This is my second winter with a baby in tow and after much trial and error, you’d think I’d have the golden formula for keeping a baby warm—but guess again. Compared to my son, my daughter has a much lower tolerance for the cold which prompted yet another season of searching for the perfect outdoor winter gear.
Based on my experiences, I wanted to share my top picks for winter items that you may or may not have considered—not only to spare your bank account but to save your sanity as well. These recommendations may not all be for you but hopefully they can help narrow down what works best for your style of adventure and the needs of your baby.
1.A Baby Carrier
Out of all the baby carrying devices (slings, wraps, packs, etc.) I highly recommend a soft carrier. And by carrier I mean something that’s padded, breathable, and has adjustable straps and clips—especially if your main purpose is to get outside and be active with baby. After lots of research (and stumbling across an amazing deal) we settled on the All Season LílléBaby Complete 6 in 1. I could write a whole article on the benefits of this carrier but here’s the short version:
At first I was worried that a structured carrier wouldn’t provide the desired “closeness” that I wanted with my 2 month old but honestly, it couldn’t have been better. With the variety of carrying styles and ergonomic design, her head was nice and supported, she sat snug against me, and best of all, I could get it on quickly when I was venturing out solo with my 2 yr old and baby.
I loved the wrap that I used with my son but if you only want to invest in one carrier and you’re planning on multiple kids, I think a carrier like this is essential to stay on the move. It’s highly breathable (which is great in both hot and cold weather), is comfortable and supportive, has a variety of carrying positions, is easy to put on and off, and doesn’t shift or move during outdoor activity (I’m talking skiing, hiking, chasing a toddler, etc.)
There are several brands that provide carriers with a similar design including Onya and Tula so I recommend shopping around, trying them on, and investing in a colour/design you prefer cause these aren’t cheap!
2. Make My Belly Fit – Jacket Insert
I never purchased a Make My Belly Fit insert but after stretching all my husband’s jackets (and missing my own), I wish I had listened to my sister in law and purchased one of these amazing items. Rather than buying pricey jackets to accommodate you and baby (or stealing your husband’s…) this removable insert works with your jacket to extend the front and accommodate a growing bump or baby—yes, your regular, before-pregnancy, favourite jacket! They even make an added fleece layer for winter.
This addition, combined with a carrier from above, is the perfect way to get outside in the cold while keeping you and baby warm and happy. Plus it cuts down on a lot of packing compared to a stroller and if you know anything about trying to get outside with kids, quick is key!
3. Skip Hop Car Seat Cover
For the first winter with my son, I would tie, cover, and fold under, a thick fleece blanket to keep the wind and cold out while he was in the car seat. Apart from the times that it’d come undone and fall off in the parking lot or a puddle in the mall entrance, it worked pretty well…but, now with two kids on the go, I don’t have time to mess around.
This Skip Hop Stroll’n Go car seat cover is truly amazing and my #1 go-to item for anyone having a winter baby. It’s fleece lined, wind proof, has a peek window, and is perfectly designed to keep baby warm but not stuffy. In fact, it’s so warm that I recommend using one less layer than you normally would to keep your baby from over-heating.
4. Reima Toque
After searching long and hard, this Reima toque was the only one that fit my baby’s head nicely at such an early age. It wasn’t cheap but thankfully it was the only toque I needed until she was about 6 months old. It has a great design that comes down nicely over the ears without dipping over the eyes and doesn’t bulk up. Although I’ve had it layered at times, it has kept my baby warm and always seem to stay in place no matter how much she wiggles around.
I also bought the matching booties and although they feel super cozy and have a great cuff to fold up over pants, my preferred choice is still our tried and tested Padraig booties.
5. Polarized Sunglasses
This is a part of the body that’s easy to overlook (no pun intended)! Babies’ eyes are sensitive and although it might not seem like sunglasses are needed in winter, the snow can cast a harsh glare that’s tough on little eyes—especially if you are wearing your baby and venturing into the snow covered mountains on a bluebird day!
We love our KidSolair polarized sunglasses and to help justify the cost (~$48), we bought them in a bigger size to get at least two season of year-round use. They still fit great with the adjustable velcro straps and are extra secure when layered over toques and hoodies. Not only do they protect, they are also comfortable, light, adjustable, and they stay on—what more could you ask for?
For the life of me I cannot find a website that sells this product. We bought ours from The Great Outdoors in Calgary, AB.
6. Base Layers
Base layers aren’t cheap but they are definitely an investment worth making if you plan on spending time outside during the winter months. Warm babies are happy babies. Over the past couple of years, we’ve tried many brands—Helly Hansen, Luv Mother, Wee Woolies, Patagonia… (No, none of them were free).
Originally we settled on the Patagonia Infant Capilene Set for our son. They were slightly on the larger side (but so was he) and being a polyester/spandex blend they worked great with his sensitive skin. But most importantly, they kept him nice and toasty. They also washed extremely well and air dried quickly (I don’t put any base layers in the drier). However our daughter has a much different tolerance and the layering system we used with our son wasn’t working which prompted me to look into wool base layers.
After testing a couple of brands, my preference is the one piece Merino Zip Sleeper from Wee Woolies. The fabric is soft, the colours are beautiful, and it fits snug which allowed me to buy one size bigger so that I could use it longer without her getting lost in it. I’ve actually switched my son to the Wee Woolies Merino Base Layer set as well because I find they help regular his hot body temperature a lot better which keeps him dry and warm.
I could give lots of feedback on the various brands we’ve tried but will keep that for a separate article. In the meantime, try to buy used if you can otherwise take some time to read the reviews, try on different styles, and invest in a set that works with your baby’s needs.
7. Baby Buff
The Baby Buff is by far the most versatile piece of baby clothing and my go-to item for winter—we never leave the house without it! It folds up so small that you can easily keep it in a pocket and pull it out if the weather changes. Depending on how you fold it, it turns into a light toque, head band, or neck warmer (on the rare occasion it’s also been used to wipe snotty noses). In fact, they are so awesome that each member of our family has multiple buffs that we bring everywhere.
I find them especially useful for that pesky gap that forms between collars and helmets when doing sports. Without being bulky, it creates enough coverage around the neck to block out wind and cold. Sometimes I’ll even throw it over a regular hat to protect my son’s ears if he doesn’t want to wear a toque.
Again, these thoughts and opinions are just my own and may not work for every kid. If you have any other recommendations, I’d love to hear them! Please drop me a note since I’m always on the lookout for ideas that work.
Good luck and stay warm out there!
None of my posts are sponsored. All items are purchased with my hard earned money and all opinions expressed are 100% based on our personal experiences. *Except the Make My Belly Fit, but my sister in law is very opinionated and honest too 🙂