Preparing for your baby is an exciting adventure, no matter the time of year. Whether your baby is due in the fall, winter, spring, or summer, there are a lot of things to prepare for. In the top ten of that to-Google list is how to dress your newborn for the weather.
Spring and summer are a little less challenging when picking clothes for your newborn. You can often just put them in a lightweight onesie, and you’re done. However, the cold weather in winter and fall means that dressing your newborn can be a little more complicated.
Newborns can’t regulate their temperature like adults can, so it’s easier for them to get too hot or too cold. Helping your baby stay warm and cozy in the winter can be made simpler by keeping a few things in mind.
How To Keep Your Newborn Warm in Winter
Dressing a newborn for the winter weather comes down to one thing: layers. By layering your newborn’s clothes, you can help them remain warm in winter.
The number of layers you should put on your newborn will depend on how cold it is. Usually, it’s best to dress your baby in one more layer than you are comfortable in. When you’re feeling cold, your baby is probably feeling cold as well.
Check the Thermostat
Inside the home, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If possible, keep your home temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit — the Goldilocks temperature. One or two layers should be enough for your baby to stay warm.
Or, if you and your little one need some skin-to-skin bonding time, you can cover yourself and your little one with a blanket.
Work With Layers
Does this situation sound familiar? You look outside in the morning; it’s dreary and gray. You confidently slip on a gorgeous, thick cashmere top. But… by noon, it’s 75 degrees, and you sweat through your dry-clean-only sweater. We’ve all been there. That’s why layers are key.
If you’re taking your baby outside, start with the basics — aka layers. It’s usually best to start with a onesie. Thin, breathable layers like cotton that is GOTS Certified Organic are ideal.
After the onesie, you can add a layer of footies or a long-sleeved shirt and pants. If it’s really chilly, you may want to consider a thicker jacket or a snowsuit, which are made to keep body heat in.
Cover your baby’s head with a high-quality (and adorable) hat, socks, booties, gloves, or mittens. Both babies and adults lose a significant amount of body heat through their heads, and feet and hands are at risk for frostbite in extreme outdoor elements.
If your newborn is a preemie, they will probably need another extra layer or so until their body weight is about the same as a full-term baby.
How Do Layers Help Babies Stay Warm?
Layering your clothes or your baby’s clothes provides insulation. It keeps too much cold from getting in and body heat from getting out. As the body heat gets trapped between layers, it helps keep us warm even when the snow flurries start.
That’s why winter coats are usually bulky: Outerwear is typically made with multiple layers to help keep the heat in and the cold out.
Most adults can regulate their body temperature on their own, but babies use their calorie intake to grow instead of keeping themselves warm. Plus, physical exertion to keep themselves warm isn’t an option — which makes layers the best option for a newborn in winter.
Dressing your baby in multiple layers can be a struggle, especially if your little one likes to wiggle around. Plus, sometimes there are just days when our babies seem to patiently wait to have a diaper blowout until just as we head out the door. In that case, you need layers that can move as fast as you do.
With a Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit from Tabeeze, you can slip that first layer on (and off) quickly. Unlike traditional onesies, Tabeeze slides down feet-first, so there’s less mess and fewer tears (for everyone involved). Getting out the door with a baby can feel like a marathon, so we’re grateful for a shortcut now and again.
Dressing for Winter Travel
There are different ways to dress your newborn depending on your mode of travel, whether you need to go for a ride in the car, take a walk with a baby carrier, or go for a stroller ride.
When driving with your baby in the car, consider the vehicle’s internal temperature. You don’t want your baby to get too hot (hello, fussy meltdown), so monitor the thermostat reading and signs from your tiny co-pilot.
Can Babies Wear Snowsuits in a Car Seat?
Not really —the bulkiness of the snowsuits makes it difficult to fit the harness of the car seat correctly. Car seat straps should always be snug, and marshmallow-puffy jackets can get in the way, which is why we love these nifty solutions:
When taking your little one for a car ride, blankets and car seat covers are your friends. A wearable blanket can work as that extra layer your baby needs. You can put it over the harness so that the straps are snug, but babies still get the insulation they need to preserve their body heat.
Additionally, you can keep your baby warm in their car seat with a car seat cover. It should fit over the top with a hole for the baby’s face since other products can make it difficult to buckle the harness properly.
It’s also much easier to take off a blanket if the car is too warm than to worry about removing a snowsuit and putting it back on again.
Stroller and Carrier Protocol
One great way to keep your baby warm in a baby carrier is to dress them appropriately. It’s no secret that babies love skin-to-skin contact. You can make your winter voyage around the block more pleasant by sporting a baby-wearing coat. Or, you can opt for a panel that extends the front of your coat so that your body heat helps your little one stay warm.
When baby-wearing, your baby’s face should always be uncovered so that you can keep an eye on them. Check that their chin isn’t touching their chest so that they don’t have any difficulty breathing.
If you are taking your newborn out in a stroller, you can put them in as many layers as needed, and they can wear a snowsuit. Gloves, hats, and booties may also be part of your baby’s wardrobe. If your little one isn’t walking quite yet (and weather-permitting), socks alone may be fine.
What Should My Baby Wear To Sleep in the Winter Months?
For new parents, dressing your baby for bedtime is much easier than dressing your newborn to go out into the cold weather. Since you can regulate the house temperature with a heater, one or two layers are usually fine.
There are plenty of options for sleepwear that keeps your baby comfortable. You can put your baby in footies or a long-sleeve onesie, and you can put them in a sleep sack, which functions like a blanket, without a blanket’s potential hazards. Swaddling in a sleep bag is another good option (at least until your baby starts to roll over).
All Is Warm; All Fits Right
Wintertime is a beautiful time of year, especially when you’re expecting your new baby. However, the cold weather calls for extra attention to a newborn’s wardrobe.
Working with the context of the “plus one” rule is a great way to start with the basics. Then, adding in a temperature-controlled home, car-seat safety practices, and safe-sleeping guidelines can help make your winter cheery and bright.
Then, all that’s left is to gear up for the festivities!