Winter is a love/hate season for many of us, with days that can bring long stretches of bitter cold, biting wind, ice, and snow. Even in the warmest of winter locations, unfavorable cold rain and dreary weather is a common occurrence. With even the best of intentions, getting out and about with Baby is a challenge. If the temperatures drop enough, it can be downright dangerous if you’re not properly prepared.
Luckily, there are ways to work with the cold that keep baby safely warm, and both of you from developing the dreaded cabin fever from spending too many days stuck inside. It’s time to embrace the cold weather, and enjoy all that the winter season has to offer.
Read More: Winter Safety Tips for Kids
9 Tips to Keep Your Baby Warm this Winter
Just as adults layer when the temperatures drop or fluctuate, it’s important to layer Baby in appropriate, warm clothing as well. In the coldest of climates, this means layering from the bottom up, with appropriate materials that wick moisture and retain heat. Starting with a pair of thick tights, layer a pair of pants, a onesie, and a sweater. Finish with a down snowsuit, or a bunting, to insure that Baby remains cozy warm. Complete the cold-weather ensemble with warm boots, a full-coverage hat, and mittens.
If you’re using a baby carrier, consider a winter baby carrier cover to provide extra warmth and waterproof protection.
A good rule of thumb: whatever you’re wearing, Baby needs one additional layer. Check their bellies for a temperature gauge…if their skin is cold to the touch, add layers. Avoid using their hands or feet as temperature gauges, as a baby’s circulation is not as good as adults and it’s common for their extremities to feel cold despite their body temperature being fine. On the contrary, to ensure that all of these layers don’t cause Baby to overheat, check their core for signs of sweat. If they are, simply peeling off one layer should bring them right back down to normal.
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Wool is best
As stated above, appropriate materials are key for proper layering. When it comes to keeping Baby warm, wool by far exceeds any other base-layer material. Moisture-wicking and heat retaining yet highly breathable, wool is soft on Baby’s skin and keeps them safely warm and protected.
Don’t fear that dreaded itch that we often associate with wool. For babies, it doesn’t tend to cause itchy skin, despite your own misgivings or experiences. Look for quality, soft, brushed wool if you’re worried about irritating your little one’s skin. If you’re still on the fence about woolen wear, thick, brushed cotton flannel is just as warm. Otherwise thick, knitted cotton is warm, soft, and highly breathable for Baby.
Don’t forget car seat safety
It’s a well known fact that bundling up Baby in plush winter gear is a no-go for car seat safety. It is perfectly fine, however, to layer up your little one in warm clothing—so long as the straps remain tight and in proper placement on the baby. If you’re nervous about proper placement of straps with the addition of thicker winter clothing, you can always check with your local car seat specialist to feel confident with your strap alignment.
Keep extra blankets handy in the car to layer over Baby. Bring along all the additional needed clothing (snowsuits, jacket, scarf, etc.) for when you get to your destination.
Get the best in smart gear
For small babies, a front baby carrier against your own warm body, layered underneath your warm coat, is an excellent way to help Baby regulate their body temperatures in the winter. Front carriers can keep babies tucked safely against you in any element. Look for a winter coat that fits over you and your baby—there are ones designed specifically for fully zipping over a baby in a carrier.
For older babies that no longer fit in a front carrier, or if you simply need the freedom of no carrier, baby strollers outfitted with warm blankets and a lined bunting, with Baby in a cozy, warm suit, will keep your little one safe against the harsh winter elements. With all of these layers, just make sure to check their core temperature when you head indoors for any prolonged period of time.
A convenient diaper bag also makes storing and carrying extra layers easy. Consider a convertible backpack diaper bag for extra ease of use.
Keep the extremities covered
This one is hard, we know. Babies love to kick off their boots, or toss their mittens…and you can forget about keeping a hat on! But their little fingers, toes, and head need to be protected. For their little hands, mittens retain heat the best. Look for ones with lining, and with long wrists that extend up the arm. Consider a clip that goes around the back and through each sleeve, so that even if Baby does throw them, they don’t get lost. Hats with straps under the chin, and boots with adjustable velcro, can help to keep your little one from taking them off.