How Many Layers of Clothing Does My Baby Need to Go Outside?
I think ALL moms (especially new moms) worry (probably several times a day) that their baby is too warm or too cold. And we've all been caught unprepared, dressing our baby or child in shorts and a t-shirt only to realize that the weather was much colder than we had anticipated. Or dressing them in thick, long pants and a sweater only to find that the sun is shining (thanks for the dependability, weatherman) and so is their forehead...from sweat. And sometimes we just forget that their tiny bodies don't regulate heat as well as ours do. So we can't even rely on dressing them in the same number and thickness of layers as we're dressing ourselves in, because their little bodies have different needs.So how do you know how many layers of clothing your baby needs to go outside? I honestly think the short answer is...you don't. It's hard to know in advance how many layers you'll actually need, so I prefer to be over prepared and pack more layers than I think I'll need. It's so much easier to throw a few extra things in your diaper bag, or in the trunk of your car, than it is to find yourself far from home with a fussy, uncomfortable baby. I like to bring a variety of layers, starting with a onesie, socks (sometimes I bring a couple pairs for extra warmth), pants (and/or shorts, if the weather is warm), a sweater or sweatshirt, a hat (especially for those tiny baby heads), and a warm jacket if it's fall or winter. And when my baby was tiny, I tried to always have an extra blanket or two on hand, because I knew I could always wrap him up and hold him close to my body to keep him warm. But even then, the number and type of layers you pack will be very different depending on the season. So how do you know how to dress your baby during spring, summer, fall, and winter? This is what I do:
SpringIn the spring, I am always so ready for warmer, sunnier weather that I start leaving off layers that I really do need. But at this time of year, I think it's important to remember that, even though it might be warm during the day, the weather can quickly change to much cooler temperatures, especially when the sun sets. In a lot of areas—especially here in the Pacific Northwest—this is often the rainiest season. So, in the spring, I try to pack a variety of light layers that can easily be combined for warmth, or worn individually to protect from rain or a light breeze.
SummerIn the summer, it's most important to protect your baby from the sun, while also keeping them cool. Easier said than done, right? I think the most essential summer layer for babies—and moms—is a good sun hat. Wearing a hat that shades your face will protect you from sunburn (especially that awful sunburn you get when you part your hair) and also help you stay a bit cooler. And, as an added bonus, you can hide messy summer hair! For the most part, we wear shorts and t-shirts in the summer (along with a hat), but if we're going to be out and about all day and into the evening, I like to make sure we have a light jacket or a sweatshirt as well.
FallA couple days ago, I was on a walk with my little boy and our two dogs, and noticed a few leaves on the ground! It has been a really hot summer and the weather that day was supposed to hit 99 degrees (not the weather I love to see here), so I was so excited to see them...and just a little bit surprised! Fall is almost here, so I've been busy buying long pants, long sleeves, cute boots, and cute jackets for our little man and me! At the beginning of fall, we'll still be wearing jeans and short-sleeved t-shirts, but as we head into fall, I'm sure we'll start adding more and more layers. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't totally excited!
I think winter is one of the hardest seasons to dress your baby. You want to keep your baby warm, but it's also really easy to overdo it and end up overheating your baby. You also have to be really careful to avoid dressing your babies in thick or puffy layers while they are in their car seat, because their car seat won't be as effective in protecting them in case of an accident. So, when I was heading outside with my baby (during my state's coldest winter on record), I started by layering with a long-sleeved onesie and long pants, warm socks (sometimes multiple pairs), and always a hat (it drives me absolutely crazy to see tiny babies without hats in the winter. Then, as tedious as it is, we would try to warm our car up so we could bundle him in a blanket while we walked to the car, then unbundle him and put him in his car seat as soon as we were inside. We also loved having an infant car seat during this season because we could get him buckled into his car seat inside the house (in lightweight but warm layers), then cover the car seat while we walked to the car.