Baby winter clothes: How to dress your baby in cold weather

Winter baby

by Laura Healy |
Updated on

As the weather gets colder, there's no way around it — if you're planning on heading outdoors with your baby in tow on winter days, you need to ensure they are dressed properly so your little one stays cosy and warm without overheating. But how to dress an infant in winter to ensure they are both safe and warm? There's a lot of winter wear for newborns, including many cute and snug baby outfits, but what baby winter clothes should you choose?

Layer up

When it comes to dressing babies and toddlers for winter weather, layering is key. The general rule is to dress your baby in one layer more than what you’re wearing. ‘Wrapping your little one up in several layers means that not only can you ensure she is warm and cosy, but you can easily remove a layer to prevent her from overheating,’ says Linda Torstensson, Founder of Kozi Kidz. ‘Starting off with a good quality base layer helps to simultaneously regulate temperature and draw moisture away from your child’s skin.’

Pick the right layer

An effective thermal base layer is key for babies and toddlers. ‘Wool or polyester is the ideal base layer, but avoid pure cotton as it’s very porous and generally holds more moisture which doesn’t wick away easily,’ says Nikki Horne, managing director of cold weather clothing company Raindrops. ‘Merino wool is the only natural fibre that can absorb up to 40% humidity without feeling damp. It also has the ability to respond to changes in your baby’s body temperature.’

Staying warm and dry

When buying outerwear for your baby, such as puddle suits, look for technical features and fabrics. ‘To ensure full protection from wet weather, make sure the garment has a waterproof rating of at least 1500mm or more,’ says Linda. Don’t forget to look at the coat or all-in-one’s hood, it should fit snugly around her face for maximum protection.

Look for details

When choosing a garment look out for details such as reflectors or detachable hoods that prevent children from becoming caught. ‘Also bear in mind comfort-focused features such as zip garages (special covers so your baby can’t catch herself) or soft linings that will be gentle against a child’s sensitive skin,’ says Linda.

Go for easy-to-remove clothes

If you are choosing an all-in-one, consider how easy it’ll be to put on and take off your baby. ‘Look for a full-length front opening which makes nappy changes or undressing a sleeping child much easier,’ says Linda.

Ditch coats in the car

If you’re heading outdoors but travelling in a car first, it’s worth thinking about how your baby is dressed. Cars can warm up quickly and you don’t want your baby to overheat. Remove hats and gloves and especially snowsuit and coats.

The NHS say: "Leaving your baby’s coat or snowsuit on in the car creates a gap between your baby and their safety harness. In a collision, the harness isn’t as close to your baby’s body as it needs to be to allow it to properly restrain them. You should pull the harness tight enough that you can just get two fingers between your baby and the straps."

Be aware of the compression of layers against the car seat straps in a collision; the straps should be snug against your baby. If the car seems cold, you can drape a breathable blanket over your baby's body.

Remember the extremities

Whether you opt for a coat or all-in-one, protecting little hands and feet will help to maintain your child’s core temperature. ‘Snug feet = happy baby or toddler = relaxed parent!’ says Nikki. ‘For toddlers, thick-soled non-skid tread, waterproof and breathable snowboots or thermal-lined wellies are a good investment to keep toes snug, while for babies I’d recommend warm socks or soft-soled moccasins.’ Mittens and gloves are also a must for toddlers – look for ones that can be clipped onto coats so your child won’t lose them if she pulls a glove off. And remember a baby hat – it’s the easiest way for your baby to lose heat so keep their head covered when out.

Best winter baby clothes at a glance:

Best baby winter boots: JAN & JUL First Walkers shoes for Baby Winter Snow Boots, £25.50

Best baby winter hat: KAKU NANU Toddler Winter Hat, £8.99

Best baby thermal vest: Thermo Merino Wool Babygrow, £18.20

Best baby overall: Navy Shell Waterproof Baby Overall, £100

Best baby mittens: AIDIER Baby Winter Knitted Mittens, £8.89

If you want to head out with your your little one during the chilly weather, but you are wondering how to dress a newborn in winter, you won't need to worry about if they are warm enough, or too warm, with some of these great baby winter clothes below.

Baby winter clothes

Best baby snuggle suit

You can't get much snugglier than this adorable snuggle suit. It is made from faux fur and features the cutest bear ears, plus it has a warm hood. With built in booties it will keep your little toasty all winter.

Review: "Gorgeous, bought for our baby to leave the hospital in. Although as it mentions in the description and other reviews, it does run large so may be slightly too big. Very happy with the quality, can’t wait to put my little baby in it."

Pros

  • Cute bear ears
  • Built in booties

Cons

  • Sizing runs large
Sizes0 - 18 months
Material 100% polyester
Washing instructionsMachine washable
  • Cute teddy bear ears
  • Built in booties
  • Machine washable
  • Warm faux fur

Best baby mittens

These cute fox mittens will keep your little one's hands warm in the coldest weather. They have a toasty fleece lining, and they are extra soft and breathable. Plus the mittens are connected by a string which you can thread through the sleeves of baby's coat to prevent losing them if your little one decides to take them off.

Review: " So pleased to find baby gloves on a string, just as my mother put on me. Before these we seemed to lose a glove every time we were out. Pretty design and beautifully soft and warm as well."

Pros

  • String to prevent losing mittens
  • Fleece lined

Cons

  • Some reviewers said they were difficult to put on
Size 0 - 3 years
MaterialAcrylic and fleece lining
Washing instructionsNot specified
  • String to connect mittens
  • Fleece lined
  • Cute design

Best baby winter boots

These baby winter booties are lightweight with a wide, flexible sole to naturally support growing muscles and bones, but at the same time will keep toes cosy. They are have durable, non-slip soles with a reinforced toe and heel, to make these soft-soled shoes long lasting. Plus they look incredibly stylish too, with a beautiful design.

Review: "I bought these for my 13 month old granddaughter. They are perfect! So warm and waterproof and she loves them! They also have a soft sole which is what her mama wanted her to have in a snowboot. Plus, they are packaged in the cutest little shoebox!!"

Pros

  • Soft-soled snow boot
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Weak elastic
Age3 - 24 months
Material Synthetic
  • Stay put design with elastic around the ankle
  • Velcro fastening
  • Stylish designs
  • Soft-soled
  • Lightweight and flexible

Best merino wool babygrow

In beautiful forest green, this soft merino wool baby babygrow retains body heat, yet wicks away moisture keeping your little one warm and dry. It is so soft against delicate skin and naturally thermoregulating and breathable, making it ideal for daytime and naps.

Reviewer, Martha, commented: "Lots of room to grow in but doesn’t feel huge. Beautifully soft, quite light but keeps bubba cosy. Worth the price for the amount of wear we’re already getting from it!"

Pros

  • Great for layering next to baby's skin
  • Thermoregulating

Cons

  • Pricey for one baby grow
Age 0 - 2 years
Material 100% merino wool
Washing instructionsMachine washable
  • Machine washable
  • Poppers for easy dressing
  • Naturally antibacterial
  • Retains heat
  • 100% merino wool

Best baby leggings

baby winter clothes polar bear leggings
Price: £6 (was £10)

bladeandrose.co.uk

We adore Blade and Rose leggings. They are really fun with cute designs like this perfect wintry polar bear. Plus they are made from 80 per cent organic cotton and some of the proceeds from this particular design go towards supporting the WWF. They are great leggings for little ones because they are stretchy and comfortably go over nappies, even cloth nappies. Plus their stretchiness gives your little one complete freedom.

Review: "Little boy loves these, nice for the Winter months and also double up as Christmas leggings."

Pros

  • Fun design
  • Flexible and stretchy
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Some piling after washing
Age0 - 4 years
Material 80 per cent organic cotton, 15 per cent polyamide, 5 per cent elastane
Washing instructionsMachine washable
  • Fun design
  • Flexible and stretchy
  • Machine washable
  • Made from organic cotton
  • Good size range

Best baby winter hat

A practical but cute baby hat that is both warm and windproof for really chilly winter days. It looks lovely with the pom poms and is available in a wide range of colours. It has a fleece lining and woven cotton outer layer. Plus, the flaps at the side will make sure your little one's ears keep warm too. 

Review: "This hat is very well made and feels quite thick. It fits a 2 year old lovely and looks so cute on. The colour is such a nice shade of colour. Nice and warm for winter days."

Pros

  • Fleece lining for extra warmth
  • Flaps to keep ears warm

Cons

  • Comes up a little too small
Size 6 months - 4 years
Colours 8 options
  • Fleece lined 
  • Long flaps to keep ears warm
  • 8 colour choices

Best baby waterproof jacket

This great jacket will not only keep baby warm but dry too. For older babies, this is a great addition to their winter wardrobe because it is insulated and both waterproof and windproof. In lovely vibrant colours, it is perfect for dark, chilly winter days.

Review: "I have bought Spotty Otter jackets for the past 11 years and am still doing so with a totally unexpected addition to the family, a little girl now aged 28months. The quality of the jackets I cannot fault , customer services I cannot speak more highly of and are and always have been, a credit to Spotty Otter. I trust this company implicitly, always have done and always will do."

Pros

  • Waterproof and windproof
  • Insulated

Cons

  • Size range starts from 12 months
Age range1 -8 years
Material 100% PU outer fabric
Washing instructionsMachine washable
  • Soft, flexible and durable
  • 100% PU outer fabric
  • Waterproof and windproof including welded seams
  • Warm fleece lining and quilted lining in sleeves
  • Detachable peaked and elasticated hood
  • Zipped pockets.
  • Elasticated cuffs
  • Reflective safety trims
  • Machine washable

Best baby snood

Not only is this baby snood very cute but also keeps your little one's neck and and chest warm. It is made from merino wool and recycled polyester and it is easy to pull on during colder weather.

Pros

  • Made from recycled material
  • Additional warmth for really cold weather

Cons

  • Only available in one size
Age: One size
Material: 50% wool and 50% polyester
Washing instructions: Machine wash at 40 degrees
  • Made with merino wool
  • Easy to pull on
  • Uses recycled material
  • Machine washable

Best baby sleeping bag for chilly nights

For chilly nights, this baby sleeping bag is 2 tog. Designed for baby to move freely, it's made of organic cotton and helps your little one maintain a constant temperature throughout the night. Baby sleeping bags prevent entanglement and remove the need for extra blankets.

Pros

  • Perfect for cold nights at 2 tog
  • Made from organic cotton

Cons

  • Only one design available
Size: One size
Material: Organic cotton
Washing instructions: Machine washable at 60 degrees
  • Long zip with chin guard for easy change
  • Poppers on one shoulder
  • Complies to safety regulations
  • Made from organic cotton

What should a baby wear at night in winter?

You want to ensure your little one stays warm and snug on chilly nights, but also you don’t want them to overheat, so it can sometimes be tricky to decide what baby should wear to bed. A soft, one-piece, footed cotton sleepsuit will help keep your baby warm all night. If it is really cold then you can add a vest under their sleepsuit. Also, a baby sleeping bagis a great item for all seasons. It is recommended for safe sleep by the Lullaby Trust and the NHS and there are different tog ratings for the changing seasons.

When should I buy winter clothes for my baby?

Babies grow quickly so it’s best to buy winter clothes when baby needs them, most likely just before it starts to get cold. In the months leading up to winter, shops, both online and on the high street, will start to stock up with winter clothes and there should be lots to choose from including coats for babies, or cosy jumpers.

Baby clothes are expensive and often not used for long before they grow out of them, so do check local charity shops as well, and in the run up to Christmas there should be some sales to keep an eye out for. Also, if you are travelling with baby, especially to chillier climates, such as skiing, plan ahead what baby ski wear you will need, for example.

Baby winter clothes should have a long life, so if there are little siblings, pack them away to use again and make the most out of them.

Linda Torstensson is the founder of Kozi Kidz, a range of Swedish designed outdoor clothing for kids 0-10 years. Established in 2008, Kozi Kidz is now part of the Muddy Puddles family.

Nikki Horne is the Managing Director of Raindrops, part of Waterproof World, which designs outdoor clothes for kids ensuring they are appropriately dressed for outdoor play.

Laura Healy is a Commercial Content Writer for Mother&Baby. She is a mum-of-two girls and loves writing about all things parenting, she is particularly interested in the toddler years and eco-friendly baby products, as well as children’s literature. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and has published short stories in the UK and Ireland, as well as previously writing freelance for her local paper.

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