The Best Clothes for Premature Babies 2021: Comfortable, Warm, and NICU Fit

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While you were busy signing up, you forgot one important thing: premature baby clothes. It wasn’t something you thought you needed, but now you NEED IT. We hope you’ve already assembled the convertible crib, changing table, and the most calming rocking chair (it’s a gift for both of you, promise) because it’s time to start shopping for baby clothes, STAT .

Your LO may have arrived very early, or even just a little earlier than that damn due date you’ve been living through for months (surprise!). According to NICU cardiac nurse Megan Furlong, any baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature. Specifically, she says, “There are different age groups in premature countries based on gestational age rather than weight. Less than 25 weeks is extremely premature, less than 32 is very premature, less than 34 is moderately premature, and less than 37 weeks is late premature. Furlong, mom of a 20 month old boy, is also the co-founder of Bright & Baby, a site for new and future parents to learn all about baby, especially during those first 6 months. She has spent a lot of time with premature babies, especially those she cares for at the NICU. Choosing baby clothes for premature babies takes a lot more thought than choosing baby clothes for term newborns.

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

If they are spending time in the NICU (or in the hospital for any reason when they are newborns), it is very important to know that regular baby clothes will not cut it. In addition to being too big, they are not suitable for the NICU. “There are several things you should look for when shopping for clothes for your premature baby,” advises Jean Moorjani, MD, FAAP and certified pediatrician at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. “Wearing safe and appropriate clothing will help your baby maintain his temperature well. Premature babies can sometimes have difficulty maintaining their body temperature, and one of the best ways to help them maintain a stable temperature is to choose a hat so they can stay warm. They can also have very delicate and sensitive skin, so you’ll want to wash your baby’s clothes in laundry detergent that is fragrance and dye free. If your premature baby is still in the NICU, you may want to look for premature clothes that have plastic snaps instead of metal (we would like to try to avoid metal, especially if your baby needs x-rays) 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 jumpsuit or pants and add separate slippers. Adds Furlong, “Personally I would avoid a dress with an elastic at the bottom (these allow diapers to be changed in the isolette, or ‘incubator’ as most people call it, quite difficult because there is too much). of fabric on the way! “

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Now, once the premature babies are home, you no longer have to worry about these NICU-friendly features, but you will need some great quality clothing that specifically fits premature babies. This also includes caps and diapers of smaller size. We’ve got your reference guide to premature clothing below, including NICU-friendly brands that are made with nurse-approved features that moms will appreciate.

Safe Premature Baby Clothes at the NICU:

It’s your most comfortable little sleeper with the extra special features your baby needs during their hospital stay. Carter’s premature line is designed for babies weighing up to 5 lbs. This “thoughtful” line, marked with the blue heart seal, lets you know the items were designed by local NICU nurses. Since Carter listened to their needs and added features like Velcro sleeves (easy to open and close for cords etc.) and plastic vs. metal snaps (safe for spoke machines X). Nurses, parents and babies around the world thank Carter’s for these little changes that are making a huge difference. Grammie Gigi said, “You are one of the few sources of premature outfits that plans the needs of the NIC unit. Thank you for your excellent reflection !!! ”

$ 18 AT CARTER



Perfectly Preemie has thought of everything we didn’t know we needed! They have a range of styles, all with the best NICU features in mind, but we love this combination with a cap and a pair of slippers to cover all of our bases. All closures are velcro for IVs, monitors and are easy to change, and everything is perfectly sized for 3-6 lbs. The prints are all so cute – think mermaids, horses and little snowmen, so if this is to be your NICU staple, there are enough everyday outfits you need.

$ 36.95 AT AMAZON


We cry too! This adorable onesie has all the features any baby in the NICU / hospital needs to have another safe day. The sleeves feature plastic x-ray snaps. The perfect size for babies weighing up to 5 lbs, this cozy onesie reminds everyone that even though they’re small, they’re powerful.

$ 10.50 AT CARTER

Premature baby clothes:

A set of 5 cotton bodysuits is the basis of any baby’s wardrobe. This continues with and under every outfit your premature baby will wear over the next several months. Burt’s Bees organic essentials keep baby warm in 100% GOTS certified cotton with flat seams (no chafing) and nickel-free snaps (a common Allergane). The shoulder construction below the knees (that little shoulder flap) means it stretches easily to fit baby’s head. These are available in many prints, styles and sizes to get you through all phases of baby clothes.

25 $ AT AMAZON



Diapers are great for napping and sleeping, and premature babies may need them more than you think. Furlong says, “Many neonatal intensive care units use premature-sized diapers for babies,” and recommends that parents buy one or two for the baby’s return home. “Families have to be very careful to keep the premature baby from getting cold, so if the baby is not skin-to-skin with a parent or in a baby sling, then an extra layer is important (that is, i.e. outfit + swaddling). HALO’s micro-fleece sleep bag is a favorite among all new parents.

$ 21.99 AT AMAZON


Any parent of a new baby knows the amazing of a kimono style jumpsuit. It doesn’t go overhead! Enough said. But this footless style, from Burt’s Bees Baby, is also made from organic cotton, in a quilted weave. It’s the ultimate in softness and it has snaps inside and out, as well as a snap just at the collar to keep baby warm. The fabric is 100% organic cotton, GOTS certified and breathable, ideal for sensitive skin and to prevent overheating. A mom loved it so much that she asked that they start doing it in adult size! (Truly!)

$ 15 AT AMAZON


Only a parent who has undergone nocturnal changes will understand the glow of * magnets *. This jumpsuit, available in a ton of gorgeous colors and prints, has magnets on the front to make opening and closing so much easier than searching for snaps and buttons in a dark room, in the middle of the night. And these wonders aren’t just for premature babies – they start at Pre size (under 5 lbs) and go up to size 18-24 months. We can’t say enough about this from our personal experience – they are a game changer.

$ 36.00 AT AMAZON



The SwaddleMe Premature Size Swaddle is designed for babies weighing up to 7 lbs. It is intended for stage 1 swaddling, usually up to 6 months old, before babies show signs of turning over. If you’re not sure which swaddling is right for you, give it a try. We know many, many babies who have achieved deeper, deeper sleep while being warmed up in their own cozy cocoons. One mother who called it premature approval said, “My daughter was born 6 weeks earlier and all the diapers we had from our oldest daughter were too big. We tried a few different diapers that didn’t work for us and then came across this diaper and decided to order it. It worked wonderfully for our daughter! I highly recommend it for small babies.

$ 7.10 AT AMAZON


The Hudson Baby’s Preemie layette set includes 4 pieces that you will need whatever the season. All in 100% cotton, there is a short sleeve bodysuit, a long sleeve shirt with side snaps, pants and a cap. The knee-to-shoulder construction means it stretches out, so if you’re afraid of pulling anything over your head, you don’t have to. Just pull it from the bottom up. It’s also available in Royal Safari Gray if you want a second set (or a more neutral gift). They will blend together very well.

11 $ AT AMAZON


Side snap is a dream come true. Like a kimono-style top or sweater, it doesn’t have to go over the head. This 5-piece long-sleeved set is made from lightweight, easy-care organic cotton. They focused on all the details that concern us with the little ones: nickel-free snaps, flat seams, printed labels (no labels) and hidden interior snaps. These shirts also have reversible mittens, which means if your baby is a scratching post, you can roll the sleeve over your hands to sleep. Furlong points out that “An important part of the sensory development of premature babies, feeding signals and comfort is having the hands close to the face / close to the mouth. Mittens are adorable, but everyday use should actually be avoided for these little ones. We literally learn something new every time. Alone. Day.

$ 29.30 AT AMAZON



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

While we only recommend the choices we really like, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on our site.

HALO Preemie Sleepsack, Micro-Flece Swa …

$ 21.99

SwaddleMe Original Swaddle, Size Premature

$ 7.10

Burt’s Bees Baby organic baby kimono for …

$ 15

Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Essentials Bio …

25 $

Hudson Premature Baby Layette Set, 4-Piece

11 $

Moon and Back Side Snap Organic Cotton S …

$ 29.30

Magnetic Me by Magnificent Baby Modal Ma …

$ 36.00

Carter’s Premature Waist Striped Hat, 2 Pack …

$ 12

Carter’s Rocking The NICU Bodysuit

$ 10.50

Carter’s Preemie Animal Cotton Sleep & P …

$ 18

Perfectly Preemie NICU Friendly Baby Clo …

$ 36.95


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