The Comprehensive Guide to Different Types of Baby Bodysuits
Whether you’re expecting a baby in the next few months, or shopping baby clothes for your newborn, you’re probably seeing baby bodysuits everywhere—and for good reason! As a new parent, you can’t underestimate how wonderfully useful they are. However, when there are so many options, how do you know which ones to buy?
Here at Rent-a-Romper, we regularly help parents stock their little one’s wardrobe with a variety of baby clothes, including baby bodysuits and baby Onesies®, so we’ve learned a lot about finding baby clothing that balance comfort with style and convenience. To help you find what’s right for your family, we’ve created this ultimate guide to baby bodysuits that explains each type of baby bodysuit and what clothing features to look for when getting clothes for your little one.
What’s a Baby Bodysuit?
While you may not be familiar with baby bodysuits, you’ve probably heard of “Onesies®” a term that gained popularity thanks to Gerber, the first brand to make bodysuits a beloved baby staple. Gerber owns the trademark to the term, “Onesies® brand,” so technically, unless a bodysuit was made by Gerber, it’s not a Onesie®. However, because this term is so commonly used, you may hear people calling all brands of bodysuits “Onesies®.” Confusing, we know! We personally love the term, “Onesies®,” but since Rent-a-Romper’s closet contains clothing from over 200 brands, we’ll be using the term, “bodysuits.”
Different Types of Bodysuits
Baby bodysuits aren’t one-size-fits all. There are dozens of styles so it can be confusing to know what you need. We recommend taking a few factors into consideration before choosing a baby clothing or Onesie® style.
Even better, rent baby clothes so you can try lots of sizes and styles to see what works for your baby and lifestyle. Our 7-item Capsules are a great way to test out a variety of brands, fabrics and styles, without committing to an entire wardrobe that you’ll quickly need to replace as you learn what your baby needs—and as they grow.
Many of our new parent customers like to start with a curated mix of sleeveless bodysuits, collared bodysuits, crewneck or turtleneck bodysuits, and even magnetic bodysuits that make dressing a breeze!
If you’re expecting a baby, you probably won’t know what size your little one needs until they arrive, so in addition to trying lots of styles, it’s also a good idea to have a mix of sizes from preemie to three months in your hospital bag and nursery. Surprisingly, a lot of newborns don’t actually fit into newborn clothes so you’ll want to make sure you have all your clothing bases covered. And, when you rent, you’ll never have to run to the store with a fussy newborn to return clothing you don’t like or need.
Each of the bodysuit styles listed below has advantages and cons based on how functional and stylish they are. Here’s our breakdown of the different types of baby clothes bodysuits:
Best All Around Bodysuits
Crewneck or Shoulder Snap Bodysuits
Crewneck and shoulder snap bodysuits offer two ways to undress your baby as they have either a snap closure or stretchy material at the shoulder area and another one at the crotch.
These bodysuits are very easy to use and are the most popular with our customers with newborns and older babies who go through a lot of clothes! Whether it’s spit-up or a poop blowout, these bodysuits contain the mess, are durable, and are easy to wash. To remove a messy crewneck or shoulder snap bodysuit, you can simply pull the bodysuit down over baby’s shoulders then legs, instead of dragging the poop-soaked cloth up over their head while struggling to get their little, wiggly arms out of the bodysuit’s arm holes.
If the bodysuit is clean and dry, you can also dress or undress your baby by gently pulling it from the bottom up, over your baby's head after unsnapping the crotch.
Best Bodysuits for Newborns
Kimono Bodysuits, Wraparound Bodysuits and Side-Snap Bodysuits
Kimono bodysuits, also called wraparound bodysuits or side-snap bodysuits, are perfect for newborns as they are created to be super cozy and snuggly. Most commonly, you’ll see this style of bodysuit with snaps, however, many designer brands use string ties to close the front of the bodysuit as it offers a cute, premium look. Similarly to crewneck bodysuits, kimono-style bodysuits also have snaps at the crotch to allow for easy diaper changes.
Kimono bodysuits are popular with newborns for several reasons, one being that you don’t need to pull them over baby’s head. Dressing your little one in a kimono-style bodysuit is similar to wrapping them in a super soft blanket. Simply unfold the bodysuit and lay it flat, like a blanket. Then, gently lay your baby on top of the kimono bodysuit, tuck their arms into the sleeves, fold the layers over their little belly, then snap it around them.
Another reason why kimono bodysuits are great for newborns is that they do not have any irritating buttons, zippers, seams, or snaps near your newborn’s stomach or umbilical cord stump. Instead, there are two soft layers of fabric which can help protect your baby’s healing belly button.
Since kimono-style bodysuits are best for those tender first couple of weeks, many families prefer renting which allows them to exchange for a different onesie style once baby’s umbilical stump has healed and they’ve grown a little bit bigger.
Best Bodysuits for Layering
Short-Sleeve Bodysuits and Long-Sleeve Bodysuits
Short-sleeve and long-sleeve baby bodysuits are typically thin, snug-fitting and made of cotton. For the most softness, opt for organic cotton which is grown and processed without harsh chemicals. Regardless of which fabric types you choose, most short-and-long sleeve onesies only have snaps at the crotch. However, like some crewneck bodysuits, you can find stretchy short- or long-sleeve bodysuits with an expandable shoulder neckline. That way, you don’t have to remove the bodysuit over your baby’s head.
Short-sleeve and long-sleeve bodysuits are a great for cold weather layering. Use them as a base layer underneath a sweatshirt, knitted cardigan, or baby sweater. If it’s really cold, add the additional layer of a snowsuit, baby bunting, or even just a thick baby blanket.
Generally, it’s recommended to have seven to ten layering bodysuits on hand, as babies are messy and may go through several within one day.
Sleeveless Bodysuits and Tank Bodysuits
As the name suggests, these baby essentials have no sleeves. These are great for both summer and winter babies. To keep baby cool in hot weather, simply dress them in a sleeveless bodysuit and let their little legs enjoy the fresh air (just be sure to keep baby in the shade). If you’d like a more polished summer look, add shorts, a skirt, or bloomers.
For winter babies, we love using sleeveless bodysuits as a baselayer. They don’t bunch up beneath bulkier layers, and they add soft protection for sensitive skin. Also, with these, you won’t have to worry about your baby’s little belly being exposed to the cold. The crotch snaps ensure the bodysuits stay tucked into little pants or leggings.
While turtleneck bodysuits are a little trickier to use, they’re a cute way to protect baby from drafts in cold weather. They keep your baby's neck warm during the chilly winters or cold evenings. Turtleneck bodysuits are versatile, either long-sleeved, short-sleeved, or sleeveless.
Long-sleeved turtleneck bodysuits protect your baby from extreme cold during the winter. Sleeveless and short-sleeved turtleneck bodysuits are best for daytime wear, or in summer when temperatures are high.
Turtleneck bodysuits are available in different patterns, designs, and colors. You can occasionally find styles with snaps at the neck which makes them easier to put on your baby.
Best Bodysuits for Special Events
As you may have guessed, collared bodysuits have a stylish collar. Traditionally, boys’ collared bodysuits are called ‘polo bodysuits’, and girls’ collared bodysuits are typically in the ‘Peter Pan’ style. Polo collars are more pointed and angular than Peter Pan collars which have a feminine, rounded look to them and may include details like lace, scalloped edges, or soft velvet fabric.
Collared bodysuit are a busy parent’s go-to outfit for special occasions or when you need your baby to look stylish for their photoshoot or even just a social media shoot! Collared bodysuits function similarly to crewneck bodysuits but also offer a sense of elevated style to make your baby stand out.
The Rent-a-Romper closet contains dozens of cute collared bodysuit options in a variety of patterns and colors for both boys and girls. We even have unisex looks if you want something less traditional. And while we always strive to carry the most stylish, adorable bodysuits, we also curate for comfort and ease. If you have a special occasion coming up, renting collared bodysuits is a great way to get memorable looks at lower than retail prices. When your event or photoshoot is over, simply swap them out for something new!
Flutter Sleeve Bodysuits
Flutter sleeve bodysuits are standard baby clothes bodysuits with the addition of a designer sleeve to add something a little more unexpected and special to your baby’s outfit. Most commonly, flutter sleeve bodysuits are worn by baby girls, but you can choose any style for your baby, no matter their sex or gender! Most flutter sleeves are short and loose fitting so you don’t need to worry about getting them over your baby’s arms. If you want an even more elevated look, you can opt for a flutter sleeve with a notched, lace, or boat-neckline.
Best Onesies for Bedtime
While most baby bodysuits feature snaps, there are footed baby pajama styles called, “footies,” or “rompers” that close using soft magnets. Hands-down, these are the easiest to use, we’ve even seen parents dress their baby one-handed!
Magnetic bodysuits make changing your little one effortless and faster, but there’s a downside to be aware of. Very wiggly babies can more easily poke their arms and legs out of magnetic closures so you may need to adjust their clothing from time-to-time.
However, for middle-of-the-night and early morning changings, you’ll want baby clothes that are easy to put on, or take off, your baby quickly. To dress your baby in a magnetic outfit, simply open the footie or romper, lay your body gently over the body of the fabric, tuck their arms and legs in and then bring the edges of the outfit close together. The magnets will snap together automatically leaving a soft, smooth seam.
We often get questions about the safety of these bodysuits from new parents. Magnetic bodysuits use weak magnets with dim fields that are stitched in between layers of fabric so they'll never come in contact with your baby's sensitive skin. Also, before being sold, magnetic baby clothes undergo third-party testing to ensure their safety.
Since magnetic baby clothes are one of the more expensive types of baby clothes, renting is a great option. You can use magnetic baby clothes without investing heavily in your baby’s wardrobe. Renting is also a great option if you simply want to try magnetic clothes before committing to using them long-term. If you love them, keep them until your little one outgrows them and swap for a new size. Not a fan? Simply swap them out for a style with zippers or snaps instead.
Does this all sound like a lot? That’s because it is! Take the guesswork out of dressing for your newborn and leave the styling and shopping to us.