As the weather turns cooler and winter approaches I always have a moment (or two) where I panic, wondering if I have the right winter gear for our children. Before I purchase every possible type of winter clothing, I try to think through what will really be needed for our little ones.
Are you wondering what winter gear is essential for a baby? Before making a big purchase, you’ll want to ask yourself these questions:
What does winter weather in my area typically entail?
How often do I anticipate being outdoors with my baby and what will we be doing while outside?
While answers will likely vary by location, having a good idea of what your winters are like and just how much you’ll be outside throughout the winter will help you stock up only on items baby needs.
Take a look at these four types of winter clothing to make sure you have just the right clothing for your little one.
Layers, Layers, and More Layers
Layering babies in warm clothing is always a good alternative to purchasing high-end winter gear.
This is especially true for the family who doesn’t anticipate daily outside play but may schedule the occasional sledding outing each winter. Having appropriate cold-weather layers is also an easy alternative for families who don’t live in areas that receive bitter winters with lots of snow.
When preparing layers, you’ll want to have a base layer, a layer for warmth, and an outer layer to provide wind protection. For example, try bundling a baby in a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, a fleece jacket, and a windbreaker. These layers are enough for even very chilly days.
When traveling with a baby in a car seat, you’ll want to make sure you only put on a shirt and sweatshirt. Bring along the fleece and windbreaker to put on when you reach your destination. Too many layers while baby’s in a car seat mean you won’t be able to get his straps secure enough to be safe.
Winter Coats and Buntings
Before purchasing a winter coat, give some thought to the baby's age and mobility level.
For infants who will always be in car seats when outdoors, a winter coat might not be necessary. Instead, consider purchasing a car seat cover, which gives the benefit of a warm blanket and the wind protection of a winter coat. Do note: Car seat covers should not be underneath the baby (in-between baby and the back of the seat), but only on the upper part of the car seat so as not to interfere with the car seat straps.
For infants who will be in a baby carrier or wrap, you’ll want a more substantial winter coat or snowsuit. While there are many types, a down jacket will make strapping a baby into a front or back carrier much easier as it compresses without extra material in the way.
For older babies or babies who will be mobile outside in the snow, a one-piece snowsuit is most convenient. For the walking baby, consider having him wear footie pajamas underneath a snowsuit so his ankles aren’t exposed in-between his snowsuit and boots.
A good winter hat is a must-have for a baby of any age.
For babies who will be in infant carriers, a lined knit hat will be plenty warm. For babies who will be in front or back carriers or who are mobile enough to explore outside, you’ll want to have at least two hats in case one gets dirty or wet.
The perfect winter hat is a combination of warm (at least two layers, usually an inner fleece layer as well as an outer layer) and cover. For the coldest winter locations, look for hats that sit low on the baby's forehead and has ear flaps to cover more area.
Gloves and Mittens
For most babies, a pair of mittens are more useful than gloves (and much easier to put on).
In cold-weather locations, you’ll want to make sure you have mittens for infants in car seats as well as multiple pairs for older babies. If you plan to put your baby in a snowsuit, you can reduce how much gear you’re purchasing by selecting one that has mitten flaps integrated into the suit. This will make putting on winter gear easier and reduce your chances of losing little mittens.
Of course, each situation and each baby’s temperature preferences vary slightly. If you’re going to be outdoors for the baby, especially for a prolonged period of time, make sure you are checking regularly that he is warm enough.