What Do You Need for a Winter Baby?

What Do You Need for a Winter Baby?
Girls' owl hat from Etsy seller shayahjane
What Do You Need for a Winter Baby?
Girls' owl hat from Etsy seller shayahjane

As a soon-to-be mom-of-three, you’d think I’d have most parenting questions down (at least regarding the 5-and-under set)—but I’m still struggling with some unknowns. Having had two spring babies, this time around I’m due on January 2nd—and I have no idea if there’s anything special I need or should know about having a winter baby.

I always wanted to avoid having a baby in winter—most specifically right around the holidays—because I thought that those with birthdays right then always get the short end of the proverbial stick (or candy cane) when it comes to presents (yes, part of my family planning had to do with thinking about gifts). But now we’re expecting a baby girl (our first!) the day after New Year’s—right during the heart of cold and flu season, and I could care less about the timing—except that I’m terrified of being housebound for any period of time with a newborn (I feel like I owe any past sense of sanity during those newborn days to being able to stroll around outside for hours at a time, my baby tucked into a carrier or stroller). And while I’m sure my two older kids will be bringing home plenty of germs from school anyway, I’m also pretty sure that I’m not supposed to bring this little one out, exposing her to the cold and sick strangers.

So, assuming we’re mostly indoors during that time, do I need anything special? Just maybe an additional layer of clothes? Warmer blankets? I’m guessing our beloved Aden & Anais muslin blankets won’t cut it in January. Do you always keep a hat on winter babies (like this super-cute one from Etsy shop shayahjane)?

Really, tell me: Is there some super-secret method of caring for a winter baby that I’m not privy to? Is there anything that I’ll need for bringing her outside when I absolutely have to, i.e. the pediatrician’s office?

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Melanie Monroe Rosen is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and mom of two boys, ages 3 and 5, who is currently expecting her third (and very much final) baby in early 2013. A former senior editor at Parenting.com, Melanie was surprised to discover that all of her experience breastfeeding, homebirthing, babywearing, co-sleeping, and cloth diapering actually counted as professional experience. She’s a big fan of reading both Scandinavian mystery novels (to herself) and favorite chapter books from her childhood, like those by Roald Dahl (to her kids).


  1. Lots of layers…no coats under the carseat buckles but jj cole bundle me cover for the carseat is a must it lines the bottom and has an easy cover for the top fleece lined but wind and water proof…lots of fleece swaddlers for bedtime….and aquaphor ointment for any exposed skin before going outside prevent chapping and windburnt skin (dont forget behind ears!)

  2. I have a December baby, and we loved our fleece sleepers! For going out, we had a carseat cover so I would tuck a blanket around her & put the cover on. If she was too warm, I’d pull the blanket out. The cover also kept people from touching during cold & flu season! It’s homemade, but it’s one with the Velcro panel window over her face so I could open that up & just her face would show.

  3. oh, and i second the carrier, in very cold or very snowy days i just put her in the sleepy wrap in a hooded one-piece, put on my husband’s winter jacket which was big enough to cover the both of us keeping us both cozy. Only her little nose and face peeked out. she usually fell asleep almost immediately.

  4. I had to take out my December bunny into the Massachusetts winter almost every day since she was 3 weeks old: the dog needed to be walked!
    Long sleeve onesie under a footed sleeper, then a fluffy pram (carters sells very cute ones), which has built in sleeves and hood. Plus a hat. I put a fleece blankie under her and covered her with one in the bassinet of the stroller, then we were ready to face the New England winter.
    The bassinet for the stroller was a life-saver and allow it to keep her warm.
    It is also pretty cold in our apartment so I usually kept her in a cozy sleeping bag during the day too, my favorite was the sozo nap sak – cute and warm.
    i personally don’t like the fleece outfits, i found that she got overheated and sweaty in them very quickly. A few layers of 100% cotton worked much better, or a 100% cotton under the fleece, if we went outside.

  5. I always kept a hat on my November baby. We used flannel swaddlers on top of fleece sleepers. I tried not to bathe her more often than was really necessary because she would get chilled so easily, but when I did give her a bath we would run a space heater to get the room nice and toasty.

    When we had to leave the house I used one of those JJ Cole carseat buntings in the carseat and the stroller, and that worked really well. When she was really small I’d kind of stuff the inside of it with another blanket, since she didn’t really fill it up.

    I also wore her in an ergo or a Moby wrap a lot, which gave her my body heat. I would button my big coat around her, and with a hat, she was nice and warm.

  6. I have two winter babies (Oct – in NH, and Feb). We used flannel swaddlers, they LIVED in footed sleepers (they make lots of nice fleece ones). Our other issue, make sure the sleeping location of the baby doesn’t have a draft. We moved around our pack-n-play (we used it as our bassinet) until we found a good, warmer spot. Also, pay attention to your baby’s temperment – my oldest got hot FAST (just like her dad) so sweaters/hats/extra blankets were unnecessary, and overheating caused screaming meltdowns! Her little sister, however, get’s chilly easily, and will wake up if her toes get cold. After a month or two, sleepsacks are a lifesaver. Also, remember, no heavy bunting/jackets in a carseat – use a blanket or get a carseat snuggly for on the go. Also, when you do have to go out in “public” (groceries, school events, etc) – using a carrier instead of the stroller kept the germy-handed away from the baby. They could look but never touched! My favorite for ity-bitties is a Moby – comfortable, warm and too-close for people to go touching!


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