Somewhere between 16 and 20 weeks along during my first pregnancy, the word “layette” started popping up everywhere. I kept thinking, “What is a layette anyways?” But I refused to ask anyone because I thought it would make me seem as if I wasn’t ready or prepared enough to be a mom.

Silly? Maybe. But please, don’t ever feel dumb about not knowing something involving your pregnancy or your baby.

A layette refers to your baby’s first wardrobe.

It usually consists of the clothing and blankets your baby will need during the first 8-12 weeks. During the newborn period, clothing should be soft, simple and easy to take on and off your baby several times a day. Other features to look for include clothing that:

• Snaps or zips all the way down the front, instead of the back
• Snaps or zips down both legs to make diaper changes easier
• Has no ribbons or strings to knot up, unravel, or wrap around the neck
• Is made of stretchy fabric (avoid tight bindings around arms, legs, or neck)
• Is 100% cotton (if possible)

Some pieces of a layette are more important than others, but it is a good idea to have some essential items on hand before your baby arrives.

Here are my recommendations:

  • Going home from hospital outfit
  • Cotton cap (newborn size)
  • Sleepers (one piece cotton or fleece) 4
  • Undershirts (either snap-front or onesies style) 6-12
  • Small cotton bibs 6-12
  • Lightweight jacket, sweater, or cardigan. 1-3
  • Sun hat for summer (wide brim) 1-2
  • Cold weather hat for winter (knit/fleece) 1-2
  • Sleep sacks 2-4
  • Pairs socks/booties 4-6
  • Blankets (various fabrics) 2-4
  • Swaddling Blankets 3-6

Baby care tip

Always dress your baby in comfortable clothing. At the newborn stage, your baby will probably not be comfortable in stiff jeans, overalls, or ruffled dresses. Stocking up on 100% cotton one-piece outfits are your best bet. And because baby clothing and sizes vary from brand to brand, buy them in several sizes ranging from newborn to 3 months.

Check out Newborn 101, for more pregnancy and new baby information. Carole’s book can be purchased on