A layette is the traditional title for a set of clothing for a newborn – originating from the French word which translates as ‘little drawer’.  Make use of this handy checklist of baby clothes/layette to ensure all the essentials are ready for baby’s arrival. In time you could then add to this list with ‘nice to haves’ as your time and budget allows.

Obviously, baby clothes or layettes are available from the nursery section of any big department store, plus specialist baby shops in your area. You may also like to consider browsing through clothing websites, or checking out clothes for babies in second hand shops.

This may not seem like a very big list, but babies grow fast! Before long baby will no longer fit their newborn clothes, and you’ll be buying larger sizes. Remember, you are also likely to be given a lot of baby clothes as gifts, so just focus on buying the essentials for the layette and chances are the rest will be taken care of.

Essentials for Baby Clothes / Layette

4 singlets $10 – 15

4 body suits/onesies $10 – 20

(these button between baby’s legs, keeping their midriff warm)

5 stretch n grows $20 – 30

(these have feet incorporated, so keep baby cosy)

4 socks / booties $10 – 15

(look for ones with wide, soft ribbing around the ankle)

2 hats  $10 – 20

(depending on season – at least one warm hat and sunhat)

3 scratch mittens $6 – 10

(beware these have a tendency to fall off and go missing)

2 sleep suits/nightgowns $20 – 60+

(night gowns are open at the bottom and will save you struggling with poppers in the middle of the night!  Merino ones are pricey but can go the distance and are very versatile)

3 cardigans or jackets $20 – 30

(poppers will be easier than fiddly buttons)

1 ‘coming home’ or ‘going out’ outfit $10 – 100.

(the sky really is the limit!)

Some parents like to have special outfits for baby to wear on family occasions (like coming home from the hospital). Keep in mind that baby will grow fast and they may outgrow a “special” outfit before they even get a chance to wear it.  You are also likely to be given special outfits as gifts, so don’t go crazy!

Things to consider

  • Are your chosen garments machine washable?
  • Have you read the labels to check if the items are made of natural fibres?
  • Keep your receipts!  You may need to swap some items – some babies are too large for newborn clothing from the get-go.  Cut the labels off and wash a few items – you can always give them away or keep them for another baby if they don’t fit.


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Paula Skelton is a qualified NZ nurse and midwife, a midwifery & childbirth educator and the mum of three lovely girls.

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Great list! Thanks 🙂 I’ve never knew before about baby gows. They are so great for sleeping. With them you are sure your baby won’t get cold 🙂 i’ve ordered couple from merino wool shop http://www.green-rose.uk.com They keep my baby warm at colder nights 🙂

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