knew what I was doing. At one point, my 1-year-old was still wearing 6-month clothes in one brand and 18-month clothes in another brand. So what’s the deal with baby clothing sizes? Here are 4 tricks to help you navigate the world of baby clothes.
1. Preemie Baby Clothes
This is probably pretty obvious to everyone already, but preemie clothes are the smallest baby clothes available and are specifically designed for premature babies up to 5 lbs. Just so you know, only 12% of babies are born premature, so the odds of you having a premature baby are not very high. Depending on your medical history and past pregnancies, you may have a better idea of when you can expect your baby to arrive. So unless you are likely to have a premature baby, it’s probably not worth it to buy premature clothing before your baby is born.
2. Newborn Clothes vs. 0-3 Month Clothes
Yes, there is a difference between newborn (NB) and 0-3-month clothes. Your baby will most likely need to wear newborn clothes for at least the first couple weeks of their life, depending on how much they weigh when they’re born and how hungry they are after. ;)
Once your baby grows out of NB clothes, they should theoretically be in 0-3 month clothes until they turn 3 months old.
Here’s where things get a little tricky: every clothing company has their own sizing. They’re all pretty similar – within about a pound of each other – but when you become a mom, you quickly realize that every pound counts.
3. 0-3M, 3-6M, 6-9M (Sometimes), 9-12M (When there are 6-9 month clothes), 6-12M (Instead of 6-9M and 9-12M clothes)
Are you confused yet? I am. So here’s the deal, certain clothing brands offer sizes in 3-month increments through the first year (like Gerber, Children’s Place, Gymboree, and Carter’s). Other brands go to 6-month increments at 6 months (like Gap and Old Navy).
COMMENTARY: Nothing against the brands that do the 6-12 month jump, but this is not my favorite. Between 6 and 12 months, your baby grows A TON. So at 6 months, my baby has grown out of their 3-6 month clothes, and now they need to start wearing 6-12 month clothes. But they are still way too small to be wearing clothes they will fit into at 12 months. I prefer the 3-month increments all the way through the first year. That’s just me, though.
Here's a chart to help clear up the last 2 points:
4. 18-24 Month Clothes vs. 2T Clothes
You’ve made it 18 months with your little one, and you’re getting ready to buy their next set of clothes. What do you buy—18-24 months clothes or 2T clothes? 24-month and 2 years are the same thing, right? Here’s where it gets confusing again. For most brands, they are different. Usually, you buy 18-24M when your child is 18 months old, and they should fit into them until they turn 2 years old. When they turn 2, they should start wearing 2T.
However, some brands, like Gerber, skip 2T altogether. So it goes from 18-24M straight to 3T. What are you supposed to do now??? Well, at this point, your baby shouldn’t be growing quite as fast as she was in the first year, so you probably don’t have to panic.
You’ll start to figure out how each brand fits your child and be able to fill in the gaps with different brands as they grow. And you’ll probably have to figure that out long before they hit the 2-year mark. Just make sure you physically compare the sizes of each article of clothing. Too many times I put a piece of clothing in a pile with other clothes its same size, only to find it was too small for my baby by the time I was ready for the next clothes size.
There you go! Baby clothing sizes can be confusing. And we didn’t even talk about the European sizing! But I only have to worry about that when I go to H&M, so I think we’ll survive. Now that you know all the tricks to baby clothing sizes, I wish you luck as you dress and shop for your baby. And if you don’t want to worry about when to buy new clothes for your baby, you can always subscribe for a Beanstalk Bundle and get new baby clothes delivered to your door. Click here to view subscription options!