Once you bring baby home from the hospital, it’s easy to second guess yourself on even the simplest tasks—including how to dress your newborn! Are they too hot? Too cold? Just right?! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing baby’s (really, really cute) outfits to ensure they’re safe and comfortable.
What Should My Baby Wear in Cold Weather?
When the temperatures drop, it’s important to make sure baby wears a few layers to keep them warm and cozy. The general rule of thumb is to make sure baby wears one additional layer than what you’re comfortable wearing—if you’re feeling chilly, your baby probably is too.
When you’re inside, something like a diaper and onesie, covered by another warm layer (a swaddle, receiving blanket, pajamas, etc.) will be plenty to keep baby’s body temperature just right. If your little one is premature, they may need one more extra layer until their weight reaches that of a full-term babe and their body is more capable at adjusting to temperatures. Skin to skin contact with mama is a great way to warm up baby too, since your body warmth helps regulate your little one’s temperature (with the added bonus of extra snuggles). As your baby lays on your skin, cover him/her with a blanket or swaddle.
If you’re heading outside, be sure baby is covered from head to toe—we’re talking a hat, thick socks or booties (be careful they don’t kick them off accidentally! Any veteran mama will tell you that baby socks are notorious for falling off), and mittens or other hand coverings. Follow the ‘one extra layer’ suggestion we talked about above, and tuck a blanket snugly around them in the stroller for added warmth.
A note on car seat safety: Be sure to remove any bulky jackets or outerwear before securing baby in their car seat. While it might feel strange to remove a jacket in the cold, if an accident occurs these materials can compress and make the car seat straps too loose—which can significantly increase the risk of injury to baby. Try to get in the habit of warming up your car in advance (when possible!) to help ease any worries about baby’s comfort. Some mamas keep an extra blanket in the car to tuck around baby in colder weather (on the outside of the car seat straps, please!)…and it’s good for cleaning up unexpected spit up, too! Any car seat covers that go through the straps are not safe. Baby’s back should be against the seat without anything in between.
What Should My Baby Wear in Hot Weather?
When the temperature rises over 75 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s a safe bet to dress baby in only a single layer of loose clothing so they don’t overheat. Lightweight cotton clothes are breathable to help baby keep cool—and protect their skin from sunburn (keep baby in the shade as much as possible). Hats with a wide brim are also a great way to keep the sun off of their face and skin for extra UV protection (pro-tip: look for a hat with a chin strap to help prevent baby from pulling their hat off over…and over… and over).
What Should My Baby Wear to Sleep?
You should dress your baby one-to-two layers to sleep—make sure they don’t have any strings or ties—and never cover baby’s head. Until the baby can roll on their own, a swaddle or sleep sack can be one of those layers. Many mamas use velcro or blanket swaddles, wrapped snugly around baby from the neck down, until baby can roll over onto their tummy (once they roll, stop swaddling immediately for safety reasons).
A wearable blanket, or a sleep sack, is also an excellent (and safe!) way to add an extra layer of warmth for babies of all ages. Keep temps in the room between 68-72 degrees—and be sure to check baby’s neck to ensure your little one isn’t overheating (a bit of moisture is normal but baby should not be dripping sweat).