Newborn vs 0-3 Month Clothing Sizes

clothes for a newborn child

It’s easy to go over the top when you’re preparing for a baby. Ask any experienced parent and they will likely say they bought too much of a particular product, or they wasted money buying something their baby didn’t need.

Clothing is one such thing where parents can go overboard, usually buying too many items in a newborn size before their baby has even arrived. Remember newborn babies grow so fast, especially in their first year, and they’ll be moving up to the next size before you can even blink! In this article let’s look at the differences between newborn and 0-3 month clothing sizes.

Are newborn and 0-3 month clothing sizes the same? Is there a difference?

Newborn and 0-3 months sizes aren’t the same so there is a difference between them:

  • Newborn size clothing is generally for babies who weigh 5-8lbs and who are up to 21.5” in length.
  • 0-3 months is for babies who are 8-12lbs in weight and 21.5-24” in height.

The way to understand the 0-3 month size is that on average, the clothes should fit babies up to the age of 3 months.

What clothes should you pack for the hospital? How much do you need of each size?

You should be fine with around 4 baby vests and 5-6 sleep suits. Make sure you pack some socks and a hat as well. This gives you enough clothing if you end up staying a day or two in the hospital after giving birth. In terms of what size to buy, you should a couple of newborn sizes. However, if you’ve been informed during the last scan that your baby is bigger than average, then you should bring one or two items which are in 0-3 month sizes just in case.

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What is newborn size clothing?

As the name suggests, newborn clothes are for babies born full term. On average if your baby weighs between 5-8lbs, they should be fine in this size clothing for a few weeks. However, you may be surprised at some of the weight and height size differences at various retailers. Here are some examples:

  • Walmart: 5.5-7.5lbs weight; 17.5-21” length.
  • Carters: 6-9lbs weight; 18-21” length
  • Nordstrom: up to 8lbs weight; up to 19” length

So you can see that Carters seem to cater for slightly larger newborn babies, whereas Walmart might be a good place to look if you think your baby will be slightly below average in weight.

However, even if your baby is average in size, don’t spend a lot on newborn clothing as they will outgrow them quickly. You’re probably better off buying more 0-3 month size clothes and even 3-6 months. The clothes might look a little baggy, but you will get more use out of them and get your money’s worth. You can always roll the sleeves and legs up a little!

If you’re expecting a preemie or a smaller baby, it makes sense to invest a little more in newborn clothing, but make sure you keep the tags on the clothing and receipts just in case your arrival is larger than you expect!

How long do babies stay in newborn size clothing?

It depends on the size of your baby at birth. If your baby weighs less than 8lbs at birth, you will probably get 3 or 4 weeks out of some newborn clothing. However, larger babies with a birth weight above 8lbs, you may only get a week.

My son had a birthweight of around 8lbs so we put him in 0-3 month clothing straight away. It was a little big for him, but he was comfortable and slightly loose clothing is fine for newborns and young babies.

What if your baby is a preemie?

Most stores will stock clothes for premature babies, or those who have a low birth weight. Most ‘preemie clothing’ is for newborns who are around 5lbs in weight and up to 17.5” in height.

What is 0-3 month size clothing?

This is the next one up after the newborn size. For the first year baby clothes sizes move up in groups of 3 months i.e. 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months and 9-12 months.

Related Post: What Are Toddler Clothing Sizes?

There are slight differences between retailers on the exact measurements for the 0-3 month size, but on average it’s for babies who are 8-12lbs in weight and 21.5-24” in height. You can see some of the differences here between two well-known brands:

  • Walmart: 6.5-12lbs weight; 20.5-23” length.
  • Carters: 9-12.5lbs weight; 21.5-24” length

Overall, there’s not a huge difference here except Walmart clothes have a bigger weight range than Carters at the 0-3 month size, but the length is almost the same. However, with a lower weight limit of 6.5lbs in Walmart, it’s highly likely that many newborn babies can just start with this size! I’d imagine they’d be a little baggy but it might save you a bit of money and you may be able to avoid the newborn size altogether.

Is 0-3 months the same as 3 months?

Yes it is. Basically both these sizes mean on average your baby can wear them up to 3 months. So you might see 0-3 months or just 3 months on the label but they mean the same thing.

How long will your baby wear 0-3 month clothing?

It depends on the size of your baby. As you know they all come in different shapes and sizes, so for some smaller than average babies, they may well be fine wearing 0-3 month size clothes when they are 4 or 5 months old. However, if your baby is fairly big, they might be wearing 3-6 month clothing when they are 3 months old!

You should think of the size on the label as the main guide to finding the right clothes, NOT age.

newborn vs 0-3 month size clothes

How do newborn and 0-3 month sizes compare to other countries?

Here’s a quick comparison of US newborn and 0-3 month sizes compared to the UK and Europe. For European sizes, the label only indicates the length of the baby in centimetres. They don’t usually list any age or weight ranges.

Newborn size comparison

In the UK, some retailers have a newborn size, where as some just have 0 -3 months as the first size. Others have ‘up to 1 month’ as a size too. It makes things a little more confusing, but for those which do stock a newborn size it’s usually up to 22” in height, and up to 8-9lbs in weight.

In Europe, their sizes are based on the length of the baby. For a newborn you should look for labels with 56cm (which is 22”).

0 – 3 month size comparison

In the UK they also use 0-3 months as a size just like the US, which makes things a little easier to follow. This will be for babies between 9-12lbs and 22-24” in height, but it can vary by the brand of clothes and the retailer.

In Europe, the equivalent to 0-3 months is 56-62cm (22-24”). However, you may just see 62 on the label indicating the maximum length.