How Much is 'Normal' to Spend on Newborn Clothes? Mom Surveys Reddit (and Responses Were Largely the Same)

An image of a pregnant woman shopping for newborn clothes.
An image of a pregnant woman shopping for newborn clothes.

Getty Images.

Adorable, teeny tiny baby clothes. They're cute and fun to shop for while scrolling through your phone during a late-night feeding. But as any parent of a newborn can attest to, those patterned onesies can add up fast, cost-wise. One person kept seeing people post hundreds of dollars worth of baby clothes on Facebook Marketplace, so they wanted to know: Is this normal?

"Out of Curiosity: how much $$ would you estimate you spent on your baby's first year of clothing? Or how much would you be willing to spend? No judgment allowed," wrote u/jayceenicole17 in the Mommit subreddit.

When the Redditor had their first child, they didn't have a ton of money to spend.

"He wore almost all hand-me-downs and [thrift] stuff," the poster wrote. "But I know that isn't the situation for everyone."

The Redditor wanted to know:

  • How much do you estimate you spent on clothing for your child's first year of life?

  • How much would you be willing to spend on a full wardrobe for the first year of your child's life?

To keep the peace, the original poster reiterated, "Absolutely NO JUDGEMENT from me or anyone else. Everyone has their priorities, and everyone has their means. Some people like clothes, some people like tech, some people like food, some people like travel, and some people like buying stuff for their kids. You do you."

The responses varied. Many, like the original poster, tried to keep clothing costs low.

"Honestly, for the first year or more, I didn't really buy any clothes," one person said. "Between what we got at the baby shower or just being given stuff from friends and family, I didn't really start buying clothes until she was into 18 months size."

"My friend had a girl a year before I did, so she gave us all her hand-me-downs. I also got some from a…group on Facebook…[I] probably only spent $100 [Canadian dollars] myself on clothes and $150 so far on sleep sacks. [My little one] is 12 weeks old," wrote someone else.

"Probably $150: $50 on specialty outfits and $100 on second-hand/thrifted everyday wear," another said.

But another parent, who didn't track the spending, felt like clothes were a big expense.

"[I don't know], but a…lot despite hand-me-downs because we had to keep five to six spare outfits at daycare because he was prone to epic blowouts…and I didn't have time to be doing constant laundry," the person commented.

In 2017, NerdWallet reported that parents spend anywhere from $21,248 to $51,985 in their child's first year of life. NerdWallet lumped clothes in with other miscellaneous items, like clothes, diapers, toys, a stroller, etc. and reported that people spent between $1,941.33 to $6,667.38. (Of course, some strollers can cost nearly $1,000 alone, and those diapers add up, too.)

To save money on clothes, experts suggest:

  • Don't go crazy on baby clothes before junior comes. Babies grow fast. If you buy a winter outfit for a summer baby in June, be warned that it may not fit by December.

  • Buy second-hand clothes. The original poster on Reddit was on to something: Buying second-hand clothes can help you save big. It's an especially good idea for clothes, such as spiffy suits for weddings or puffy holiday dresses, that they'll only wear once.

  • Don't buy shoes. Shoes may look cute, but babies won't need them right away. Experts say babies learn to walk faster if they don't wear shoes. Keep feet cozy with booties instead.