If you’d asked me a couple of months ago exactly how to dress your baby for cold weather, I think I would have had a much different answer compared to today. I would have been far more casual about the whole thing. “Just bundle them up”, I’d say. No big deal.
This all changed however when I took Georgia (then about 11 months) on a hike in freezing temperatures. It was just the two of us on “Green Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving), and I had visions of bonding and enjoying the outdoors with my youngest. I thought I’d done a great job preparing. I arrived to the trailhead early to beat the crowds, I brought plenty of snacks, and I packed what I thought was a sufficient amount of layers to dress her for the cold weather; base layers, a fleece jacket, wool pants, a fleece hat, wool socks, little leather shoes, and mittens were NOT enough.
She whimpered off and on for a while at the beginning of the hike, but I carried on thinking she’d settle in, and begin the enjoy herself. I also had high hopes of her falling asleep, which would have equaled me almost having some solo time on the trail to think, really take in the scenery, and snap photos without interruption.
None of those pleasant experiences happened though. My little girl complained (one way or another) for the duration of the hike. Friends and family asked why I didn’t just call it a day at the beginning. Call me STUBBORN, but I thought if I stuck it out, things would improve. Maybe after she nursed and had snack? Nope. Maybe after she got out of the carrier & moved around a bit? Nope. Maybe she would wear herself out and nap? That just never happened.
Once home safe and sound (and warm) with Georgia peacefully napping in her crib, I did some reflecting, and realized that yes, I’m painfully admitting, I had failed to keep her warm. She was COLD, and she was trying to let me know that she was NOT happy about it!
The good news is, I learned my lesson, and since implementing a more rigorous dressing routine, we haven’t heard a peep of discontent! Our outdoor time together has improved greatly because I thoughtfully considered the situation, and figured out how to dress the baby for cold weather so that she’s most comfortable. I’ve broken down our method into 6 steps, plus a few bonuses for various circumstances and scenarios, but the big takeaway is this: Figure out what works best for your baby.
We don’t recall Bergen (our 4-year old) being so sensitive to the cold, so everything here may not have been necessary for him. Hopefully though this will provide some guidelines and ideas for making your baby as comfortable as possible when it’s cold outside!
How to Dress Baby for Cold Weather
- Cover top and bottom with a non-cotton base layer. We recommend merino wool or soft polyester fabric. Both will keep baby warm, and wick away moisture from the skin. Our pick:
- Cover top half with a fleece or wool layer. Our picks:
- Cover bottom half with a fleece or wool layer. Our pick:
- Protect feet with wool socks AND fleece-lined booties. Our picks:
- Seal in all the warm and add extra coziness with a fleece suit/bunting. Hands stay warm with this bunting too since their are fold over “mittens” built in. The ends of the legs fold over as well for even more coverage for the feet. Our pick:
- Last but not least, cover that head! We’ve had issues with hats staying on Georgia’s head–either falling off or being taken off by her grabby hands. We solved all that with the Urban Baby Bonnet SkiBonnet. She received this for her birthday, and we love it!
- Rain or snow? Add a waterproof layer. The Columbia bunting is two pieces (fleece layer + waterproof layer), and works great for this purpose.
- Riding in the stroller? Add a waterproof/fleece blanket. We always use our Rugged Idea waterproof blanket, but Rain or Shine Kids also has some great options.
- Using a soft structured carrier like the ergo? Add 1 more warm layer with the Kowalli Cover (review here) or Joey Jacket (review here).
See some of the gear in action, plus get a closer look at our favorite pieces here!
Tell us about your favorite gear options for keeping kids warm in the winter!
Note: Links to our affiliates (REI & Amazon) are included in this post in case you’re interested in purchasing some of the items that we use and love. When you purchase through our links, we receive a small commission that goes toward keeping the blog running. Thank you for your consideration!
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