You wouldn’t think the simple act of taking a baby outside would be difficult. Generations of people before us have managed it! But, when you factor in cold or wind or rain or snow, you start to look at that tiny pink or blue bundle that relies on you for protection, and start to worry.
I have spent 8 years researching and testing baby clothing and baby outerwear, and children's outerwear trying to find the perfect set up for cold weather. I think I finally got it right with baby girl number four and in case you don’t want to go through the trial and error I did, some of what I learned may help you.
First of all, dress winter babies in about the same number of layers you are wearing. A newborn’s ability to regulate body temperature is not well developed so you need to pay special attention to how they are dressed. Layers are important. To avoid a big bulky set up that they scream in because they can’t move freely, spend a bit more and buy them what you are wearing. Whether you are a fan of capilene or wool, versions of these impressive heat retaining and heat regulating fabrics are available for baby. Take a look at Icebreaker or Patagonia.
Also, pay special attention to hands, feet and head. The best baby socks we’ve found are the SmartWool baby socks. The socks stay on and are thick and comfortable along with being extremely warm. As the temperature drops, you should consider a hat (even when you are indoors) to keep babies bald-ish head warm. Of course, each and every child of mine learned the art of taking off their hats immediately so we had to invest in hats with chin ties.
OK, now that we’ve taken care of babies winter clothing, let’s talk about baby outerwear. I have found one piece snowsuits work best – there aren’t any gaps for cold or snow to penetrate. So many one piece snowsuits are so bulky, however, that baby can’t move or crawl. I love the Columbia down snowsuit for tiny, newborn babies because it is so warm but not bulky. If baby is going to be crawling in wet snow, however, this is not the best choice as it will get soaked. Once they are mobile and actively playing, look for waterproof or water resistant fabrics. Deux par Deux baby snowsuits and Reima baby snowsuits are both excellent choices for busy babies and toddlers.
Baby winter footwear can be another source of trouble. Most baby booties aren’t warm enough to have baby go for an extended stroller ride let alone sit and play in the snow. Toddler boots are so stiff that babies can’t walk in them. We have found Molehill Mountain’s Baby Booties to be the best for both newborn babies and toddlers. When combined with Smartwool baby socks and their normal shoes, their feet stay dry and warm.
Baby hats should not only cover the ears, but also provide a double layer of protection over the ears and across the forehead. We love Deux par Deux baby hats because they are made from soft, warm materials, tie under the chin and are traffic stopping cute! For extremely cold weather, consider a baby balaclava like the Reima Balaclava to keep their delicate cheeks protected from frostbite. Mottled skin or pale cheeks may be a sign a baby is too cold.
Without a doubt, the hardest thing to figure out is baby mittens. I still have problems with this one! If your baby is still tiny and not using their hands, you can use the fold over cuffs on their snowsuit or bunting. The Molehill Mountain Infant mitten is thumbless and lined with a soft fleece which is great for an extra layer of protection. Anytime a finger or thumb is separated from the rest, it gets cold. The Columbia Chippewa mitten is great because of the zippered wrist making it easy to get on and off. Reima is also a top choice for baby and toddler mittens. Both of these are insulated and feature a weather resistant shell. However, I have yet to pull a mitten off a baby hand and have it be warm! I will let you know when that happens!
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