Keeping baby warm and happy when you’re out and about in cold weather

Your heart tells you to get out of the house with that new baby—get some fresh air, get some exercise, and introduce that sweet thing to the joys of trees and birds and smiling neighbors who generally make time for the new baby on the block. But sometimes the weatherman just doesn’t want to go along with your plans.

(What do you mean chance of flurries? Doesn’t he know I want to take a walk to the library today?)

Of course it’s your instinct to keep baby warm and cozy and protected at all times. So how do you go about it when the temperature is taking a dip? One word: Layers.

The rule of thumb is to keep babies in the same number of layers you have on, or one more if it makes them seem more comfy. But all babies are different, and you know yours best. Even so, keep in mind that babies lying prone or even sitting in a sling or carrier are not active and producing heat, so they sometimes need that extra bit of warmth.

When it’s really cold, start with a one piece snap suit in a breathable fabric like cotton and work outward from there—a long sleeved shirt, pants, socks that stay up, some warm booties and some outerwear. Don’t forget the mittens!

As for outerwear, fleece wicks away moisture if the elements make a sudden appearance; wool works just fine, but it can be irritating to an infant’s delicate skin. If the weather is really cold, make sure the top layer is wind and waterproof, like a baby snowsuit—but don’t forget to take it off before you strap baby in the car seat. You can look for insulated sleeping bags that are made specifically to attach to strollers in lieu of blankets. They unzip easily so that when you pop inside a café for a quick hot chocolate break, you keep the baby from getting too toasty.

Last but never least: The hat.

People—including babies—lose the most heat through their heads so even when it’s just a little breezy you’ll want to keep that little baby noggin covered. Good thing adorable and warm baby hats are easy to come by these days. You can even layer a cotton cap under a warmer hat or a hood. And a chin strap is always a nice touch to keep that hat right where it belongs.

If you’re out and about and you’re still worried about the baby’s temperature, then just do what comes naturally – touch her. If her nose is cold, she’s probably cold. If she seems flushed and a little moist, you could probably stand to remove a layer.

One day she’ll definitely be able to tell you exactly how she’s feeling. Until then, just use your instincts, keep her cozy and bundled, and enjoy her earliest introduction to the amazing world around her.

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