What clothes does a newborn need?
Before bringing a little one into the world you will need to stock up on a few essentials. You’ll be changing their clothes a number of times a day so make sure outfits are uncomplicated and easy to take on and off. Soft, natural fabrics are important and try to avoid irritating tags or seams.
Make sure you wash any new clothing, muslins or blankets before they come in to contact with your baby’s skin. A newborn baby’s skin is very sensitive; it hasn’t had a chance to toughen up yet. The finish that is put on new clothes, to make them look nicer in the shop, can irritate their skin so it is best to remove this beforehand with one quick wash. Use a gentle, non-biological washing powder with no added dyes or perfumes and try to avoid fabric softener too. The British Allergy Foundation Seal of Approval is awarded to products that have been shown not to irritate sensitive skin. If you see this seal of approval on washing products, you know you are safe.
In terms of sizing, it will be hard to predict which size your baby will need. Some babies skip newborn sizes or outgrow 0-3 months in weeks, while others will need premature sizes and wear newborn clothes for months. You could get one of each size and then return what you don’t use. Bear in mind that friends and family are likely to give you lots of clothing as presents so you don’t need to go overboard.
Below is a list put together by interviewing multiple parents. The number you’ll need of each will depend on how often you plan to to do the laundry, but I’ve given a guestimate for each in brackets. I’ve included any gifts as part of these numbers. In terms of bodysuits and all in ones, you’ll only need to buy one or two of each yourself because as soon as your baby is born you will be given plenty more as prezzies!
Bodysuits/bodies/onesies (4 to 6)
Bodysuits are the staple of a baby’s wardrobe. They can act as a vest to help regulate the baby’s temperature so it is advisable to buy bodysuits made of fabrics like merino wool. When the baby is really tiny their umbilical cord will need to dry out and fall off. It is therefore best to choose bodysuits that are not too tight so their tummy button has space to breath. A crossover neckline and side fastening will make dressing and undressing much easier, especially as babies do not much like things being pulled over their head. In-built fold over mittens are a bonus as they’ll also help prevent your newborn from itching their face.
The Merino Kids Bodysuit has all of the above and is luxuriously soft next to sensitive skin. They come in quite small so check the sizing, and buy one a size up if needs be. The pastel green is adorable for both boys and girls.
For the more cost conscious GAP, John Lewis and Petit Bateau are good places to look. More innovative brands like Hook and Loopy, Magnet Mouse and Magnificent Baby have bodysuits that fasten with velcro or magnets, making changing during sleepy nights a little less tiring.
All in ones (4 to 6)
All in ones are long sleeved bodysuits with legs and feet. A newborn will likely spend a lot of time wearing these as they keep their little feet warm. There are lots of good places to buy these. Magnet Mouse all in ones are easy to take on and off, fastening with baby safe magnets. Or a three pack from Mamas and Papas is good value, and they have the fold over hand mittens.
Sleepsacks/gowns (3 to 4)
Traditional blankets and soft bedding are no longer considered safe for babies as it increases the likelihood of suffocation or SIDS. Make sure the baby sleeps on their back and use wearable blankets or sleepsacks. These will need to be warm and cosy but also easy to take on and off. Changing in the middle of the night needs to be as effortless as possible!
If newborns are left with their arms free during the night they will flail them around and wake themselves up. Their arms need to be swaddled close to their bodies to keep them calm and still. The Gro-snug from Grobag is perfect for newborns. A zip makes it easy put on and it keeps their arms safely swaddled. The zip undoes right round under their feet for easy changing. Whats more, as the baby gets older and you want to let their arms free, the Gro-snug has unpoppable arm holes. The cosy version is best for bedrooms between 16 and 20 degrees, while the light version is best for between 21 and 25 degrees. And, the penguin pop design is great fun.
Parents also really liked the Halo Sleepsack. The wrap around arm swaddlers fasten with velcro.
Scratch mittens (1)
Babies can have very sharp nails. Some will itch their faces more than others so they may need scratch mittens. Most elasticated mittens will fall off as babies wriggle their arms around. Gummee gloves, Hook and Loopy gloves and Goumikids mitts all have velcro straps to help them stay on. Gummee gloves also have little silicon dots on them so babies have something to rub against their gums. They even have some rather garish teething mittens for babies who need something to chew on while their teeth are growing through.
Cardigans (2 or 3)
Try to avoid buying jumpers that pull on over the baby’s head. Cardigans are great as they button down the front or down the side for easy changing. Hand knitted cardis are often the best quality and give your baby a gorgeous individual look. Button and Blue cardis are hand knitted from Merino wool in Brighton. They’re made to order so you can choose your own design. The I Like My Socks cardis are ethically knitted in Uganda, via a local NGO. The use of organic cotton and natural plant die gives a beautiful finish, soft next to baby skin. The Knitterists do a really cool vintage style woolly jumper with a cosy pixie hood, and Vertbaudet do slightly cheaper, organic cotton cardis too.
Leggings (3 or 4)
Leggings are great to put over bodysuits and can help jazz up any outfit. There are lots of great places to buy leggings with fun, fresh designs. In fact, so many, there will likely be a full blog post on leggings later down the line. Favourite legging brands include Tobias and the Bear, Marmalade Sky, Thief and Bandit, and Lola and Stella. Polarn o. Pyret do leggings with fold over foot mittens to help keep tiny toes warm.
Socks (4 to 6 pairs)
Finding socks that actually stay on feet is not an easy task. From interviews with parents there are two brands that stand out, both of which have tighter, grippier parts around the ankle. Hanna Andersson have the best baby socks but they have to be shipped from the US. Grodo produce the best socks in Europe, made from organic wool and can be bought from Cambridge Baby website.
Booties (1 or 2 pairs)
For extra warmth booties are a lovely addition to a newborn’s wardrobe. Although they might not be very stylish, Zutano and Goumikids are the best for staying on baby feet. Or there are lots of beautiful hand made booties on Etsy, that tie around the ankle so they stay on. Happy Laika make beautiful little booties,hand knitted from extra fine merino wool – great for extra warmth.
Hats/caps (1 or 2)
Whatever the weather it can be a good idea to get a baby cap to keep your baby’s head warm. Little knotted white caps are the favourite and these can be bought very cheaply from places like Babywear UK.
Cashmere or woollen pixie hats are really sweet and keep tiny ears warm in the winter. Blumen Kinder use recycled cashmere and have an adorable tie around the chin. Woolly wonder hats are hand knitted with a beautiful vintage design.
For the summer months a sun hat is useful. Make sure it has UV protection. Polarn O. Pyret has a simple sun hat that ties around the chin and Trotters have a legionnaire hat with a flap at the back to protect the back of the neck from the sun.
Stroller sack/foot muff (1)
These can be really useful in a pushchair or car seat during the winter months. Infantastic have a good value baby foot muff with five harness slots so it fits every type of pushchair. It’s water repellant and has cords around the top that can be pulled to create a cocoon around the baby’s head. The three zips can also be undone to convert the foot muff into a bedspread or changing mat.
A snow suit can be really useful if you need to travel or carry your newborn outside in colder places. The Dare2b snowsuit is a favourite, as well as John Lewis’s wadded snowsuit with detachable mittens. If your baby is particularly wriggly then it’s best to opt for a warm armless sleepsack like the ones shown above – much easier to put on!
So there we have it, a list of newborn clothing essentials. I hope this sets you up for an easy first few months. Please comment below and let me know your thoughts. And add these items to your list so one of your family or friends can gift them to you!