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8 Tips for How to Dress a Newborn in Winter

8 Tips for How to Dress a Newborn in Winter

As balmy August afternoons transition into cool September evenings, you might start thinking about dressing your baby for colder temperatures.

Whether you have a fall or winter due date, or you already have a newborn who’s ready to graduate from frilly summer shorts to something a little fluffier, this guide on how to dress a newborn in winter will help you understand what baby winter clothes to choose, how to layer them, and how to keep your star of the pumpkin patch warm on even the chilliest days.

Caution: Abominably adorable snow babies ahead!

Tips and Tricks for Dressing a Newborn in Winter

There’s a seemingly infinite number of adorable fuzzy socks, warm puffer jackets, and mini ski sets you can dress your baby in for the winter months. In fact, these pieces will likely have you staging impromptu photoshoots in no time. (And we won’t judge if you live in California, and it’s actually 75 degrees outside.)

While keeping a newborn warm in cold weather provides these opportunities to be creative, it also requires attentiveness to understand your baby’s unique cues for hot and cold temperatures—which brings us to our first tip.

#1. Learn How to Tell When Your Baby is Cold

Until baby mind reading is invented, you can use the baby thermometer to test your baby’s temperature and determine whether they’re cold or hot. A baby’s normal temperature should fall between 98 and 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit.1

However, if you don’t have time to take your baby’s temperature or you don’t have a thermometer nearby, here are some quick signs to tell whether or not your baby is cold:

  • Feel their tummy – A baby’s core temperature is often notable by the temperature of their tummy or back. Place the back of your hand over their tummy (you might even feel some hungry rumbles!), and check if it’s on the chilly side. If it is, you may want to add a layer to their outfit or turn up the heat in your home.2

  • Check their neck – The nape or back of the neck is another common indicator of a baby’s bodily temperature. If the nape of the neck is warm or sweaty, your baby might be a tad too warm. If it’s cold and is coupled with cold hands and feet, it might be time to add some stockings to the equation.1

  • Use your own gauge – Chances are, if you feel cold, your baby probably does, too. Keep your home at a moderate temperature—somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees—to keep both you and baby comfortable during extremely hot and cold weather outside.

  • Give your baby the best clothing suited for their gently skin. GOTS-certified organic fabrics. Shop now!

    #2. When in Doubt, Start With a One-Piece

    Building a layering foundation with a one-piece ensures no skin is exposed to cold temperatures or weather if you and your baby head outdoors. It also covers up any peekaboo tummies!

    To prepare for the weather ahead, stock up on cotton one-pieces that combine warmth, comfort, and breathability, like our On the Go One-Piece, available in over 15 limited-edition prints.

    #3. Layer on the Clothing

    When considering how to dress a newborn in winter, layering is key—but the right approach to layering baby clothes depends on the time of day and the conditions of the baby’s environment.

    • If you’re embarking on a trip outdoors with your newborn, a good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in one additional layer than you’re wearing yourself. For instance, if you’re comfortable in three layers, add a fourth to the baby’s rockin’ park outfit to make sure they stay warm while looking cool.
    • If dressing a baby for sleep, one to two layers should suffice as long as you have your home set to a comfortable temperature (i.e., between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit). For newborns, this can include a wearable sleep bag.

    In general, when layering baby clothes for cold temperatures, dress your little snowflake in layers beginning with layer #1:

    1. The base layer – Should be breathable and moisture-wicking, like cotton.
    2. The inner layer – Adds warmth, like a sweater or cozy sweatpants.
    3. The insulation layer – Protects your baby from the elements, like a jacket.

    It’s also common for babies’ temperatures to fluctuate a few degrees up or down throughout the day. (Just ensure the temperature doesn’t rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which could indicate a fever.) By layering your baby’s clothes, you can easily flex with the flow of warm and cool by removing a layer or two.

    #4. Wait on Baby’s Hand and Foot

    Okay, maybe not in the typical expression, but it’s important to ensure the baby’s hands and feet are attended to in the cold. This is your chance to stock up on all the cutest socks and tiny winter boots you can fit into that free-shipping box.

    In fact, here are some more ideas for shielding your newborn’s hands and feet:

    • Mittens to warm little fingers and prevent fingernail scratches
    • Fuzzy rainbow socks to show the world their colorful personality
    • Indoor booties for boot-scooting around the living room in style
    • Insulated hiking boots so baby can match dad on hiking trips

    #5. Invest in a Quality Jacket

    Do babies need winter jackets? Yes!

    Just like you, your baby needs special protection from elements such as snow and rain, as cold and moisture can race them quickly into cold and flu territory. That’s why a sturdy, high-quality jacket or bunting with a strong barrier is one of the best investments for your newborn.

    #6. Use Blankets in the Car

    If you plan to coast down the highway on a chilly day with your tiny, trusty co-captain, it’s recommended to warm them with baby blankets instead of a winter jacket. Puffy jackets can force you to loosen car seat belts too much, which can be unsafe.

    Instead, secure the baby in the car seat with minimum layers on, and add one or two blankets on top to keep them toasty.

    #7. Speaking of Blankets, Keep Them Everywhere

    Once the chilly fall air comes knocking, start stashing plush blankets in your home, car, and wherever the baby goes. You’ll thank us later. Get familiar with how to swaddle your baby to keep them warm, day and night.

    Not only are blankets incredible for insulating heat, but they also serve as a wonderful memento when your baby grows up. And even if the baby doesn’t need them, mom’s feet just might!

    #8. Maximize the TOG

    Maximize the what? TOG stands for Thermal Overall Grade, and it’s a measurement that shows the warmth level of clothing. The lower the TOG, the lighter the clothing, so higher TOGs will indicate warmer clothing.

    For instance, a cotton one-piece might be 1.0 TOG. A fleece outerwear jacket might be 2.5 TOG. TOG gets added together with each layer of clothing.

    Here’s a quick guide to choosing layers for TOG when considering the temperature in Fahrenheit:

    • In 75 degrees or higher – Choose 0.5 TOG
    • In 70-75 degrees – Choose 0.5 to 1.0 TOG
    • In 60-70 degrees – Choose 1.5 to 2.5 TOG
    • Below 60 degrees – Choose 2.5 to 3.5 TOG

    Keep in mind that these are just guidelines. Listen to the cues your baby hints at you, and listen to your instinct. You know your little bundle better than anyone!

    How Cold is Too Cold for Baby?

    The fifteen jackets consuming precious space in your closet speak for the often confusing fluctuation of seasons. So, it can be even more confusing to know how cold is too cold for a newborn baby.

    As a general rule of thumb, a newborn needs about one extra layer of clothing than you do in comfortable indoor temperatures. Outdoors, a baby needs several layers, depending on how cold it is. However, it’s always best to avoid bringing your baby outdoors in temperatures below -15 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of illness or hypothermia.

    Other Ways to Keep Baby Warm During the Winter

    Babies can’t hold onto heat quite as well as kids or adults. In fact, babies can lose body heat up to four times faster than adults.4 Babies also must expend valuable energy to keep themselves warm.

    As a new parent, you can ensure your newborn is healthy and happy by helping them stay warm. Here are a couple of ways to do it in the winter season (and year-round):

  • Body contact – When a baby is first born, warmth is especially important as they’ve been surrounded by the warmth of their mother’s womb for 9 months. After the new twinkle in your eye gets wrapped in a soft swaddle and placed in your arms, the warmth of your skin is a great way to keep them warm, even after you leave the hospital.

  • Cover their head – A baby’s head often releases the most heat. Add a bonnet or beanie to their everyday look to keep your little apple pie warm during the winter months. Just ensure to use a high-quality, comfortable material that breathes, like cotton, so the baby doesn’t get too warm.5

  • Keep Your Newborn Toasty Warm with Monica + Andy

    Keep your little marshmallow toasty warm (and super cute) this winter by dressing them up in functional, warm, and adorable clothing, like the clothes you can only find at Monica + Andy.

    Here at Monica + Andy, we don’t just design baby stuff. We innovate the best possible products to keep your baby, toddler, and you happy and healthy all year long. That means offering clothing, toys, and decor made with organic, skin-safe materials you never need to question.

    Shop our extensive inventory of newborn blankets, sweaters, organic robes for Mom, and more, and get ready for all the cotton cuddles that lie ahead.


    1. What to Expect. What's the Right Temperature for Baby? https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/baby-care/what-is-right-temperature-for-baby/
    2. Pregnancy Birth & Baby. Babies in cold weather. https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/babies-in-cold-weather#:~:text=Although%20your%20baby's%20hands%20and,not%20too%20hot%20or%20cold
    3. The Bump. How to dress a newborn. https://www.thebump.com/a/how-to-dress-a-newborn
    4. Stanford Medicine. Keeping your baby warm. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=warmth-and-temperature-regulation-90-P02425
    5. National Library of Medicine. Head insulation and heat loss in naked and clothed newborns using a thermal mannequin. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12094978/#:~:text=In%20newborns%2C%20large%20amounts%20of,of%20reducing%20dry%20heat%20loss
    6. Also Mom. HOW TO DRESS BABY FOR SLEEP – TOG CHARTS. https://www.alsomom.com/how-to-dress-baby-for-sleep-tog-chart/#:~:text=Basically%2C%20the%20higher%20the%20tog,being%20the%20most%20common%20weights
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