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Here’s how to properly dress a baby in both warm and cold weather

Need a temperature guide for dressing babies? You’re not alone. Many parents find themselves wondering just how many layers (or how few layers) they need before taking their child out during their first few months of life. Just because you’re wearing a light jacket, will your baby do fine with the same? Will they need more layers in the fall and winter months, to protect their delicate skin? How do you balance protecting your baby from the sun in the summer, with ensuring they don’t overheat? 

To help you pick the perfect outfit for your infant, here’s a temperature guide for dressing babies in both warm and cold weather. 

baby in winter outfit

Baby clothes temperature guide: Winter

When the winter winds are howling and chances of snow are likely, you want to make sure your baby is all bundled up. If it’s below 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside, it’s important to ensure your baby is wearing a snow-ready coat, mittens, hat, and insulated shoes. However, when temperatures dip below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, you want to keep time outside to a minimum, no matter what your baby is wearing. And if the temperature or wind chill is below negative 15 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to avoid taking your baby outside at all costs. 

However, as you prepare your baby’s winter wear, be careful not to overdress your baby to the point that he overheats. Everything that you choose for your baby should be layered so that you can remove items as needed. Signs of overheating include reddened skin, especially around the face; sweating; and rapid breathing or a fast heartbeat. Conversely, you can tell if your baby is too cold by touching their tummy (it’ll be cool to the touch if they’re too cold). Also watch for lethargy, which can be a sign of hypothermia. 

Baby clothes temperature guide: Spring

As spring brings warmer weather and temperatures crawl up into the 50s to 60s Fahrenheit range, you can start to lose that snow gear. Still dress your baby in layers so that you can add and remove items as needed (after all, spring temperatures can vary greatly, even from morning to afternoon), but you should feel safe to leave the heavier clothing items at home. 

Consider adding leg warmers, denim, and fleece items to your springtime nursery wardrobe. For those springtime rains, be sure to outfit your baby with a moisture-wicking jacket, rain boots if they’re starting to toddle around, and something to protect their head. 

baby on the beach

Baby clothes temperature guide: Summer

Once the temperature reaches above 70 degrees, it’s time to start thinking about hot weather and how your baby is impacted. If the temperature climbs into the mid-70s, layering becomes non-essential and a lightweight cotton single-layer outfit should be enough to keep your baby comfortable. Just don’t forget a hat to shade your baby. In addition, you’ll also want to outfit your baby with their own sunglasses and sunscreen, if they’re going to be outdoors. In general, though, it’s recommended that you don’t allow your baby to be exposed to the summer heat for too long of a time period, no matter how she’s dressed. 

Baby clothes temperature guide: Fall

Dressing your baby for fall is quite similar to dressing your baby for spring. You want to think layers, with something cooler and lighter on the inside, and heavier items on the outside. As temperatures change from day to day or even hour to hour, you can remove or add items as needed. When it comes to these shoulder seasons, it’s really all about being prepared and having the right clothes in your diaper bag when you need them. 

Keeping baby comfortable regardless of the weather  

A good rule of thumb for dressing your baby? Consider what you’re wearing and how you feel, and then consider that your baby is slightly more sensitive than you are — and won’t be able to verbalize when he feels particularly warm or cold. So, if you’re feeling chilly, there’s a good chance your baby is, too. If you’re ready to shed some layers, your baby probably wants to as well. 

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