With the frigid temperatures, we cannot deny that winter is in full swing in South Africa! Most of us dread getting out of our warm and snug beds each morning and the moment we do toss aside our warm duvets, we are instantly struck by an icy chill. We are certainly thankful for our thick winter coats, boots, winter woolies, leggings, socks, scarves and gloves.
If this is the first winter as a mom, you are more than likely a little unsure as to how you should be dressing your baby to make sure that they are comfy and warm throughout the day. Too many clothes can cause the tiny tot to overheat, just as too little clothing will cause baby to feel the cold. The question is how much is enough and how do you know whether you are dressing baby just right for the nippy winter temperatures!
Even though we get some pretty freezing weather in South Africa, we do not have to contend with winter snowfalls (in most parts) and blizzards. This does not mean that our infants do not need to have an excessively well-stocked winter wardrobe.
Essential winter woolies for baby
- Wooly hat;
- Socks or booties;
- Knitted jerseys;
Since body heat is lost through the feet and the head, it’s important to keep baby’s heads and feet warm and snug. A baby beanie or a knitted wooly hat is a must for all babies on the go. Some babies may protest the moment the hat goes and trying to get the hat on may become a comical game between mom and baby. The best type of beanie for babies is the kind without any ties. Remember everything will eventually end up in the mouth of the baby and although those adorable beanies with the tiny ear flaps and ties look gorgeous, they do pose a choking risk. A simple beanie that is slipped over the baby’s head is the ideal choice.
Wooly mittens are fantastic for warming up baby’s hands but again, not all babies are happy to have their hands covered up. Since we are not living in a country where temperatures drop to well below freezing, if the baby is visibly unhappy with their mittens, remove them and try again another day.
An all-in-one babygro is the best winter suit for a baby. The gro will offer complete cover from their toes right up until their shoulders and because it is an all-in-one suit, there is no chance of exposure to the cold air. Socks can be added over the babygro’s feet to provide a little more protection from the biting cold wind. A vest underneath the babygro is a definite must, as this will keep the baby’s chest and back warm. On particularly cold days, put the leggings on underneath the babygro, these can be removed when the temperatures increase.
We all know what our own feet feel like during those extra cold snaps (are you thinking ice blocks?) so be sure to keep baby’s feet warm at all times. The little one may not be running around, just yet, but this does not mean that their feet don’t get cold. Socks or booties will prevent any body heat from escaping and will keep baby comfy and warm.
The biggest mistake many first-time moms make is overdressing their baby. The best advice is to dress baby as you would dress yourself. Layered clothing works well for South Africa’s winters as most days are typically sunny and the temperatures are quite warm. The mornings and early evenings are certainly chilly, and by adding a jersey over the baby’s babygro and a beanie is all that’s needed to fight off the cold winter air.
If you are taking baby out at night, add the hat. A warm, snug coat over the baby’s clothing is also ideal however once you have arrived at your destination, remove the coat and hat. If the room’s temperature is comfortable, let the baby’s skin temperature dictate if another layer needs to be removed. All moms carry sufficient baby blankets when they are out and about and these are great to cover baby if they are sleeping or if mom feels they need a little more warmth.
Dressing baby for sleep time
Avoid using coats and beanies at sleep time. If the temperature in the room is warm and comfy then dress baby accordingly. A vest, babygro and socks are more than sufficient. Don’t forget to swaddle baby, as not only will it them help to maintain their body temperature but it will also help baby to fall sleep.
If the room temperature is particularly cold, a woolen jersey is all that’s needed. When dressing baby, layering is very important as the layers can be removed as needed. To ensure that baby is not overdressed and too hot, feel the top of baby’s head, if it is warm to the touch (and the infant is not unwell) try removing one layer of clothing, the jersey for instance.
One can find many gorgeous winter baby clothes, but when buying clothing for a little one remember to choose items that are both practical and safe. There is no doubt about it, a tiny biker’s jacket for a little boy is precious and very hard to resist but is totally impractical. Babygros have been found in baby’s cupboards for generations and they remain so popular because they work so well. These all-in-one suits are the best clothing choice, they work well during nappy changes, perfect for sleeping and being an all-in-one outfit they’re the best daywear for baby.
In summary, the key to getting it right when dressing babies is layering. If mom suspects that her little one is too hot, she can simply remove a layer of clothing and if the temperature happens to plummet, she can just add a layer. Packing a well-stocked baby bag when leaving home is an essential part of parenting and besides the necessary items, such as extra nappies, bottles, etc. the winter baby bag should contain a jersey, socks and baby’s beanie.