Baby, it’s cold outside…which means that your baby is cold.
If you’re anything like me, reading those words are enough to give you heart palpitations. After all, you’re THE MOM. To do the bare minimum for that job, you need to provide your baby with the basics—and keeping your baby warm is as basic as it gets.
When you see baby’s red cheeks and feel those cold fingers after a trip outside, you can’t help but wonder: What if I’m not doing a good enough job with that? Again, heart palpitations.
I realize that it may be tempting to hole up at home for the next three months, but that’s not practical or feasible. It’s certainly not for me, since I also have a 4-year-old, and my daughter and I are constantly trekking all over the city to bring him to various activities and appointments.
Oh, and that’s the other thing. We live in New York City, so we have to walk everywhere, no matter how ridiculously cold it is. I’ve had a few hits and misses in the keeping-warm department, but I finally figured out a few things that really work, even when we get a polar vortex or Arctic blast or whatever creative term the meteorologists come up with next.
Here are my 5 must-have items to brave the elements—and to keep your baby warm even on the coldest days.
I am obsessed with these fleece pants from Gymboree, as evidenced by the fact that my daughter is in a pair of them every time it’s below 50 degrees. They come in every color of the rainbow and in adorable patterns (proof below on my toddler), and they’re lined with that super-soft fleece that makes you want to snuggle every time you feel it. They are also incredibly warm. Her legs are always toasty when we get home, no matter how long we’ve been out and about in the freezing cold.
STROLLER WEATHER SHIELD
You’ve probably used one of those clear plastic stroller covers in the rain, but they also come in really handy in the snow and the biting wind. I’m always amazed by how much of a difference that layer makes. Just a note: There are “universal” options, but they never fit quite right and you’ll end up literally fighting with them. (Trust me when I say that you will never look more insane than when you’re tussling with an inanimate, very frustrating object like this.) Instead, get the cover that’s made for your specific stroller model to make your life much easier. The one pictured here is the one that I have for our City Mini.
These attachments are super cool for keeping your baby super warm when you’re on the go. While a blanket will also do the trick, it won’t completely keep out the cold and can be kicked off pretty easily by a determined and/or flailing child. Instead, something like the 7 A.M. Enfant Bunting Bag will stay put. It also has a thermal filling and a waterproof shell.
It’s definitely pricey at $189, so if that’s not in your budget and your baby is still in an infant car seat/stroller combo, try a fleece bunting from JJ Cole. The Bundle Me is just $30, and it keeps baby warm with faux shearling on the inside and thermaplush on the outside.
Don’t wait for the first snowstorm of the season to buy one of these. They’ll likely be out of the size you need, and you’ll probably end up paying top dollar. Aside from shopping the sales, here’s a really useful tip: Get a two-piece snowsuit. That way, you can use the coat every day, giving you a lot more bang for your buck. A one-piece, while great for infants on their very first snow day or when taking them on extended stroller walks, is a lot less user-friendly for diaper changes and car trips.
I have this pretty, floral two-piece from Rothschild for my toddler, and I love it. It is incredibly warm, and it even has little clasps on the coat itself to hook on her mittens (which came with the coat) when she’s not wearing them.
When my son was little, he had a snow suit from London Fog, similar to this one, which I also highly recommend.
Whatever you choose, make sure that the coat has a hood. Kids are notorious for pulling off their hats, but if your baby is in a stroller, he will nestle into the hood—and it will actually stay on because, well, it’s attached and that’s that. Sorry, kid.
Safety Note! While we’re on the topic of winter coats, make sure to take them off every time you put your child in the car. Yes, every time. It is a huge pain in the tush, but it is incredibly unsafe not to do this. Here’s why: Even though your child may seem snug and secure in the car seat with the straps over his winter coat, the straps are actually loose around his body. If there’s a crash, he could suffer a head or neck injury—and possibly even be ejected from the car seat. Check out this video from The Today Show, and I promise you that you will never let your child wear a bulky coat in the car again.
Extremities lose blood and heat a lot faster than other body parts, so protect those little fingers with a pair of warm gloves. Just make sure to choose mittens that are made with Thinsulate or woven ones that are lined so that they actually do their job. Here are two options—one from Zelda Matilda with Thinsulate…
Just an FYI: I’ve found that Thinsulate is mostly featured in toddler sizes and up. As for getting your child to keep those gloves on? I can’t help you there, but boy, if I could, I’d be able to retire tomorrow and set up camp on a beach in Tahiti. I’ll let you know if I ever figure that one out!
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