The Newborn Baby Gift Guide {Clothing Essentials}

As a new mom, I’ve been asked on occasion by my non-mom friends about gift ideas for newborns.  I used to think that buying stuff for babies was a bit tricky because babies don’t really do much except eat and sleep.

The good news is that, despite their “limited” activity, there are a gajillion and one things that newborn babies actually need–essentials, if you’d like–so there are many options to choose from.  This list is an attempt to give you some suggestions, and narrow them down–whether it be for your own baby, or a relative’s or friend’s.  This is in no way a professional opinion, but more coming from my first hand experience and personal preference.

I’ve decided to devote this entire post first to clothing–the most practical and go-to present for many.  In my succeeding posts, I’ll run through other baby essentials such as items for feeding, playing, lounging, etc.


Onesies and Tie/Snap-sides: I really love looking at babies who look so fresh and clean.  My clothing of choice for A?  White, cotton tie/snap-sides and onesies.  Before she was born, I invested in a lot of these during a trip to Target in the US.  I think they are very practical and a staple in every baby’s wardrobe.

When I brought A home from the hospital for the first time, it was a bit scary for me to put the onesies over her head (I was afraid of suffocating her!) so the tie-sides were a great alternative.  Eventually, I got the hang of it, although I still preferred the ease of the tie/snap-sides.

What I love about these types of clothing is that it comes in short-sleeved, long-sleeved, or sleeveless versions :)!  In my case, however, A had a tendency to perspire easily so I stocked up on the short-sleeve and sleeveless kinds 🙂

If you’re giving these as a gift, go the extra mile and have them monogrammed or embroidered with a unique design!  I think having the baby’s name or initials sewn onto the garment makes it more personal and special :).

And here’s another tip–if you’re like me and you hate ill-fitting clothes even on babies, you can opt to buy preemie sizes instead of the newborn ones (depending ofcourse on the size of the infant).  When A was born, she was so tiny that the newborn onesies were totally huge on her!  I had to wait till she was about a month and a half old before she actually filled into her onesies.

Snap-Up PJ’s: Although I would not recommend these for sleeping, a baby can also use these for going out, especially when going to a place with air-conditioning or cooler climate.  Not only can it keep baby warm, but it can also protect from insect bites.  Just make sure you choose ones that snap rather than zip so that when you have to change the baby’s diaper, it will be much easier!  I got A’s PJ’s from Old Navy.  In Manila, you can find an assortment of PJ’s in Rustan’s and Mothercare.  Check out the selection at Dwell Studio too!  Their PJ’s are the cutest!

Sleep Gowns: One of the most precious things for both parents and a newborn baby is sleep.  Hahaha!  After long bouts of crying and feeding, once a baby’s eyes finally closes, you’ll want to keep them closed for as long as you can–hahaha!  In the case of A, trying to do that was a bit of a challenge because every single noise or movement, no matter how small, would wake her.  If you can keep these disturbances to a minimum, the better your chances of not waking a baby up from his or her slumber.

The trickiest part is at night.  I used to have A wear the snap up pajamas which I thought were sooooo cute, but really difficult to get her out of!  I don’t know how many times I woke her up trying to get her feet out of the leg area just so I could change her wet diaper :(.  That’s why when I came across sleep gowns, I thought they were just the best invention ever!  Hahaha–I know, exag!  Changing A at night became more of a breeze, and she could go on with her sleep being uninterrupted.  More sleep for A = more sleep for mama and dada!  Hahaha!  The best part is that some versions of the sleep gowns have garterized bottoms.  It keeps the gown from riding up during the baby’s sleep :).

Socks/Booties: These are very helpful in keeping baby’s toes nice and warm.  I prefer socks to booties, especially because they come in so many cute designs!  I really love the ones that look like Mary Janes or ballet flats–they add instant chic to A’s outfits!  Just make sure that they fit very well, though, otherwise they’ll keep falling off :(.

For everyday wear, I stock up on  a lot of plain white crew socks from Shoe Mart.  They sell it at extremely affordable prices so no need to feel guilty if you lose a pair!

Leg Warmers: Both functional and fashionable, leg warmers can be used to protect your newborn baby’s legs from mosquito bites.  When your baby gets older, it can also be used to protect his/her legs from scrapes when he/she is learning to crawl.  I got A Osh Kosh, Burlington and Pitcheco brand leg warmers.  They are available in the sock department of every major department store in Manila.

Mittens: Usually babies are born with very sharp nails, as in A’s case.  For fear that she may scratch herself and because I myself was scared to cut her nails, encasing her hands in mittens was a must!

Hats/Bonnets:  To protect baby’s head from “hamog“, especially at night, hats or bonnets are essential.  Again I got a whole bunch of them at SM where they come in all sorts of colors and designs!

Sweaters/Cardigans/Hoodies: It’s important to keep babies snug and warm. Otherwise, they can catch a cold and get sick.  A sick baby is not only painful to see for every parent, but also quite difficult to care for.  So making sure that they are always dressed appropriately for whatever kind of weather is key.

I always make sure that A has either a cardi or a hoodie packed in her baby bag just in case the temperature drops unexpectedly.  I prefer the ones that either zip or button in front, again, for the ease it brings.  They have really cute cardis in Zara, and I’ve also bought some from Debenham’s.  Recently, I went on a shopping spree in Mothercare, and they also have a wide selection of hoodies, cardis and sweaters, that any mom would go gaga over!

So there you have it–a list of clothing essentials for newborns.  Again, this is only the first in my Newborn Baby Gift Guide series.  Stay tuned to my blog for more upcoming posts on this topic!

I must thank my friend L, who gave me this fun and brilliant idea!  I had so much fun putting this list together!

*Photos via: Shiela Catilo, Old Navy,,,,,,,,


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