Tips for Dressing Infants and Toddlers During the Winter

Hello winter, you’re officially here! Is anyone else enjoying the cold and snow?

For the past two and a half winters, I somehow managed to get my son dressed and out of the house almost every day.

Good thing I’ve figured out a system that works well for us because it’s our first winter in Chicago. But every time I say “I’ve figured out a system that works for us”, my son keeps growing and changing and we have to find a new solution …

I decided to write this blog post because I’ve seen lots of parents posting to online groups asking for advice regarding winter wear. So here’s what has worked well for us thus far …

Always start with a onesie.

During one of our first few visits to the pediatrician’s office, the nurse politely pointed out that I should put a onesie underneath my newborn son’s clothing to keep him warm. In case anyone else needs to hear this: always start with a onesie for newborns and infants (at least until ages one to two).


I’ve heard the general rule of thumb is to dress your baby with one more layer than you’d dress yourself. And most people tend to overdress babies. I’m not a doctor, but I was told that a good test is to touch baby’s neck and feet to make sure neither feel too hot nor too cold. If you have questions or concerns, please check with your pediatrician.

For layering my son, I often put a onesie or long underwear on first, followed by pants and long sleeved shirt, sweater, hat, socks, gloves, and snowsuit or other outerwear.

For the first few winters, especially if you don’t have a walking and active baby, I recommend a one piece snow suit. I found the best quality to price ratio with a one piece snow suit from the GAP.

Infant Winter Gear (for Car Seats & Strollers).

Please note that I won’t be able to address every possible safety issue. But I have been notified by professionals not to put infants nor toddlers into car seats with their coats or outerwear as it can interfere with the proper function of the belts in the car seat.

I simply put my son in warm clothes, no out wear, and drape a blanket over him and the car seat. I’m also a big fan of the covers that fit over the infant car seats with a flap to see baby’s face. Take a look at this page on Lucie’s List (my favorite website for baby gear).

My favorite parenting hack for the stroller (for both infants and toddlers) is to use the rain cover! Surprisingly, it works really well in the winter, even when it’s not raining. You can layer up baby in the stroller, add a blanket (if needed), and then put the rain cover on top to block any wind / snow / and more.

Other Toddler Winter Gear

The terrible twos are here and I’ve recently experienced the toddler sumo wrestler while putting on his winter coat. What’s worked the best for us is to let my son go outside for a second without his hat, coat and gloves. He’s quickly realized how cold it is outside and immediately wants his coat.

I really like all the winter gear we’ve purchased for my son – from a balaclava to snow boots. Unfortunately it’s a lot of money to spend every winter, but worth it to be able to go outside every day. We try to plan ahead and purchase as much as we can during Black Friday. And we’re so lucky to have generous family members to help us out with hand-me-downs and gifts.

However, I still haven’t discovered the best toddler winter gloves. If you know where to find them, please let me know.

I hope you found this post to be helpful. And please feel free to share your tips in the comments!

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