You can laugh at me as much as you want but yes, this was one of the questions I asked my very best friend Google when I was expecting my first baby. She was due early January so she was clearly going to be a winter baby. It was also one of the coldest winters in the past decades when I was 8 months pregnant and I had it 30 minutes walk to work every day. On ice. As the footpath was frozen solid with few centimetres thick layer of ice.
Is my baby warm or cold?
When your baby is born, one of the first things you need to learn is to assess if she’s cold or warm. Please, don’t assume that your baby is cold just because her hands are cold. Baby’s hands are cold quite often and it doesn’t automatically mean that the baby feels cold. If you want to be sure, touch the back of baby’s neck. Your hands shouldn’t be uncomfortably cold when doing it. If the back of baby’s neck is warm it means that your baby is ok, even if her hands are cold. In case you want to be extra sure, you can also touch baby’s back or chest. Your baby’s nose shouldn’t be too cold either.
If your baby’s hands are too cold but she seems to be warm enough (on the back of her neck, chest and back), you can give her little baby mittens to help warm her hands up. Some bodysuits with long sleeves have a folding at the end of the sleeve that can be put over baby’s hands. They’re very handy as mittens might be falling off baby’s hands often. There’s no need to put extra layer of clothes on your baby because of a cold hands.
Going outside with your new winter baby
Your baby needs fresh air and you should take her out every day unless the weather is completely awful. You can start taking your baby for walks as soon as you feel good enough to go for a walk yourself. Given that your baby is fine and healthy, of course. Your baby might be only few days old when going for her first walk outside. The rule is: Keep your baby warm but not hot. You might want to protect your baby from strong wind more than from cold air. Putting the rain cover over your buggy will help you do that. Even if it’s not raining.
If you’re carrying your baby in a carrier or wrap, make sure the wind isn’t blowing towards baby’s face. Usually the baby is very close to you, your own body will warm her up so she doesn’t need to be overdressed. In this case, get a baby wearing jacket and put it over yourself and your baby in winter.
Keep your baby warm but not too hot
When dressing your baby for a winter walk, start with usual indoor baby clothes like body suit, sleep suit (they’re so cute in them, aren’t they?) or T-shirt & trousers. Put on the winter suit and your baby is ready to go. In case it’s too cold, you can put extra layer under the winter suit or use a warmer jumper instead of a T-shirt over her body suit.
Little tip: When buying a winter suit, make sure it’s suitable for wearing in a car seat – 5-point harness can be put on over it.
Thick, warm winter suits are not necessary for a baby in a carrier, who’s being naturally warmed up by you and is under your own winter jacket. When your baby is going out in her pram, use a footmuff or warm baby blanket to protect her from cold air and wind. Check your baby often to make sure she’s comfortable. No two babies are the same, so it’s really up to you to figure out how many layers of clothes your baby needs.
Overdressing your baby might lead to overheating, sweating and than baby is more likely to catch a cold if she comes in contact with cold air. Less is sometimes better. My first baby was always happy with one layer less than I wore myself, but the second one needed extra layer on. I never needed a winter coat for my son during the “not yet walking” winter as baby blanket in the stroller was so warm that he would sweat each time I put a winter coat on him. You’ll soon figure out how much clothes to put on your own baby 🙂
Hat & scarf
Protect your baby from losing the body heat through her head. Babies need to wear hat when they’re outside in a cold weather. In comfortable room temperature (18-22 degrees) there’s no need to put a hat on. Even right after being born your baby doesn’t need a hat, skin to skin contact is much better and will help maintain baby’s temperature at a comfortable level.
When it comes to using scarfs in winter, little babies don’t need scarf as their neck is still too short. Simply cover baby’s chest to make sure there’s no cold air coming right onto it. Bigger baby or toddler can wear a neck warmer which is better than long scarf that might get too tight around the baby’s neck.
How about the shoes?
Babies that are not walking yet don’t need shoes. Keep their little feet warm by putting on warm socks or/and fabric booties. You can also get socks holders to make socks stay put on baby’s feet.
Enjoy your winter walks and don’t forget to take loads of pictures of your baby in those cosy little winter suits and hats 🙂