Babe arrives with a whole new set of lingo. At a couple's shower I attended recently, a few men in the room laughed and pondered the difference between terms like layette, onesie, and sleeper. In case you, too, are curious or confused, we've taken the time to define the infant basics.

  • Layette: A layette is simply a newborn’s first collection of clothing. While many stores will tell you how many layette items you need, the quantity should be determined by the frequency with which you will do the laundry.
  • Bunting: A bunting is a one-piece snowsuit for infants designed to keep them warm throughout the Winter months. Buntings usually have a hood and hand and foot covers to ensure that the baby is bundled up tight.
  • Burp Cloths: Usually placed over the shoulder or the thigh, burp cloths are used to protect an adult’s clothing from the spit-up that can accompany a postfeeding burp. Many people use traditional cloth diapers as burp cloths due to their highly absorbent nature.
  • Footies: Also known as stretchies, footies are extended onesies with distinct places for the feet. Footies tend to have snaps all the way up one of the legs in order to facilitate diaper changes.
  • Onesie: A onesie is a short-sleeved t-shirt that attaches at the crotch with either snaps or Velcro. The closure provides easy access for diaper changes.
  • Receiving Blankets: Sometimes called a swaddling blanket, receiving blankets are the thin cotton blankets babies are wrapped in to help them sleep.
  • Side-snap tees: Also known as kimono tops, these shirts are typically worn during a newborn’s first two weeks in order to prevent friction between the shirt and the umbilical cord. Once the umbilical cord falls off, most parents switch to onesies.
  • Sleepers: Sleepers are often apron-like garments made from blanket or fleece material that are used to keep babies warm at night. Given that blankets are not supposed to be placed in cribs, sleepers ensure that a baby is warm enough.