Why Are Children’s Clothes Sizes All So Different?

Holly has just grown out of most of her 0-3 clothes and so I have done what is turning into the monthly packing away of clothes that no longer fit (which now fills a small suitcase) and moved the bigger sized clothes to the front of her wardrobe. As I did this I realized I did not have any of those much-needed bodysuits (or vests to some) in the next size up. FAIL! So off to Target John and I went to buy some in the 3-6 months size. Stupidly I bought a pack of Gerber vests, as they were the cheapest and came in packs of 5. Having owned Gerber vests before I should have remembered that Holly grew out of the newborn size within minutes and so, with her larger-than-average waistline (which I am assured will return to a more ladylike size once she is moving about) there was no way she was fitting in the correct size. Lo and behold after her Sunday night bath (note: please be assured that we do bath her more than once a week), as I attempted to fasten the newly-acquired 3-6 month vest under her butt, I realised my mistake.

It’s not the first time that supposed aptly-labelled clothing have either barely squeezed over her baby-booty or left her with enough arm and leg room to make another sleepsuit. It makes me wonder where these companies get their sizing from and how come there is such a variation on sizes. Now, to be fair, Holly seems to have the proportions of a lemming, with short arms, long legs and a particularly rotund torso, but that doesn’t mean that in each store I peruse I should be required to extract her from the comfort her stroller and measure every inch of an outfit up to her to ensure I can more than squeeze her into it when I get it home.
Gerber seem to be at one end of the scale. When I googled around I found a lot of people complaining about the same problem. I also found their ‘onesie’ sizing chart from Grunge Zombie:
Looking at this it seems Holly fits into the 6-9 months bracket (at 4 months) and I therefore should be buying a larger size than her age. If I compare it to the Children’s Growth Data on the CDC website, it states a 3-6 month old child in the 50th percentile should be 16-19lb, which is the 6-9 month old stage in Gerber sizes, so Gerber onesies are measuring smaller than the Growth Data Chart states they should be.
One of the larger sizes for me is the UK’s Tesco (having friends and family in the UK Holly has got a worldwide wardrobe). Tesco’s sizing chart is as follows, found at Clothing at Tesco's:
Single
0/0
0/0
0/0
3 mths
6 mths
9 mths
12 mths
Dual
Tiny Baby
Early Baby
Newborn
0-3mths
3-6mths
6-9mths
6-12mths
Height
44cm
17”
50cm
20"
56cm
22"
62cm
24½"
68cm
27"
74cm
29"
80cm
31½"
Weight
2.3kg
5lbs
3.4kg
7.5lbs
5kg
11lbs
6.5kg
15lbs
8.5kg
19lbs
9.5kg
21lbs
11.5kg
25lbs
(*this is are girls size chart)

Holly would therefore fit into the 3-6 month range (at 25” she would have some room to spare). As this is a UK brand I found a UK growth chart to compare at The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health website. On this chart Tesco’s range just fits the 3-6 months on height (this chart states the average at 6 months is 66cm) on weight (the average weight at 6 months being 7.25kg). Therefore Tesco sizes prove to be slightly on the larger side than the average growth chart shows.

It seems there are many discrepancies on sizes store to store and indeed country to country. Much of this is due to the fact that, like adults, babies come in all shapes and sizes meaning that there is no real rules on guidelines for their clothes. So how does a parent find the right size for their baby without a lot of trial and error and inevitable refunds and exchanges?
After much trawling around I came across this fantastic website called Sizetracker. You input your child’s age, sex, height, weight, waist and head size and select the brand you require (it even has some UK brands like George @ Asda) and it tells you what size your baby will fit. For example at Gymboree, another store where the clothes always seemed on the small side, it informs me Holly would be in 6-9 months, whilst at Guess Kids she is in 3-6 months. Whilst this may not be practical when you are in a shop and not sure what size to buy, it is a helpful tool if you can plan ahead.
The best advice for any new parent I can give is to find a brand you like, that wears well and, of course, fits your baby and stick with it. My personal favourite is Carter’s. They had a wide range of items in brilliant colors and designs, they fit Holly for a reasonable length of time and aren’t too painful on the wallet. And when she is growing out of one size, I have an excuse to shop, with the reassurance that what I buy will fit her. This way life is a lot easier without all this guesswork! Although of course having to return something just means I have to go back to the mall - any excuse for a shopping trip....

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