For the parents of winter babies, it can be difficult to properly dress your baby for the cold weather. My little guy is a winter baby. It was one thing when we were indoors, but I felt like we packed his whole closet in his diaper bag when we would venture out. You don’t want them to feel cold, but you don’t want to overheat them. You obviously can’t tell right away if they’re comfortable or not. So what’s a parent to do? Here are my tried-and-true tips on how to dress your newborn baby for winter and the items you will need.

Layering is important here. A popular guide is the “one more layer” rule. As in, dress your baby in one more layer than you have on. For example if you have a winter coat on, drape an extra blanket over the baby. If you have just a sweater on, bring a coat for the baby.

At this time, it’s best if your baby has the follow items on hand.

Short sleeve onesies/bodysuits
This could be your baby’s first layer if they are will just be outside for a short amount of time. All onesies/bodysuits seem to run small so just buy a variety and size up, depending on the growth of your baby. Gerber ones are popular as are Carter’s brand.

Long sleeve onesies/footies
If you’re planning to be outside longer, start with a long sleeve layer. A long sleeve footie over a short sleeve onesie is what we generally used to get our baby from the door to the car, and then wherever we went after.

Fleece lined bodysuits/footies
For when you and your baby will be outside, I suggest getting fleece-lined gear as they will be warmer.

Thick and bulky items do not work with the car seat but you can drape the jacket or coat over the baby or put them on when they’re out of the car seat.

Thin and thick blankets
I had at least one thin and one thick blanket in the car depending on the weather.

We lived in a house with poor insulation so some nights got really cold. When he was a newborn, we set the thermostat at a comfortable temp, also accounting for the fact that it would get colder at night. We removed all loose blankets from the crib as the AAP does not recommend any loose bedding for babies. We learned that the best way to determine if he was cold was to feel his feet, hands, and tummy. Any time he woke up at night, we checked the diaper, checked to see if he was hungry, and then checked his body temperature. We also room-shared for the first six months of his life.

Here are some items you will need for where your baby sleeps

Baby monitor
We have this baby monitor. Not only is it highly rated, it’s also affordable. There’s live video, night vision, and a temperature gauge. We can monitor how warm or cool the room is without having to disturb the baby.

Pajamas with footies
Well these are too adorable to begin with, and they serve a purpose: to keep your baby warm. I liked the kind with zippers like these because it would make for easier night-time diaper changes.

You can always tell if a baby is cold when their feet are cold. So I stocked up on baby socks and especially these booties here. You also tend to lose socks so it’s best to buy in bulk.

It’s basically a potato sack for your baby. It acts as a wearable blanket. Once your baby rolls over on their own, it’s time to retire the sleepsack.

Swaddle blanket
Our baby loved being swaddled. It was only when he was swaddled that he slept longer. In a traditional swaddle blanket, he always managed to wriggle himself free. That’s when we got this swaddle blanket and was able to hold him in. Same rules apply as the sleep sack. Once your baby rolls over, it’s time to retire the swaddle blanket.

Our baby had cold hands for some reasons. So we kept some baby mittens around just in case in hands got cold.

Night Gown
I loved these. They made for such easier night-time diaper changing. We had these little nightgown that also had a cuff at the end for makeshift mittens.

If you have automatic start, definitely use that to get the car warm before bringing the baby out. As mentioned before, you can’t put thick jackets or chunky sweaters on your baby and then put the car seatbelt over them. It’s best to put them in a long sleeve or a thinner jacket. Then just turn the thick jacket around, and then slip it over their arms. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, just unbuckle them and place the jacket on the right way while you’re still inside the car.

Here are some other items for winter car rides that you might need

Blankets and thin layers
I kept a thick blanket and a thin blanket in the car for extra coverage. The thick blanket can also serve as a mat if you want to take your child out and have some floor time. The thin blanket can also serve as a makeshift swaddle or stroller cover.

Protect that baby’s head! We had multiple baby beanies like this one to help keep his head warm.

We also used mittens to keep his little fingers and hands protected.

Ask your doctor when your newborn baby will be ready for walks. After all, you and your baby needs some fresh air once in a while. Of course, use a stroller that can carry your baby comfortably. From 0-6 months, I liked to have the baby face me, since a) he usually just falls asleep anyway and b) I think he’s a little more protected from the elements. When he sat up on his own, I turned him around so he can see the world for himself.

Here are some nice-to-haves  in addition to your stroller and blankets.

Sunscreen is a must if you know there’s sun out or even if there’s an overcast. My fair-skinned little guy needed sunscreen that was non-toxic and meant for babies like this brand of sunscreen.

Stroller bag/muff
Get one like this one that protects against wind and rain while the soft inner liner adds warmth. It Features a removable top for easy temperature control. I used this for the car seat sometimes as well. Oh and it’s machine washable! Just make sure it’s going to fit whatever you need it to.

Elements protector
You can also get a stroller weather shield if you know it’s going to be raining or windy. This one is good because it’s clear and there’s netting on the side for ventilation.

Stroller liner
This one is meant for newborn support, but I found that it also helped keep my newborn warm with the plush side of it. You can also use the smooth side if the weather is warmer. It can also go in your car seat.

Additional Tips

  • Check the feet, hands, belly, cheeks, head to see if they are too cold or too warm.
  • Use moisturizer. Cold weather means dryer skin.
  • Peel off layers are it gets warmer.
  • Always look out for signs of overheating when you can: sweating, shortness of breath, fussiness.
  • For additional questions or advice, always consult your pediatrician.


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