How to Dress Your Baby in Winter

Baby, It's Cold Outside: Dressing Your Infant Warmly for Winter Fun

Those cute little booties and sweet little cardigans are perfect for photo ops and snuggling indoors. They won't, however, protect your baby from cold wind and single-digit temperatures. For your trip to winter wonderland, look past style and focus on function. A good rule of thumb? If weather conditions warrant two layers for you, your baby should wear three.

Start With: A Snug First Layer

Mother and baby wearing a snowsuit in the mountains

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A T-shirt or long-sleeved onesie topped with leggings is the perfect first layer. When you come in from the cold, you may want to strip your baby down to just this layer. Choose pieces that fit your baby well right now. Too-large clothing will bunch under other layers and make for one cranky kiddo.

Top With: A Second Warm Layer

Now it's time for a second pair of pants and a top, but this time, choose slightly thicker fabrics. A fleece or wool sweater or thin sweatshirt is fine for on top. Add a second pair of leggings or a pair of sweatpants if the weather warrants it, but remember the one-more-layer rule. If it's warm enough for you to feel comfortable in one pair of pants, one shirt and a coat, your baby may be fine in just one pair of pants, two tops and a warm snowsuit.

Add: A Waterproof Snowsuit

Mother and baby wearing a snowsuit in the mountains

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Either a one-piece snowsuit or a combination of a puffy insulated jacket and snow pants is a suitable top layer. Choose a jacket or snowsuit with a hood to protect baby's delicate neck.


Research your destination's winter weather and upcoming forecast carefully before making any final packing decisions. While a snowsuit is appropriate for really cold and windy places, your baby may be too hot in this piece on mild days. If the forecast calls for weather in the 40s and above, you may want to opt for a separate coat and pants so you can skip the pants on warmer days while still keeping her comfortable with a coat.

Finish With: Mittens and a Hat

A thin hat is just fine, as long as it stays put and fits snugly over your infant's ears. If the snowsuit doesn't cover the baby's hands, use mittens to keep tiny fingers warm. Bring at least one extra set of hat and mittens. If the first set gets wet, change them out for the dry backups right away.

Maybe Add: Boots

Keeping your baby's feet warm and dry is essential. Fit them with two pairs of snug socks. If your infant is too young to walk and has a snowsuit that encloses the feet, she doesn't need anything else. But if she'll be walking, or if her snowsuit ends at the ankles, top those socked feet with waterproof winter boots.


By next winter, this year's winter gear won't fit. If you live in a warm place and need winter clothing for only one trip, see if you can borrow a snowsuit and boots from a friend, or search for gently-used items in consignment shops.

Skip: Anything Bulky

A chunky woolen scarf or hat may feel cozy to you, but you can take it off if you get too hot. A baby can't. Infants can get overheated easily because they can't regulate their own body temperature as well as adults can. Thin, warm fabrics are best, with the exception of the snowsuit.

Skip: Multiple One-Pieces

Changing diapers is challenging enough when your infant is dressed in multiple layers. Your infant's snowsuit is probably one piece, but dress her in separates underneath to give you the easiest access.


Is it baby's first trip to a cold place? Make sure to bring a blanket with you whenever you travel by car. It's not safe to put a baby wearing a snowsuit into a car seat, because the extra bulk gets in the way of making straps fit snugly enough. Take her out of the snowsuit in the car, strap her in securely and tuck a blanket across her to keep her warm.