RiceIt’s that time of year again! The leaves have fallen from the trees and, while temperatures may be only moderately cool during the day, the nighttime chill tells you that winter is just around the corner. As you take your down coat out from storage, you’re probably wondering what gear is best for protecting baby from the cold and damp of winter. As a general rule, babies should wear one extra layer than you regardless of the weather. The reason is because their bodies have a harder time regulating temperature. So when the temperature cools down, dressing your baby in additional layers becomes especially important.

Beware of Overheating

Cooler weather often means contrasting temperatures indoors and outdoors. At home, you’ll need to gage what outerwear baby needs depending on where you set your thermostat and your baby’s level of activity (active crawlers and walkers can quickly work up a sweat!). Where it gets complicated, is when you make the transition from outdoors to indoors and the indoor environment is not a home setting. For example, when taking a trip to the mall or going for a long car ride, for example, you may want to remove baby’s outerwear to ensure she doesn’t overheat.

Overheating can be dangerous for babies, causing major discomfort, illness and, in extreme cases, even death. It’s therefore important to be aware of the signs of overheating. Babies can only communicate through crying when they are uncomfortable, but some just fall asleep when they are too warm. One way to tell if your baby is too hot is by checking the back of her neck. If it feels quite warm or has become clammy, remove any extra clothing right away.

Keep Material in Mind

When dressing your little one, keep the type of material in mind. Material that itches or maintains dampness will only make a fussy baby fussier. Instead, when selecting undergarments, tops and pants, choose material made from polyester rather than cotton. Polyester is less inclined to cling to the skin and will absorb any dampness caused by sweating.

For outerwear, consider how long baby will be outdoors. If you mainly just make trips from the car to indoors, you won’t need to invest in a one piece snowsuit. Although snowsuits are warm and comfortable, especially for extended time outdoors, they aren’t necessarily practical. For one, they offer no convenience for diaper changes and can be quite difficult to remove (especially if baby is asleep!).

Another thing to consider with one piece snowsuits, and any thick material, is they may not be suitable for the car seat. Thick layers of clothing such as snowsuits and some winter coats can make it difficult to adjust car seat straps to ensure they are not too loose and yet still comfortable for baby. Loose straps could cause serious injury in a car crash.

To avoid this dilemma, consider purchasing a thin winter coat or fleece snowsuit that can be worn over a couple layers of clothing without adding too much bulk. Or, if you do dress baby up in thick outerwear, remove it once you enter the car and instead cover her with blankets.

Another great option to keep baby warm in her car seat is to invest in a bunting bag. Bunting bags fit over the car seat or stroller, keeping baby warm and cozy without the need for coats, snowsuits or blankets that can easily fall off.

Additional warm winter must-haves include:

  • Knit or fleece hats with flaps at the ears.
  • Fleece sleepers with hood, attached feet and mittens.
  • Mittens without thumbs (for added warmth) and with Velcro closures (to keep them on).
  • Warm socks or booties (booties are best as socks tend to come off a baby’s foot easily).
  • Fleece blankets.

Once you’re equipped to meet baby’s special winter wardrobe needs, you can both turn your attention to discovering the wonders of the season and making memories together.