How should you dress a newborn baby in winter?

If you're going to give birth in the winter or if you have a newborn and aren't sure how much clothing to use in winter, read below.

 A baby in snow (photo credit: PEXELS)
A baby in snow
(photo credit: PEXELS)

It's really exciting to wash tiny clothes when you're expecting. The machine is filled with really small items like onesies, hats, miniature socks, pants and overalls and these open the heart for the one who will soon join your family.

A newborn baby, whether in the winter or the hot summer months, will always wear one more layer than you

Neely Moled Fortis is a doula who assists women during and after birth, a movement instructor from birth, a facilitator for workshops and mothers' circles and she provides baby massage services. She explains that a newborn is born without the ability to regulate its body temperature until it's about a month and a half old, which is the reason for the extra layer.

How to dress a newborn in winter

In winter when you wear a thin long shirt, your baby should wear two layers: one thin, and on top of that another thicker one. Remember that you'll wrap the baby in a blanket when it naps or you go out which is another layer, so avoid overdressing. 

 A baby in snow (credit: PEXELS) A baby in snow (credit: PEXELS)

Dress new babies in two layers: a onesie and overalls over it. If you go outside on a cold day, add leggings under overalls or regular pants and socks.

When the house is heated, remove a layer

Remember that over-dressing restricts the baby's movement and may impede natural development. Think about moving around comfortably and doing new things when you're dressed in three layers. Clumsy, right? Make sure the house is heated, place the baby on a mat and not directly on the floor, and check if the baby is cold.

How will you know if the baby is hot or cold?

Some say that if the hands or feet are cold then the baby is cold, but this isn't true. To know if a baby is hot or cold, put your hand under the back of the head. If it's cold your baby is cold, so add another layer and wrap them in a blanket for nap time.

Bare the feet

When the house is heated, take off the baby's socks. Babies sense the world through their mouth and feet. With bare feet, they feel the floor, have resistance from the surface to movements and later, it will be easier for them to learn to turn over, crawl and explore the world.

As with everything in parenting and life, find a balance. Make sure your baby is warm enough but not too much and remember that clothing also affects development.

This article was written in partnership with the JAMA parenting app.