Shopping for baby clothes is a mother’s guilty pleasure.  It’s easy to get carried away in a sea of frilly tutus, dinosaur pajamas, and saddle shoes the size of your palm.  But cuteness isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about when shopping for clothes for your child.

Newborns don’t start regulating their own body temperatures until after about six months.  So until then, it’s up to the parents to dress their baby appropriately for all kinds of weather:

Cold Weather

  • Layer it up!  Generally, babies need about one more light layer than you do.  This can be in the form of a light sweater, a cozy blanket, or even simply the rain cover on your stroller.

  • Be careful not to over-bundle!  It is easy to get carried away in wrapping your baby up, but this can be just as dangerous as not putting on enough layers.  Make sure not to put too many layers on your baby, and always make sure to strip off layers as soon as you get indoors.

  • Hats, mittens, and booties are crucial to protect ears, hands, and feet (the parts of the body that get coldest the quickest) from freezing!

Warm Weather

  • Keep it loose and lightweight!  Breathable fabrics, like 100% cotton, are the name of the game.  They give your baby plenty of room and prevent chafing and rashes, especially when a diaper already adds heft to an outfit.

  • Hats, especially ones with a brim, are a must to keep harmful UV rays out of the eyes and off of your baby’s face.  Add a fun pair of sunglasses to create an adorable mini-me!

  • Is it safe to use sunscreen?  Babies under six months have extremely delicate skin.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says it’s okay to use minimal amounts of sunscreen on exposed skin, including the face.  To be safe, it’s always a good to dress babies that young in long sleeves and pants or leggings. For babies older than six months, sunscreen can and should be applied more liberally.

  • A day in the sun or in the heat can take its toll on your and your baby.  If you plan on cooling off indoors in air conditioning, it is important to pack an extra layer for your baby so the transition is not too cold on your little one.

How can you tell if your baby is happy and comfortable in the elements?  Do a quick “neck” check!  Reach under your baby’s clothes to the nape of the neck to see if it’s warm or cool to the touch.  If your baby has flushed skin, is breathing rapidly, or is perspiring, you should take off a layer because they may be overheating.  If your baby is crying and complaining, make sure they have enough layers on.

What are some of your tricks to keep your baby happy and healthy while braving the elements? Leave a comment below!

Jane Jozefowicz
Jane Jozefowicz
Jane Jozefowicz is a rising sophomore at the University of Chicago, where she studies Linguistics and Computer Science. Jane plays trombone and lacrosse and is the biggest animal lover you'll meet!