Babies are notoriously bad at self-regulating their body temperature. Those huge warming beds in the hospital nursery? The doctors and nurses use them to ensure babies don't get too cold just from being in a chilly nursery outside their mom's body for the first time. In cold winter months, it can be really challenging to know how to dress your baby. So many cute clothes are impractical in winter weather - and the temperature fluctuates when you come inside. With the heat blaring, now the fleece sweater ensemble you picked out is a sweaty mess. But keeping your baby at a reasonable temperature is all the more important in harsh weather.
Last winter, I brought a newborn home before Christmas with no idea how I would dress them. Should I leave their coats on in the car even though the heat will be blasting, too? Will my now-one-year-old need boots or can I get away with socks? When will my toddler need snow pants to play outside? While I don't know the answer to every question, I have learned some tricks that make winter dressing a (warm) breeze!
How To Dress Your Baby In Layers
Wearing several layers is a surefire way to cope with the wildly fluctuating temperatures of the winter months. Multiple layers can keep a baby warm in the snowy outdoors, while the long-sleeve base layer is perfect for playing inside. Generally, three layers plus a hat and mittens are enough to get by. Sometimes, outerwear can be the fourth layer as desired or for longer lengths of time outside. My kids wear a variation of the following: long-sleeve base shirt, vest or jumper over, with long pants. A hoodie or fleece coat completes the layering "method". On really cold days, we add a layer of outerwear to and from the car. My littlest wears a carseat poncho for convenience. As your baby gets warm, simply remove layers to help them maintain an average temperature. It's genius and so simple!
Baby Booties That Stay On Little Feet
Baby toes need a lot of protection to stay warm in the cold! Before they're walking around outside, your baby will only need booties and socks to stay cozy. Booties are a great way to transition from the car to inside, and some even work well with early walkers! They're also designed specifically to stay on feet that kick and squirm and wriggle, no matter what. Moms who have lost a shoe or sock or boot to a wild infant can relate: a shoe that stays on is worth its weight in gold. As far as I can tell on Amazon, Zutano fleece booties are the best for stay-on power.
For older toddlers, snow boots are appropriate for outdoor winter play time. To get from the car to the door, a standard shoe will do just fine. I try (it's a futile effort) to keep socks on my toddler at home. I guess he just likes cold toes?
Outerwear Options For Babies In Cold Weather
While dressing in layers and keeping toes warm can really help retain body heat, nothing can hold off a winter wind except proper outerwear. My newborn didn't spend too much time outside last winter. This year, she's one year old and walking - so we're going to venture outside for playtime. Of course, she needs a proper jacket - possibly a pair of snow pants, depending on how active we'll be outside. My toddler has snow pants and a jacket to match, and both have mittens and hats to layer those bits.
While snow pants and coats are needed for playtime, a quick dash into the supermarket only warrants something simple to use with a car seat. I personally prefer car seat ponchos - my kids both have one, and I get compliments every time they wear them inside. No matter what, make sure you test that coat to know it's car seat safe outerwear.
Don't Let The Baby Overheat
No matter how cold it might be, babies can overheat if they're too heavily bundled. That overheating is just as dangerous as overexposure to the elements for delicate winter babies! When dressing your baby in layers, be mindful of the room temperature and remove layers as needed. If your baby is sweaty, remove layers to help them cool down faster. To avoid this kind of overheating, try dressing baby in natural fibers like cotton or wool. They're generally more breathable than synthetic fibers, which means overheating is less likely.
It might seem challenging to keep a fragile baby cozy in the chilly winter months. With a little planning and a few smart purchases, your baby will stay perfectly comfortable until the first day of spring!
What ways have you kept your baby warm in the winter months? Tell me more on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3 with #DressWarmBaby.