The weather keeps getting cooler, and now you’ve got to figure out how to keep your new baby warm, but not too warm. It’s tricky to find just the right balance of warmth, comfort, and convenience.
Babies aren’t able to keep their bodies warm like older kids and adults. They also aren’t able to cool themselves down as quickly. Layers are key this time of year. Look for layers that are easy to add and remove (hint: zippers are a lot easier than snaps).
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Keeping Your Baby Warm at Home
The general rule for figuring out how many layers your baby needs is to give him or her one more layer than you have on. Even inside the house, if you have on long sleeves, your baby may need an extra sweater or blanket to be warm.
In the crib, experts recommend that you not use any blankets until your child is more than 12 months old. Fleece footed sleepers are often warm enough. If it’s especially cool at night, you can use a long-sleeved onesie with a wearable blanket over top, or add a cotton onesie under a footed sleeper.
A flannel fitted crib sheet can add an extra layer of warmth.
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Keeping Your Baby Warm Outside
On crisp fall days, it’s still great to take your baby out for some fresh air. Make sure your baby has a hat that covers their ears, along with mittens and warm socks or booties. Add in a sweater or coat if it’s really chilly. For a walk in the stroller, you can tuck a blanket around your child’s legs to keep him or her warm.
If you prefer to carry your baby in a pack or sling, your body heat will keep them warm, and they won’t need as many extra layers. A hat is still necessary for outside, even in a carrier.
For the really cold winter days, it’s best to limit your baby’s time outside. When you do go out, you will need to layer your baby, usually with a cotton shirt and pants, followed by a snowsuit or bunting. The difference between a snowsuit and bunting is that a snowsuit has legs, while a bunting is more like a wearable blanket. These usually have hood that you’ll want to make sure is pulled up to snugly cover your baby’s head and ears.
Keeping Your Baby Warm in Between and in The Car
Your baby’s carseat straps will not fit safely with coats, snowsuits, or buntings on underneath. It adds extra time, but you need to put on outer layers after you take your baby out of the carseat.
Once strapped into the carseat, you can tuck a blanket around your baby until the car is warm. Remember to remove blankets or extra layers once inside. Your baby can easily get overheated as well.
When you’re traveling between the house and car or from the car into a store, you can buy a carseat cover or use a blanket. You can find ones that fit over strollers as well. These help block cold winds or snow, keeping your baby toasty.
Regularly check on your baby to look for signs that he or she is too hot or too cold. Check fingers, toes, and ears, which should be slightly cool. If your baby’s fingers look white, that’s a sign of frostnip, and you need to warm them right away. If your baby looks red, flushed, or sweating, it’s time to remove some layers and let them cool down.
Cold weather requires a lot of extra gear in your diaper bag, but if you keep regular checks on your baby and adjust according to your comfort level, you’ll make it through just fine.
For more than a century, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital has provided high-quality medical care to women at all stages of life. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes Magee as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. More than 9,000 babies are born each year at Magee. The hospital also treats men for a variety of conditions, including surgical treatment. The Magee-Womens Research Institute was the first center to focus research only on conditions involving women and their infants.