Very trivial baptism problem...but still need advice


Hi Everyone,
I am knew on this board and a newly converted Catholic (still in RCIA). I have a “problem” and would like some casual opinions.

I have a newborn baby boy who is scheduled to be baptized in 2 weeks and I need help deciding on his outfit.

When my niece was baptized (Protestant) two years ago I had my wedding gown made into a baptismal gown for her. My sister is unmarried and I wanted my niece to have something really special. My thought at the time was that I could use it for my children…now I am not too sure. First, the gown is way to big for my 10lb baby boy as my niece was a very big 9 month old at the time of her baptism. Second, it is ivory and all lace roses with crystal accents and three tiny lavender bows on the bodice (very very feminine).

Here are my options:

  1. Dress my boy in the oversized, ivory gown and have him baptized in a garment that has been part of two important ceremonies.

  2. Buy a more masculine baptism gown and alternate between the two gowns depending on the sex of our future children

  3. Have him baptized in a nice white outfit. I found some cute longalls with matching shoes that would look quite nice. My husband likes this option best, but it doesn’t feel very traditional to me.

You see, silly question, but I do not have any Catholic friends yet and need some “coffee talk” advice.


**Silly question, but do you have any more of your wedding dress fabric to make another outfit more suitable for a boy?



I had to laugh at this.

There are some really cute “boy” baptism outfits available. Since my husband would never see any of his boys caught dead in a “dress,” the pantsuit was the option we went with, no debate or discussion whatsoever. :smiley:

If you want that more traditional look for photos, etc., maybe you can also pick up a white satin blanket (not something I’d ever recommend normally!!!) Depending on how it’s wrapped, it’ll still sort of drape off him and look a bit longer and fuller than the pants…



Can you retro-fit the wedding gown dress? My daughter was baptized in a gown made in 1873 – all white work. The neckline and bodice had draw strings in them to tighten up the fit for small babies and open it up for bigger ones.

That gown was “feminine” by contemporary standards but, I assure you, at least 9 fine men had been baptized in it. Our daughter was number 22 and there have been 6 others behind her! Great tradition.


The outfit for baptism is up to you. More and more today families are opting for a pants outfit for baby boys. I’m still a traditional gown gal myself but as long as it’s white that’s what matters. Decide whether you intend to use the baptismal garment again for future children and buy something that can be cleaned and that will last.


My opinion?

Go with option #3. Get a “little boy” outfit. They sell Baptismal Outfits for boys that aren’t gowns. Some are just what you described seeing.

When you have more children, if they are boys you can get them baptized in the same little man outfit and start a new tradition for the boys of the family. Give it to your oldest son for his sons and so on and so forth.

Are there any pieces left over from the wedding gown? You could always have a little suit made out of it. Or your veil could be used as well. Just a little lace in the pocket of a suit would be cute.

It’s the baptism that’s important. No matter what, don’t wait until he can fit into the special gown to have him baptized. I know people who have done that. Stay focused on what’s important. The baptism itself. Hope it’s a wonderful day!


Actually, it doesn’t NEED to be white. Catholic churches these days frequently give you a little white garment as part of the ceremony.


I guess I’m used to our church. Our babies are baptised in regular clothes and presented with their white baptismal garments (their own baptismal gown/suit) at the appropriate time in the ceremony. Then the babies are taken to be dressed in the baptismal garment and brought back for the presentation of the baptismal candle and the ephpheta rite.


IMHO, a traditional gown is so special, I’d go for that.


gown you made sounds beautiful, and in some cultures, tradition no matter what the gender of the baby is for an elaborate white gown, could be ivory, love the wedding dress idea.

my sister offered to make a gown, even with more masculine tuck pleats or embroidery, but SIL said no son of his would be baptized in a dress, so he just wore a onesie, satin, and booties.

first find out if the child will be immersed, in which case just a onsie and diaper, which can easily be removed, then usually parent takes him aside to dress in “white garment” which can be suit, sleeper, sweepea gown, onsie or whatever. The parishe usually provides the symbolic “white garment” so it does not even have to be white clothing although it is traditional.

in short, no problema, godparents choose in some cultures, but it comes down to what mommy wants for the child.


You’ve gotten great advice. As you can see there is no “right” or “wrong” here. It’s just a matter of what you and your husband want to do.

I’ll just add that baptismal garments that have been handed down from generation to generation tend to be very frilly and “feminine” looking.

When my siblings and I were baptized (back in the late 50’s and early 60’s my parents just had the girls in a white dress and the boys in little white suits. When my kids were baptized we had a new gown that was designed for boys but my daughters also used it. We dressed it up with a pretty sweater and frilly bonnet. We found out later that my husband’s (Protestant) family had an heirloom gown that we could have used. Oh well.


Me too - this is a lovely tradition! Find a seamstress who can make alterations to the gown to make it less feminine and a better fit, and you will be carrying on a tradition that may last for many generations after you are gone. :slight_smile:



Unless Dad is really hung up on his son wearing a “girl’s” gown, I’d go with the gown, unless you’re immersing him. Then, he doesn’t need much of anything until after he’s dry.


I’d go for the gown, either altered or not. Our children–boys and girls-- have all been baptised in a family gown.

It seems there was another thread like this…

There are links in the thread with pictures of boys in gowns, just as some examples.

God bless,


As someone that baptizes babies for living (Well not really but I which I could spend 24/7 doing this :smiley: ). The only consideration about what to put on your baby is this: Please make sure the priest or deacon that is going to perform the ceremony has easy access to the chest of your baby. Part of the rite involves anointing with oil over their chest and if they wear something with a tight neck line it makes the whole process very difficult (which might get the baby in a bad mood). Other than this your baby can wear anything you like. I hope this helps…

In His love…



I heartily agree with the above since I too am a deacon. During the rite, your child will receive a white garment…usually a bib to be placed over whatever your child is dressed in…the white garment signifies that they are a new creation have put on Christ through baptism. Congratulations on the birth of your child, and upcoming baptism. Welcome little one!


While that happens in your church, it hasn’t been the case in any parish I’ve been in. What I’ve seen repeatedly, with my own three as well as many others, is the priest touch the baby with a piece of white cloth (looked like a purificator), completely ignoring the white garment baby was already wearing. Nothing was ever given to the child to wear.


We had an all white pant suit for our boys down to the little white shoes. We didn’t have any heirlooms in the family and I didn’t even think about using the wedding gown.


Perhaps, you could ask the pastor why this is the case.If it is cost prohibitive for your parish to supply these small white bibs, perhaps If you have an altar and rosary society, or a women’s guild or even a Holy Name group, approach them and ask them if they would like to sponsor the purchase or the sewing of a garment to be given to each infant. Many parishes do this as their service to the newly baptized.


In our parish the child is baptized in regular clothes if by pouring, or naked if by immersion (the choice is the parents’ to make). When the family & sponsors approach the font, the godmother carries the baptismal garment (gown or suit) the parents have chosen for their child. When the baby has been baptized, the garment is presented to him/her at the time the words “See in this white garment…” are spoken. The child is then taken aside to be dressed in the garment then brought back for the presentation of the baptismal candle and the Ephpheta rite. If the child is older and the family has opted not to use their own white garment, the child is dressed in an alb at this time.

I don’t understand the need for a bib or anything else if the child is already dressed in a white garment – the rite certainly doesn’t suggest ignoring the white garment the child is wearing.

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