In the first few days of baby’s life, there are many important moments you’ll want to treasure forever. One of them is the baby coming home outfit. “Each time my husband and I were preparing to leave the hospital with our daughters, it was a surreal feeling,” says Kristal Bean, a mom of three from The Woodlands, Texas. “The baby coming home outfit is a celebration of that new life and of motherhood.” It can be an emotional homecoming for Mom or Dad to dress baby, who up until that moment had been wearing a hospital-issued tiny shirt or onesie, and be discharged from the hospital. “I remember so fondly dressing my girls for the first time. It was a bonding moment, a motherhood rite of passage,” Beans says.
Experts agree there’s a deep psychological impact of the experience that parents feel. “It’s the moment when being a family really begins,” says Ann Grauer, AdvPCDA (DONA), IBCLC, a doula coordinator and staff lactation consultant at Columbia Center Birth Hospital in Mequon, Wisconsin. “The first couple of days in the hospital was like a starting place, but not ‘real life.’ Now they are truly a family, making their way into the world. It’s an amazing and terrifying day of firsts!” And whatever coming home outfit baby will be wearing will be remembered forever, both as a keepsake and through the photos you’ll likely share with family and friends.
Though baby coming home outfits are an important tradition, they’re a fairly modern one. Before the 20th century, the majority of births took place at home, so there wasn’t a need for a coming home outfit. “However, the outfit to wear home became one of the first independent decisions a family made for their baby,” Grauer says.RELATED VIDEO
Baby Coming Home Outfit Basics
So what exactly should your baby coming home outfit include? “Outfits can vary based on what parents feel fits their family’s style,” says Melissa Gersin, RN, a maternity nurse and inventor of the Tranquilo Mat. “As long as baby has on a diaper and is dressed appropriately for the weather, there is no right or wrong outfit.” Some parents go all out dressing baby in a beautiful dress, while others just put baby in a cute onesie. But with all that new parents go through, getting baby dressed is, indeed, a major accomplishment, Gersin says.
Baby coming home outfit essentials
Keep these baby coming home outfit essentials prepared ahead of time so you can focus on enjoying those early moments with baby:
• Onesie. “A onesie is a perfect, basic building block for clothing,” Grauer says. “If baby is too cool, more thin layers of clothing can be added. If baby is warm, the onesie itself is the outfit. And these days, onesies are completely darling.”
• Hat. Even in warmer weather, newborns do well with a hat, since their tiny bodies can easily lose heat. If you buy a baby coming home outfit with an included hat, make sure it’s small enough for baby’s first days, as they sometimes run big, Grauer says.
• Socks. Babies don’t easily keep socks on, but they’ll need that extra layer of warmth, since “they receive little blood flow to their tootsies,” Grauer says. You can also opt for booties, which may stay on better.
• Blanket. “You want to be prepared for any weather,” says Alison Mitzner, MD, a pediatrician in New York City. “You’ll be taking the baby in a car seat, so the blanket helps cover the legs if they’re exposed.”ADVERTISEMENT
• Leave the mittens at home. “I know parents worry about scratching, but newborns need their hands,” Grauer says. “Those hands have been their friends and comfort for nine months and they can even help soothe a baby on that first ride home.”
When you’re figuring out your baby coming home outfit, you’ll want to consider these factors:
• Baby’s gender. “Gender shouldn’t matter in a newborn outfit. That said, many parents know in advance what they are having and buy accordingly,” Mitzner says.
• Weather. Layers are key to anticipate temperature changes. “A cold, snowy Wisconsin winter will dictate footed sleepers, while a baby born in south Florida will likely need just a onesie and perhaps an extra layer, including socks,” Grauer says.
• Comfort. “As most babies are likely just going right into a car seat, comfort is important too, so simple is best,” Mitzner says.
• Easy on-off. “I personally like outfits that are simple and functional,” Gersin says. “Dressing baby in a onesie, jeans and a sweater with socks, a hat and mittens might look adorable, but you’ll regret your choice when baby needs two diaper changes in less than 30 minutes! This is why I prefer something cute but simple, something that might combine a majority of your needs into a single outfit.” Plus, newborns tend to be a bit floppy, and getting them dressed can be a little tricky at first.
Baby coming home outfit sizing
Buying the right size for the baby coming home outfit seems straightforward but can sometimes be a challenge. Most baby outfits run big these days, with the majority sized for a 3-month-old rather than an infant, Gersin says. This is especially the case for any outfits labeled 0-3 months. “Unless you know your baby will be 9 to 10 pounds at birth, it’s best to only bring clothing labeled as ‘newborn’ to the hospital,” she says.ADVERTISEMENT
If you’re worried, bring two options for the newborn take-home outfit: one that’s small and one that’s a bit bigger. But there’s no need to stress too much about this. “If the outfit is a bit too big, baby won’t care and the outfit will function to keep baby warm and protected against the elements,” Gersin says. “And if the outfit is a bit too small? Make adjustments by not snapping the onesie closed at the bottom, and keep the hoodie unzipped or scrap the sweater altogether in favor of just a warm swaddle blanket.”
And don’t get too carried away. After all, it’s about choosing a baby coming home outfit that you like. “Trust your instincts and buy an outfit you and your partner are excited about—you don’t need the stamp of approval from friends and family,” says Bailey Gaddis, C.Ht, HBCE, and author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood. Above all, enjoy choosing the newborn take-home outfit. “Make this first fashion show be a comfy, practical and true reflection of you and your baby,” Grauer says. Keep that in mind when shopping.
The Best Baby Girl Coming Home Outfits
As a mom of three girls, ages 3.5, 2 and 7 months, Bean knows all about shopping for the ultimate baby girl coming home outfit. While her first daughter wore a “soft pink gown with white lace details,” Bean concedes that wasn’t the best choice trying to buckle baby into the car seat. By the time Bean picked out a baby coming home outfit for her third daughter, she took in practical considerations without sacrificing the sweet details, choosing a white footed pajamas with a tiny damask pattern that her daughter could use again. “If wearing the outfit again is something you know you want to do, the footed pajamas work best,” she says. “Plus, the footies mean you can skip socks and not worry about losing them!”ADVERTISEMENT
Check out our favorite baby girl coming home outfits for all four seasons:
Baby girl coming home outfit for spring
A floral jumpsuit (in organic cotton, no less) will keep baby cozy on a brisk spring day, and the onepiece with crotch snaps means hassle-free dressing for new parents. It even comes with a matching newborn hat. Add a color-coordinating baby bootie and your newborn take-home outfit will be all set.
Baby girl coming home outfit for summer
When it’s steamy outside and an extra layer isn’t called for, a sweet and simple onesie is the way to go. This fully lined, cotton onepiece with crotch snaps will be oh-so-soft against your newborn’s delicate skin, and she’ll nail her first OOTD. Even in summertime, though, don’t forget the newborn hat and socks.
Baby girl coming home outfit for fall
When the weather begins to cool, a footie is the perfect baby coming home outfit. Plus, your little one will get plenty of use out of this organic cotton zip-up one-piece for play and sleep.
Baby girl coming home outfit for winter
A quilted romper will keep winter’s chill at bay—and the kimono-style design will make dressing a breeze. Throw in a beanie and booties and you have a precious yet still practical newborn take-home outfit.
Get the look: 1. Burt’s Bees Baby Quilted Organic Cotton Romper, $20, Nordstrom.com; 2. The North Face Baby Bear Beanie, $26, TheNorthFace.com; 3. Zutano Double Cozie Fleece Baby Bootie, $23, Zutano.comADVERTISEMENT
The Best Baby Boy Coming Home Outfits
While you might assume that girls get all the frills and fuss when it comes to their outfits, the baby boy coming home outfit can be just as fun too. “I chose my baby’s first outfit based on material, weather and design,” Gaddis says. “My son was born in summer so a onesie was our obvious choice.” Take a look at these four cute baby boy coming home outfits that offer inspiration for every season.
Baby boy coming home outfit for spring
Rain or shine, this newborn take-home outfit for boys is sure to be a hit. The footies will keep baby snuggly warm, the two-way zipper will prevent any new-parent fluster and the adorable dino print will make for a memorable photo.
Baby boy coming home outfit for summer
When things heat up, a short-sleeve romper makes for a great look to rock home from the hospital. Cute kimono-style picks such as this one make picking a baby coming home outfit a whale of a good time.
Baby boy coming home outfit for fall
We’re over the moon about this newborn take-home outfit: With its kimono-style top, footie pants, organic cotton and modern print, it checks all the boxes.
Baby boy coming home outfit for winter
Keep your little man toasty warm with this quilted footed one-piece and ski-style knitted hat. It’s a simple but swoon-worthy newborn take-home outfit if ever we saw one.
The Best Gender Neutral Baby Coming Home Outfits
Waiting until the big day to find out whether you’re having a boy or girl is a fun surprise—but that’ll factor into your baby coming home outfit. “The outfit was such a symbol for me, because we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl,” says Jill Simonian of TheFABMom.com author of The FAB Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby. “My mom bought a boy outfit and a girl outfit for us to take to the hospital and make bets on which one we’d be dressing the baby up in for the ride home.” But you don’t need to have two outfits prepared; there are plenty of adorable gender-neutral newborn coming home outfits, including these options for each season.
Gender neutral baby coming home outfit for spring
The pale blue jersey and star print on this newborn coming home outfit is a great pick for a boy or girl. And with footie pants and a matching hat, this set has everything you need to keep your little one comfy.
Get the look: Gap Baby Print Kimono Outfit Set, $35, Gap.com
Gender neutral baby coming home outfit for summer
Pale pastels, simple stripes and breathable cotton keep things light, airy and oh-so-sweet for your little boy or girl.
Get the look: 1. Primary Long Sleeved Stripe Babysuit, $12, Primary.com; 2. Hanna Andersson Perfect Pilot Cap, $14, HannaAndersson.com; 3. LalaBabyCo Yellow and White Polka Dot Baby Booties, $25, Etsy.com
Gender neutral baby coming home outfit for fall
A long sleeve onesie, matching pants, beanie hat and booties will have your little one cute and cozy as the air turns crisp.
Get the look: 1. Finn + Emma Animal Kingdom Long Bodysuit, $26, Zappos.com; 2. Finn + Emma Animal Kingdom Lounge Pants, $22, Zappos.com; 3. Copper Pearl Rust Top Knot Hat, $13, BuyBuyBaby.com; 4. Luvable Friends Unisex Cozy Fleece Booties, starting at $7, Amazon.com
Gender neutral baby coming home outfit for winter
Searching for a special newborn take-home outfit? Jazz up a standard footed sleeper with a gorgeous knitted sweater and hat set, perfect for those blustery winter days.