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Newborn Clothing Essentials

Author: Lottie Manns

I will be the first to admit I was desperate to buy those teeny tiny cute clothes. Shopping took on a whole new level of fun. It didn’t help that I had a John Lewis and a giant Mothercare right by my work. Great for choice, not so great for the bank balance.

Although I desperately wanted to buy everything I saw I did try to be quite restrained as in reality you don’t need as much as you think. These little babies also grow so fast so all those teeny tiny newborn sizes may barely be worn. Having done the newborn shopping twice I thought I would share my list of the newborn clothing essentials that you will need for when baby is born and the month or so afterwards.

When it comes to sizes it is a bit tricky. My suggestion is to opt for a few of everything in Newborn and then a couple more in 0-3 months. You never know how big your baby will be so I think it is safer to go for the majority of clothes in 0-3 to start with. Unless you know that your baby is going to be early you probably won’t need tiny baby. When I found out I was being induced early I went out and bought one pack of vests and sleepsuits in tiny baby size which Molly did wear. In fact most newborn clothes hung off her but within a couple of weeks she was out of the tiny sizes so I’m glad I didn’t go too mad. On the flip side my nephew never got to wear his newborn clothes as he was straight in to 0-3, and they were quite snug!

My advice is that in most cases you will likely have some willing relative or friend who can nip out to the shops (or hit the online stores) and stock up on a few more items if needed so there is no need to panic buy.

My biggest recommendation is to go for practicality. Believe me these newborns are wriggly and you will also want them to be completely comfortable. That little dungaree set may look super cute on the hanger but you will really only want sleepsuits most days. You can always add to your collection of mini clothes once baby has arrived.


Vests are a staple purchase. In the summer baby can wear just a little vest if it is hot and in the winter you can use them as a layering item.

I recommend 5 vests in Newborn size and up to 10 vests in 0 – 3 months. This may seem a lot but you will be washing them more than you realise.

The season will dictate if you go for long or short sleeved varieties or you can choose to have a mixture. I always used long sleeved when Molly was tiny as it was the middle of winter and freezing but Alice generally spent every day only wearing her short sleeve vest as it was a rather hot summer.

It is always easy to pick up packs of plain white vests like these from Next but the range of patterns and colours out there at the moment is fantastic! It is also worth checking out the supermarkets for some good value basics.

I am in love with this M&S Pelican long sleeve design. So fun and the loveliest spring colours. M&S also have the sweetest little cowboy long sleeved set which features cute illustrations and fun striped designs. This is also available as a sleepsuit.

For short sleeved versions the Little Bird Turtle vests are so bright and fun. These would be perfect for a summer baby as they could easily be worn on their own and still look super stylish.

I also had a few packs of these John Lewis Animal short sleeved vests which were great quality and washed really well.


Sleepsuits are honestly the comfiest and easiest thing for your little one. And the choice of patterns and colours around is vast so you won’t be missing out in the style stakes. That said, I don’t think there is anything cuter than a newborn in a white sleepsuit. Practical? Not really. Super sweet? Definitely.

Go for 6 sleepsuits in Newborn and around 9 in 0-3 months. I always favoured the front fastening variety for ease of changing.

Next were my go to for sleepsuits. I found the fabric to be a bit thicker than most and they kept their colour after numerous washes. This modern monochrome set is so much fun and I really like the bold graphic design.

John Lewis has some lovely prints on their sets and you can’t go far wrong with a classic sheep print in this grey and mint combo. Or I do rather like this little apple print in lovely bright shades.

For super strong designs I love the Little Bird Pear sleepsuit. A bit of a retro feel with the orange and green colour combo but I adore it.


Babies can loose a lot of heat through their head so a little hat is an essential. Grab yourself two in a soft wool or jersey.

This Mothercare teddy hat is so cute and is sure to keep heads warm and toasty. Plus it comes with some little mittens for those chilly days.

Frugi have some super fun designs, like this rainbow and bumble bee, in soft organic cotton and you can always choose to co-ordinate with a sleepsuit too.


Teeny tiny socks will keep those little toes nice and warm. You will probably only need one pack in newborn and one in 0-3 months.

Scratch Mittens

Grab two pairs of scratch mittens to avoid baby scratching at their fact with those tiny little fingernails.


You will need two cardigans regardless of the season. Go for soft wool, cotton or jersey to avoid irritating that delicate skin.
I would purchase these in 0-3 months as you can roll the sleeves up if it is a bit too big to start with.

M&S have a cute hooded cardigan in soft cotton that is ideal for newborns.

I always favoured the Boden cardigans for the girls as they were the softest wool and washed so well with no bobbling. They have some lovely shades this season to go with all outfits.

This fabulous mustard yellow number from John Lewis looks so cosy and the hood will keep little heads nice and warm.

Molly and Alice spent most of their time wearing a cute mint green jersey cardigan that had belonged to my little sister. Seriously vintage! I just couldn’t find anything the same so I am over the moon that Next have bought out this version of a Jersey cardi available in a variety of soft colours. This really is a great buy.

Jacket and Pramsuit

As with the cardigans buy in 0-3 months as you can always roll the sleeves up and get more wear out of it. A soft jersey or lightweight jacket is a good buy. If you are expecting in the winter you will need a pramsuit too to keep baby warm and cosy when out and about.

This M&S soft cord wadded jacket in grey would be an ideal buy.

You can always rely on The White company for an adorable design and this bear fleece is a winner in my books. Fleece jackets are ideal for cooler winter days but also as a light spring jacket.

Something Special

You may want to follow the traditional route of choosing something cute for baby to leave the hospital. Although, be prepared for that to change. Molly was so tiny she didn’t fit her going home outfit and Alice was born in a heatwave so only went home in a vest! It is, however, really nice to have a couple of ‘special’ outfits for visits and outings. In the early weeks I would still recommend choosing a sleepsuit style outfit but you can splash out on some cute patterns and designs.

The Autograph range at M&S is always worth a peep for lovely outfits and this Duck Sleepsuit is just lovely.

A trip to The White Company for one of their babygros is sure to result in a purchase or two. I really like this velour star trim design.

If you fancy adding a bit of bright in to the mix then take a look at this Bumble Bee design from Next. Too cute.

For something a bit more spendy have a look at for their fabulous designer collection from the likes of Bobo Choses and Stella McCartney Kids. This Billy Bandit Indian print racoon gro is so much fun as is this Hundred Pieces NYC Babygro.

So those are my thoughts on what items you need to buy although going on past experience I am sure you will end up with a lot more! Have you started shopping yet or do any of you lovely lot have any recommendations to share?


Cover image by Little Beanies Photography

Author: Lottie Manns
Cake baker (and cake eater!) extraordinaire. Drawn to all things girly and glittery.
Follow Lottie on instagram @buttercreamanddreams

33 thoughts on “Newborn Clothing Essentials

  1. Another timely post. I’m 27 weeks pregnant and we’re just getting to the stage where we think we should probably start some baby shopping. As its our first, it’s really difficult to know where to start, as well as not to get too carried away, so this post is very helpful and what cute outfits!

    1. Yay, congratulations Sophie! Going shopping for those baby clothes is so exciting. It doesn’t matter if you do get a bit carried away but I also think that there are so many gorgeous vests and cardigans out there that you won’t be missing out even if you do just buy the essentials xxx

  2. Really useful post. Thanks! I’m 31 weeks pregnant and it’s so tempting to buy all of the cuteness out there! Great advice on sizes too. When did you pack your hospital bag?

  3. Perfect timing Lottie! We are currently putting together our hospital bag (I’m 35 weeks today!) and I’ve been a bit confused about what to bring for baby to wear when we leave. I didn’t know if babies wore jackets/coats?! We have a lot of the basic but I love some of these bright options you’ve linked to – better send an email to my hubby letting him know I’m going on a little shopping spree! ?

    1. Whoop, not long to go Kate! Molly had a teeny little fleecy jacket when she left hospital, not too thick, but she also had a blanket on too. At this time of year you probably may need a jacket still so maybe get a thinnish one that will still be ok for the warmer spring weather (I’m hopeful can you tell?!). Sure, hubby won’t mind the shopping. They are essentials after all! x

  4. Lovely bits – we’re expecting another girl so I’m not really in a position to do much shopping but I may be tempted with some of these! Also my last baby was a winter one and this one is going to be Spring so I may have to do some wardrobe updating… I really ought to get my bag together really – I’m 32 weeks and my first came at 37+4…

    One thing I would say is that when you’re looking at scratch mitts, look for ones with ribbed cuffs (and then tell me where you found them!) as they stay on much better than the standard ones. M&S do a good line in integrated scratch mitts too, which are fantastic if you’ve got a scratchy baby – or are too scared to cut their nails any shorter πŸ˜‰

    1. Sara, I was exactly the same. Molly was winter and Alice was summer so needed a few different things. Mainly just vests and rompers. Plus we didn’t know we were having a girl with Alice so I ended up buying lots of brights and neutrals just in case. In reality I didn’t need any of those! I must admit I never used the scratch its and just used the integrated babygro ones. Good reminder! xxx

  5. I thinks its worth noting that supermarkets, particularly sainsbury’s and tesco do sleepsuits and vests that are decent quality, cheap (great when babies are a. growing out of them quickly and b. having to change their clothes two or three times a day!). Its nice to have some nicer sleepsuits for when you are going somewhere or have visitors, but generally the cheaper ones are just as good!

    1. Definitely Claire. I had quite a few vests from Sainsburys as the quality was good and always had 25% off! I also then didn’t mind when they inevitably got stained from all the nappy leakages!!! xx

  6. Hi Sara…. My little girl was a horror for scratching, she has eczema which started pretty much from birth. I found Gap scratch mits the *best* the had a slightly elasticated cuff so don’t slip off every two minutes. We had and 10 pairs!! Xx

    1. Brilliant, thanks – I always forget about Gap for baby basics, although they’re currently my go-to for toddler jeans and maternity wear!

  7. Controversial but the only scratch mitts that stayed on Silvia were socks! You can never have too many baby socks as they just vanish so regularly.

    Also for new born while the supermarket sleepsuits are ace, most don’t have the built in mitts which make life so much easier. If you can find them great, if not the John Lewis or Mothercare expensive ones are perfect.

    Finally, if you have a sicky or poo exploding baby five vests could be trashed in five hours! I swear by supermarket or Primark cheapies- 2 packs of seven should see you right.

  8. Hi, Having just had a baby this would have been aug a useful post to read! It is so hard not to buy all the super cute outfits but it is true you really can’t be a sleepsuit! So quick and easy and like you said there are some lovely ones out thete!
    Next are my favourite! They also won because my little girl was 6lb 8oz which meant all the 0-3 stuff drowned her (beyond turning the sleeves up)! But next first size was perfect then she moved into their up to 1 month!
    I found John Lewis and jo Jo mamen came up slightly bigger.

    Enjoy buying baby clothes! Also remember you are bound to have an abundance of clothes as gifts once babies arrive!! πŸ™‚

    1. I loved Next for baby clothes too. Molly and Alice were teeny too as they were early so everything hung off them for the first few weeks. Very true that you get lots of gifts. I was quite glad as friends quickly swapped to teeny baby sizes to fit them as I didn’t have anything! x

  9. Love looking at all the too cute baby clothes. Broody alert! I remember in the lead up to having my boy I bought a fair bit on Ebay. As babies grow so quick the clothes were in great condition and I got them for a fraction of the cost. I did have a panic as I’d bought lots of 0-3 and not much newborn that the 0-3 did swamp him, even though he was a good 8lb 6oz! I did a panic trip to M&S when he was 1 day old to buy some long sleeved newborn vests. It took us until 4pm to get out the house, but I was proud of getting out with my tiny bubba and keen to get some fresh air! In the end he only wore them for a few weeks before growing out of them, ah well.

    If you find yourself wanting to buy lots, buy some of the cute ones in 3-6 months as baby will soon be able to wear them anyway πŸ™‚ xx

    1. Ebay is a great tip and certainly one to look at. I definitely bought more in the bigger sizes as it felt like they got to wear them for longer. Once they hit the yearly sizes it gets even worse as I constantly find myself buying things for them as they’ve been wearing things for such a long time! x

  10. We found our Next and M&S vests/baby grows were the best. Lovely quality and haven’t bobbled in the wash. M&S have a lovely duck themed range of vests/sleepsuits/bibs etc that are gender neutral so a great buy if you’re having a surprise. That being said the supermarket grows have been fine for everyday and by the time they start to bobble in the wash they’re growing out of them anyway.

  11. Some really good picks here. In the summer, Fern lived in a very lightweight white cotton jersey cardigan by Absorba. It kept the sun off her without overheating and went with everything. It was pretty pricey but compared to some of her other clothes the cost per wear was low. I struggled to find one then and am having the same problem now. I’ll check out the Next one but at first glance it might be a bit thick for high summer/holidays… I might have to resort to making one!!

    While we’re on the topic, I get the twitch when I see small babies in tights and dresses. Each to their own, but personally I think these should be the sole preserve of special occasions only. Babies who are not yet vertical spend so much of their time with their legs in the air or being held and Mums are forever pulling the dress down/tights up, they look undignified and uncomfortable, yet so many people routinely dress small babies in these – WHY?! A cute dress on the hanger looks awful all bunched up round a babies armpits while their tights have slipped down to nappy level. And don’t get me started on baby boys in heavy denim jeans with thick bulky waistbands and deatailing… Which reminds me JEGGINGS on babies NO!!!! Rant over. I’m off for a lie down….

    1. So with you Philippa on the jeans and jeggings! A nice alternative are knitted leggings with a picture on the bottom – love them! We did sleepsuits until our baby was about 4 months old and I still prefer an all in one romper – they can dress in jeans and chinos and shirts when they’re men and women ?

      1. I’m with you guys! I made the mistake of putting Molly is a dress when she was a few months old and quickly removed it as she looked ridiculous! x

  12. I think H&M is great for the essential newborn bits, they get dirty so quickly it’s hard to justify spending too much {though I did but some lovely bits from Boden and John Lewis too} I found they were the only place I could find leggings with feet {socks are a nightmare with babies!} which my little boy lived in. I love the hats in Zara baby too πŸ™‚ xx

    1. Oh yes, I had some great leggings from H&M. I forgot about them and they always came with a cute matching bodysuit too x

  13. I found cardigans with a hood are great if your baby has a funny shaped head and/or doesn’t like hats. Also a lot of the shops are really good at exchanging baby clothes without receipts if you end up with too much of a certain size. Better to have a gift receipt or swap it for a bigger size!

  14. I would just add that instead of getting newborn you get the up to one month suits and vests, last a lot longer than newborn and many babies can go in them straight away if over the 8pound mark!

  15. Morning! This is such a lovely read and super informative! Two of my best friends are due in the next month and I just know they will love this! Thank you so much for sharing! Toni xx

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