The Best And Most Comfortable Baby Clothes For Your Precious Preemie

by Jenny Altman
Originally Published: 
preemie baby clothes

While you were busy registering, you forgot one important thing— preemie baby clothes. It wasn’t something you thought you needed, but now, you NEED it. We hope you’ve already put together the convertible baby crib, the baby changing table and the most soothing baby glider (that one’s a gift for both of you— we promise), because it’s time to start shopping for bb clothes— STAT.

Your LO might have arrived really early, or even just a little earlier than that damned due date you’ve been living by for months (surprise!). According to cardiac NICU nurse Megan Furlong, any baby born before the 37 week mark is considered pre-term. More specifically, she says, “There are different age groups in preemie-land based on gestational age rather than weight. Less than 25 weeks is extremely preterm, less than 32 is very preterm, less than 34 is moderately preterm, and less than 37 weeks is late preterm.” Furlong, mom to a 20-month-old boy, is also the co-founder of Bright & Baby, a site for expectant and new parents to learn all things baby— specifically during those first 6 months. She has spent a lot of time with preemies, especially those she spends quality time caring for in the NICU. Choosing baby clothes for preemies requires a lot more thought than picking baby clothes for larger, full-term newborns.

What do preemie babies wear? Tips for choosing clothing for a premature baby:

If they’re spending time in the NICU (or in the hospital for any reason while newborn), it’s super important to know that regular baby clothes won’t cut it. Aside from being too big, they are not NICU-friendly. “There are several things that you want to look for when shopping for clothes for your premature baby,” advises Jean Moorjani, MD, FAAP, and a board-certified pediatrician at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. “Wearing safe and appropriate clothes will help your baby maintain their temperature well. Premature babies can sometimes have difficulty maintaining their body temperature, and one of the best ways that we can help them keep a stable temperature is to choose a hat so they can stay warm. They can also have very delicate and sensitive skin, so you will want to wash your baby’s clothes in a laundry detergent that is fragrance and dye-free. If your premature baby is still in the NICU, you may want to look for preemie clothes that have plastic snaps instead of metal (we would like to try to avoid metal especially if your baby needs x-rays done) and choose clothes that don’t cover their feet because your baby may be on a monitor that will have wires and cords. You can choose a onesie or pants and add separate booties.” Adds Furlong, “I personally would avoid a gown with elastic at the bottom (these make diaper changing in the isolette, or “incubator” as most folks call it, pretty challenging since there ends up being too much fabric in the way!”


Now once the preemies are home, you don’t need to worry about these NICU-friendly features, but you will need great quality clothes that fits specific to preemies. That includes smaller sized caps and swaddles, too. We’ve got your go-to guide for preemie clothes below, including NICU friendly brands that are made with nurse-approved features you mamas will appreciate.

Preemie Clothes Safe for Baby in the NICU:

Preemie Clothes for Baby:

Now that your LO is dressed and ready, check out our other essential baby gear.


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