Parents can be anxious about when and how much their baby sleeps or eats. What kind of clothing a baby should wear for changing temperatures can also be a source of stress. These top tips for dressing your baby can keep things in perspective and keep your baby comfortable and safe.
Let Temperature Be Your Guide
Infant bodies don’t regulate temperature well, so you’ll have to regulate temperature for your baby. If you’re hot, baby is hot. Likewise, if you feel cold, the baby probably feels cold. A general rule of thumb is to dress the infant in layers, with one more layer on the child than you would need to feel comfortable.
Just remember that layers trap heat. Start with a onesie, and proceed to leggings with attached feet and a shirt, topped with a jacket or snowsuit in the winter. Don’t forget hats, mittens, and warm socks with boots to protect the extremities in cold weather. Take a blanket with you to wrap the baby if you’ll be sitting down outside on a cool day.
However, overheating is dangerous, and it has been found to contribute to the danger of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Get your baby’s winter clothes off as soon as you’re back inside. Also remove outer layers if you’re riding on a warm bus or train. In hot weather (above 75˚ Fahrenheit), a single layer of clothing should suffice. Just don’t forget to shield the baby from the sun. A hat and sunglasses protect from the effects of UV rays. Watch for signs of overheating, such as sweating and flushing, and move to a cooler indoor environment if the baby seems uncomfortable.
Finally, remove bulky clothing if the baby will be in their car seat. Blankets and parkas can impair the function of the car seat harness. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations about how to dress your baby in the car seat.
Baby shoes or boots are merely decorative for pre-walkers, but they may be essential along with warm socks to keep baby’s feet warm in cold weather. Shoes or booties also protect a baby’s feet if you’re going to a park or play area.
How To Tell If Your Baby Is Too Hot or Too Cold
An overheated baby will sweat and fuss, flush red, and become cranky and irritable. They may also breathe rapidly. Get some layers off the baby and call your pediatrician. If the baby doesn’t seem to be cooling down, call 911—heat stroke is a life-threatening condition.
Conversely, a baby who feels too cold may try to curl up to stay warm, and their hands and feet may become cold to the touch. The baby may become lethargic or unresponsive. If baby’s skin turns white, gray, or blistered, these are signs of frostbite. Call your doctor or 911 immediately if you suspect frostbite.
Trust your instincts about dressing your baby. Observe whether your baby seems comfortable or distressed, and respond accordingly. Seek your pediatrician’s advice if you’re concerned about how to dress your baby.