Unless you live in super warm climes, we know that heading outside with your baby during the winter months can be a bit challenging. Like you don’t already have enough baby gear as it is, now you’ve got to add hats and boots and blankets (oh my!) to the mix. But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming, especially when you know what you’ll actually need — and what you don’t. Take it from us, we’ve lived through six winters with our combined six children and we’re still here to tell the tale.
1. Get a bunting.
Cozy blankets are great for layering, but if it’s really cold, you don’t want to worry about keeping those little feet tucked into strollers and car seats, let alone a strong wind blowing it straight off. That’s where a bunting comes into play. There are ones especially made for carseat carriers (also called stroller bags or stroller sacs) so you can zip the baby up in warmth, then easily unbuckle her when it’s time to come out.
Just know that safety experts warn that thick buntings can interfere with the optimal effectiveness of a harness as a safety device in the car. So consider using yours when the car seat is on the stroller, and stick with blankets (or an unsecured bunting) in the car.
2. Hats hats hats!
For decades we’ve believed that nearly half your body heat is lost through the head, and now that myth has been debunked. But that doesn’t mean to forgo a hat in the winter — babies can’t regulate their own body heat until they’re about 6 months old. Plus, who wants to think of those little heads getting cold? Fortunately one of the easiest baby items to find is super cute, toasty warm hats. If your baby is grabby or fussy, consider one with a strap of some kind so it actually stays on her head. And consider fleece, which wicks away moisture.
3. Dress in layers
You probably already know that babies can get easily overheated, so they don’t necessarily need the thick blanket or heavy coat, unless it’s really frigid out. It’s ideal to dress them in layers so that you can easily regulate their temperature — no one wants to stuck under a down blanket and a wool sweater when you step out of the cold into a heated cafe, least of all a baby. (And of course pack extras in case you encounter the dreaded diaper blow out.)
4. Mittens all the way
If you value your sanity, stay away from gloves until your kids are old enough to spell “gloves.” You can slip mittens easily on and off without fighting those tiny hands. Best for babies: The thumbless mittens that will save you tons of frustration all while keeping your little’s hands toasty. Tuck them in under a fitted jacket sleeve and they should stay put.
5. The Boots Are Made for Pre-Walking
As much as those cool, lace-up unlined boots look, they’re really not ideal for winter weather. Grab a simple, warm, slip-on baby boot, preferably lined with something furry and soft. That way you can can just slide them on and pop them off when you’re inside again. There’s plenty of time for fashionable boots with laces later. Like when you’ve got a five-year-old old enough to tie them herself.
Thanks to the wonderful folks at babyGap for sponsoring this series and helping us celebrate the joy of early parenthood. To see more of their new collection of baby clothes and gifts, perfect for dressing babies in winter, check out our favorite picks in our Baby Shower Gift Guide.