How to Dress a Newborn in Winter: A Comprehensive Guide for New Parents

Baby sitting on lambskin rug wearing a Woolino 4 Season® Ultimate Baby Sleep Bag in Whales print

Are you currently in the throes of winter with a little one in your care? If so, how to dress a newborn in winter is probably top of your mind, and you may be wondering what you can and should do to make sure your baby has everything they needs to be warm, comfortable, and safe even when the temperature plummets.

We’re going to use this article to explore everything you need to know about dressing a newborn in winter. We’ll look at temperature regulation, what a baby should wear indoors in winter, what they should wear outdoors, and some winter baby safety tips to keep your precious bundle safe throughout the year.

Understanding How Babies Regulate Temperature

You might already know that newborn babies don’t regulate their body temperature as well as adults. They can lose heat almost 4 times faster. This is partly because they have a much greater surface area relative to their body size, so they cool down much quicker.

Having your baby at an incorrect temperature can be dangerous, with both extremes being problematic. A baby that is too cold is at risk of hypothermia, while a baby that is too hot could overheat, which can be fatal. Signs of being too cold include pale skin, shivering, and slow breathing. Signs of being too hot encompass flushed faces, sweatiness, and possibly rapid breathing.

You don’t want to reach the point where you notice any of these signs in your little one, which is why understanding how to dress a baby in winter is crucial. A common rule many parents follow is the “one additional layer” approach, suggesting that your baby should wear one more layer than an adult would need to feel comfortable in the same environment. Using this guide, combined with common sense, will help reduce the risks of both freezing and overheating, ensuring your baby's comfort.

Let’s delve deeper into how to appropriately dress an infant during winter.

How to Dress a Newborn in Winter (Indoors)

Firstly, it’s crucial to remember that you can control the indoor environment. Ensure that it maintains a comfortable temperature for your newborn, ideally between 68 and 72 degrees F. Keeping the room within this range simplifies the process of maintaining the right temperature for your baby.

Layering is the key to keeping your baby warm. Layers allow for minute adjustments by adding or removing them based on your child’s temperature.

However, a lot of parents aren’t sure how many layers a newborn should wear, which is where the rule mentioned above comes into play: dress them in one more layer than what you find comfortable. 

Examples of layers include:

It’s very important to choose fabrics that are breathable and comfortable, of course. You don’t want to bundle your little one into multiple layers of hot, sticky, constricting fabric, or they will get too warm! 

Choose breathable and comfy fabrics. You don't want your baby wrapped in thick, non-breathable materials, or they might overheat. Woolino’s sleep sacks made from merino wool are an excellent choice. 

Merino wool regulates temperature effectively, allowing air circulation while keeping the skin dry, ensuring warmth and comfort for the baby. They make for an ideal layer for ensuring a cozy, happy child.

 Baby with pacifier asleep on back in crib wearing a Woolino 4 Season® Ultimate Baby Sleep Bag in Night Sky print

Dressing a Newborn for Sleep in Winter

Dressing your child for bedtime during winter can be tricky. You want them warm throughout the night but without the risk of overheating. Excessive warmth at night can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a grave concern for parents.

Attention to sleepwear is paramount. It should be safe, snug, and temperature-appropriate. Swaddle blankets and sleep sacks, which fit snugly, are popular choices. Woolino’s swaddle blankets and 4-season sleep sacks are versatile and ideal for infants in colder environments. They regulate temperature effectively, reducing the chances of overheating or getting too cold.

Additionally, these sleep sacks are designed with safety in mind, offering adjustable lengths to grow with your baby. Plus, they come in various designs, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your infant. As your child grows beyond the newborn stage, these products remain suitable even in warmer weather.

How to Dress a Newborn in Winter (Outdoors)

When it's time to venture outdoors with your newborn during winter, careful planning is essential. Start with thermal layers close to your baby’s skin, such as a wool bodysuit. Add a long-sleeved shirt and pants, or a snowsuit for extremely cold days.

Thin layers offer better temperature control. It's advisable to opt for multiple thin layers rather than a few thick ones, giving you greater flexibility in regulating your baby's temperature.

You’ll also need to protect your baby’s head, hands, and feet, as these get cold very easily! A hat is essential, as babies lose a lot of heat through their heads. You should also choose some warm mittens, some cozy socks, and some booties to keep your baby’s feet warm and dry. 

Make sure that these items fit snugly, and your baby can’t pull them off.

Remember to adjust your baby's attire based on the outdoor temperature and conditions. A stroller cover can trap heat effectively, so consider this when choosing their outfit. After outdoor adventures, check their temperature by feeling their feet and stomach. Adjust their attire for future outings based on how they felt.

 Happy smiling baby sitting on lambskin rug wearing a blue Woolino merino wool bodysuit with blue striped Woolino merino wool footed pants

Winter Baby Safety Tips

Bulky winter baby clothes can be a safety concern, especially in car seats. Thick outfits can prevent car seat straps from securing your baby safely. Instead, opt for thin, warm layers like Woolino’s merino wool items. They keep the baby warm without compromising safety. Always avoid putting your baby in their car seat with a bulky coat or clothes.

Other winter tips include moisturizing your baby's skin, as cold air can be drying. A gentle, baby-friendly moisturizer can prevent skin discomfort. When baby-wearing, ensure their airway remains unobstructed and frequently check their temperature.


As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to how to dress a newborn in winter! You should maintain a steady indoor temperature as much as possible, and remember that choosing the right bedding will help at night. 

When it comes to outdoor wear, Woolino’s merino wool products are the perfect way to keep your baby comfy and at an ideal temperature, regardless of the blizzard that may be blowing! They are safe, soft, and snug - all the things your little one needs to brave the winter storms. 

They will help you avoid the risks of overheating and hypothermia, and they can be layered with other clothing to maximize warmth and safety for your little one.


How do I know if my newborn is too cold or too hot?

There are a few things that will tell you that your baby is too cold, including:

  • Pale skin
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Cold belly
  • Low energy
  • Slow breathing

Signs that your baby is too hot include:

  • Sweatiness
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Heat rash
  • Fast breathing

Make sure you keep an eye on your baby’s extremities if you take them out in cold weather, and never leave hands or feet exposed, even if your baby is warmly wrapped!

What is the ideal room temperature for my baby during winter?

The ideal room temperature for your little one is between 68 and 72 degrees F (20 and 22 degrees C). You should invest in a good room thermometer and regularly check it.

Can my baby wear a snowsuit or bulky winter jacket in the car seat?

No, you should never dress your baby in bulky clothes while they are in the car seat. The bulky fabric will prevent you from tightening the straps appropriately but may compress in the event of an accident. This will stop the straps from doing their job of securing the baby properly.

You can layer them up if necessary, and you’ll know that the car seat straps are still snug and firm, protecting your child if something should go wrong.

How many layers should my newborn wear outdoors in winter?

In general, a baby should wear one more layer than an adult would need to be comfortable. In practice, you need to adjust according to the baby’s comfort levels and the temperature outside. 

Sometimes, that will mean more layers and sometimes less. This is why layers are so important as you can remove or add them accordingly. Keep checking your little one, and help them to stay comfy by being proactive about temperature control!