The First Year: Clothing

The First Year: Clothing


In the first year, simple clothes are best!  Your infant is developing all the functions to move her body, and needs clothing that aids in this process.  All clothes should be comfortable, stretchy or loose-fitting, and allows for full movement of arms and legs.  

In this first year, your child will grow so fast, you won't use a piece of clothing for more than a few months.  Secondhand infant clothing tends to be close to brand new, is so much cheaper, and is worth looking for.

About gendered clothing: Pink and blue are fine colors, but to put your child in a narrow gendered box when they are so young and impressionable is disrespectful.  Keep a balance.

Please note I have not listed everything your child needs here (you'll probably also want socks, long sleeve shirts, hats, coats, etc).  These clothing items below are related to movement and the development of your child.  

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Clothing Materials

One-piece undershirts

Onesies are the little black dresses for babies.  Use them as undershirts on chilly days or entire outfits on warm ones.   You'll need more in the beginning for frequent changes.  The simple t-shirt with snapped bottom allows the shirt to stay on your baby's skin, which is good for free movement and temperature control. 

Color and pattern are your personal choice, but avoid any clothing with buttons, scratchy appliques or embellishments.  

One-piece pajamas

Another item your infant can wear all the time.  I prefer zippers over the snap clasps as they are much faster and easier to manage during repeated diaper changes. 

Mobile infants need time during the day with bare feet to build muscle coordination, and footie PJs will slow them down.  Save the PJs for sleeping at this age. 


Pants for infants should be soft and stretchy, with an elastic waist and ankle cuffs.  Footed pants are fine until your baby starts to roll over, but if you can, warm the room and allow her to explore her feet! Mobile infants need time during the day with bare feet to build muscle coordination.  

Avoid any piece of clothing that makes it difficult to crawl, creep, pull up, or stand.  Remember, your child is a person who needs to practice moving, not a doll to be dressed up.  


Legwarmers are my new favorite for infant wear, after I had a day with multiple blowout diaper changes.  Used instead of pants, legwarmers have a higher chance of staying dry and clean, AND it's one less step when diapering.   

Pair these with a onesie to protect knees from scooting and crawling on the floor while leaving feet bare for traction.  


The First Year: Sleep and Bath

The First Year: Sleep and Bath


Babies spend most of their time sleeping in the first year, and so this space needs to be both safe, cozy, and encourage rest.

In the first few weeks, your baby will need a smaller space to sleep, like a bassinet or co-sleeper (see below).  This helps her feel safe and secure. As she grows, you can choose an infant floor bed in a safe bedroom, or a traditional crib. 

A safe space to sleep has a firm mattress or pad, with NO pillows, loose blankets, toys, or bumpers. Babies under 5-6 months should always be placed to sleep on their backs.

Learning to fall asleep is a skill, and one that your child can master without an elaborate routine from you.  Read this first book below for details.  

While your baby doesn’t need as many baths in this first year as she will later, you’ll probably want a few materials on hand to make the process easier for both of you.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 

Sleep and Bath Materials

Compassionate Sleep Solutions

Here's how you help your child learn to fall asleep on her own, step by step.  This book is written by a RIE professional who also offers personal consultations for parents. 

I used this book with a very clingy 9 month old who would ONLY fall asleep on my hip and had him falling asleep on his own in a week. Read the story here.

If you are spending hours each day coaxing your older infant to sleep, you need to read this book.  

Newborn Sleep 

To help your child feel secure in the first 2-3 months, a co-sleeper or bassinet is best.   Look for a model with a flat, minimally padded bottom, short sides, and ease of access for nighttime waking and feeding.  You may prefer a model on a stand at bed-height, or a free-standing bassinet like this one pictured. 

This bassinet is my favorite, as it can be placed on a table or directly on a floor bed, moved around the home and taken on trips, plus it folds up for easy storage.   

Sleep for infants

As your infant grows, you can choose to move her to a floor bed or a traditional crib.  The floor bed is just a crib mattress on the floor of a small bedroom, designed to aid your child's independence. Yes, children fall asleep this way, and yes, it will take some guidance on your part.  This article offers more details in making the decision. 

Floor Bed After 2-3 months you can transition from the smaller bassinet to a floor bed.  Ideally, your child spends a few nights in the bassinet on top of the floor bed in the same room to ease the transition.  Floor beds are only an option IF you can make the bedroom safe for an infant.  Look for a firm, small mattress (approx. W: 28˝ x L: 52˝ x H: 5˝), a waterproof cover, and a handful of sheets.   This mattress is completely washable! 

If you can't make the room safe for a mobile infant, use a crib or portable crib.  Be sure to research your options, and look for safety recalls.   

Read about safe sleeping areas and the prevention of SIDS here, if you aren't familiar.  

Blackout Curtains

While very young infants will fall asleep anytime of day, it's helpful to darken the room as your child gets older.  Involve your child in closing these curtains as part of your sleep routine, to cue "now is time to fall asleep"  You may want full blackout or merely light-blocking curtains, depending on what's outside your windows.  I also suggest thermal insulating curtains to discourage drafts in an infant space.   

Sleep Sack

The sleep sack is an excellent solution for keeping your infant warm without the danger of a blanket, or the movement restriction of a swaddle.  Sleep sacks create a warm cocoon, small enough to offer comfort, but large enough to allow for movement.    I tend to follow RIE's opinion about swaddling, but should your child LOVE and NEED to be tightly wrapped those first few months, do what your child needs so everyone can get some sleep.    

White Noise

While you want to allow your child to self-soothe so she can learn the skill of falling asleep, if you live in a noisy place, white noise may be helpful.  Simple is best, an air filter, fan, or noise machine is plenty.  Stay away from rocking/shaking/swinging gadgets, it will only make independent sleep more difficult.  

I have this air filter in my home, and I love it.  It has a quiet hum while it's running and it cleans the airs with both HEPA and VOC filters.  It's portable too, so you can move it to the area where you need it most.  

Cozy chair for night feedings

You'll want a chair for feedings in this first year so you can relax and be comfortable.  Look for a model that little fingers can't get smashed under if you're adding this to the nursery.    An ottoman can serve as a footrest and the perfect object for pulling up and cruising.  

I suggest a small table with water, snacks, and reading material as you may be sitting here for 30-45 minutes at a time!

Wash tub

Your baby needs to get clean, and really any small vessel of water will work here.  There are plenty of inexpensive plastic baby tub options, but I like this one for it's simplicity, the ability to grow with your child, and the option of using it inside the tub or out on the floor.  If you choose to use the kitchen sink, an insert like the Puj or Blooming Lotus are helpful.  But a towel and attentive parent are really all you need here.

As with other care giving activities, bath-time should be a time of connection, full attention, and respect.  Learn more about the specific techniques of creating quality time in these moments here.