We might pile on thermals, jumpers, jackets and scarves when we’re chilly and take them off when we need to – but how do we know when our babies need an extra layer, or are getting too warm?
Aside from the obvious (feeling their skin and seeing how warm they feel), there are few other things parents can do to make sure their little one is cosy, but not overheating.
[Read More: Our pick of the best baby snowsuits for winter]
1. The Multi-Layer Approach Is Good.
When you’re out and about, the general rule of thumb is to count how many layers you are wearing, and put your little one in one more, says Sanjima DeZoysa, parent content manager, at the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). “So, if you’re in a shirt, sweater and jacket, your baby might need a vest, sleep suit, jumper and coat.”
Cosy snowsuits (find some brilliant ones here) are handy for long periods in cold temperatures when you’re outside.
2. De-Layering Is Just As Important.
Just as vital as layering-up to go out, you’ll need to layer down your baby when you’re inside. “Take off a baby’s hat and extra clothing just as soon as you come back indoors,” advises the NHS. “Even if it means waking your baby.”
The same goes for cars – keep layers to a minimum. “Cars can be icy cold to get into in the wintertime but they soon warm up,” the NCT states. “And if you’re still worried that your baby’s cold, lay a blanket over them after they’re safely strapped in.”
3. Check Their Tummy If You’re Unsure.
Little hands and tiny feet will inevitably feel cold in the winter weather, so the NCT advises to check your baby’s tummy – “it’s a much better indicator than their hands,” it advises. If their belly feels warm, but not overheated, it’s a sign your baby is pretty cosy.
[Read More: How to make your toddler wear a coat]
4. Make Sure They’re Comfy, As Well As Warm.
The NCT says baby clothes with natural fibres – like cotton and wool – are great for winter and help to maintain body heat, as they’re gentle and let skin breathe.
So when you’re out shopping for winter warmers, think comfort over how cute something is. “Try to choose clothes that allow your baby to move their arms and legs as easily as possible,” the charity adds. “They might prefer a couple of soft, lined cardigans rather than a big stiff coat.”
5. Keep A Cooler, Not Warmer, Bedroom For Babies At Night.
You might think the hotter the better, but err on the cooler side when putting your baby to bed at night. Babies can overheat at night if their room is too hot.
The NHS says to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C. If you don’t have a room temperature thermometer and you’re worried, you can download apps that give you digital temperature.
6. Avoid Lots Of Blankets At Night.
Most of the time, it’s okay to put your baby in their usual sleep suit or baby grow even when it’s cold, advises the NCT. “You can add a blanket if necessary, but always remember to put them to sleep at the bottom of their cots,” the charity advises. “That way they don’t wriggle down underneath them.”