The Upstream Baby guide to purchasing baby clothes

Buying baby clothing can actually be surprisingly daunting for new parents, gift givers or baby shower guests. What items are ideal for bedtime or sleeping? Which essentials do we buy for new born babies or the first three months? How should the room temperature or varying climate where I live influence my purchase? Do I buy different baby garments for winter and for summer? How do the sizes for baby clothes work? What is organic baby clothing? Does the fabric type really matter? What accessories do I need? It’s overwhelming.

In this brief guide: we give a parent’s view on the do’s and don’ts for the first 12 months and give some suggestions for new parents, baby shower attendees and gift givers alike. Enter: baby clothing explained!


The First Three Months

The first three months after birth for babies are the main re-adjustment period after leaving the womb – and research has shown that in many ways the best way to help them adjust is to mimic as much of their existence in the womb as possible in their new surroundings. This leads to us recommending them to be in breathable but long-sleeved (and legged) sleepsuits or onesie bodysuits.  Babies sleep a LOT during this period and so having short and long options with a bunch of changes during the day becomes onerous and a tad redundant. Ideally you have something that covers them well and is easy to negotiate when time to change a diaper. The

Another reason this makes sense is that their skin is at its most fragile and shall we say “impressionable” at this age – specifically referencing irritations, allergies and other discomforts that are often the result of inferior fabrics either being used in linen, blankets or their clothing. Using cotton is usually a safe bet – but be aware that some 100% cottons still are grown in a high pesticide environment and could also have an impact. Organic cotton and / or hemp is probably the best choice as these are grown in ways that honour their impact down the line – including the effect on a fresh new baby’s skin. It definitely also helps their fragile immune systems cope – or at least – that’s how we experienced it ourselves.

Finally, because their skin is now not permanently lubricated and experiences an element of drying, they would be prone to scratching and picking in order to subdue these new sensations. The more covered they are, the less exposed their skin is to these little gaffs – meaning less drama and better comfort overall. Mittens are also an excellent idea as well as keeping track of their fingernail growth.


Three to Six Months

The next phase is awesome because babies start exploring more, they can generally start sitting upright – supporting the weight of their heads with their necks and even crawling! Their naps become a little shorter and / or less frequent, so activity levels rise in general.

For these reasons, we’d recommended (broadly speaking) that they still wear long legs (for the crawling) but you start bringing in t-shirt or short tops, even sleeveless or tank options for playtime or just some fun in the sun.

Another reason we’d suggest short or shorter sleeves for this age group is just that they start touching, clutching and grabbing more – which usually starts affecting a garment at the cuffs or sleeves – meaning easier and environmentally friendlier actually to wipe some chocolate off their little wrists than throwing an entire long sleeve sweater in the wash!

Six to Twelve Months

This is what we love to refer to as the “freedom of movement” cycle where we want to free up baby as much as possible. All through the first year – maybe even the first two years – we find that onesies or sleepsuits are probably the most comfortable way for babies to sleep during the night. But especially at this age and in warmer climes you want to do as much as possible for babies to be able to nap in a cooler environment. A breathable, short sleep suit in a cool fabric then comes in handy way more than before and is also great for playtime and exploration. You might want to accessorize with some knee guards or at least knee socks if your baby is yet to start walking (which might happen between 9-12 months…all babies are so different!).

The reason freedom is so important is for the sake of your child’s body curiosity and exploration. They are so aware at this age, comparing themselves to your and their siblings and friends and basically any other human being from a physiological perspective – that you want to enable this for them.


As the Upstream Baby fans in the house might have noticed – we have basically created the three ideal suits for these distinctly different age brackets and with these insights in mind.

Starting with the Pure – our long sleeve – which is perfect for sleep time or the early months, our Brave – perfect for 3-6m and then the Free which really is designed for comfort, freedom of movement and sunning that slightly more resilient +- 1-year old skin.


We’d love to thank you for caring enough to read this and to #GOupstream with us. If you enjoyed this honest article and the kind of thinking it embraces, please share it. Stay tuned for the next one and feel free to comment below if this article resonated with you!