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Must-have winter gear for babies

Image by Joel Benjamin, 2011. All rights reserved.

No one likes to leave the house on a morning when the temperature is 9 degrees, but it can be especially brutal for your baby. Babies feel the cold very acutely because they don’t have the same fat stores as adults, and they also can’t shiver – and shivering is the body’s way of warming up.┬áNow that the weather in the Northeast is (finally) starting to act like winter, I thought it might be helpful to talk about 5 essential products that help babies stay nice and warm.

1. A footmuff
If you’re taking your baby for a walk outdoors during the winter, a footmuff is one of the best ways to add warmth to the stroller. There are many different options and price points. Usually, as with winter coats, price correlates to quality and quantity of the insulating materials, so a more expensive footmuff will be warmer than a less expensive one. So if you’ve got a really good snow suit, you can probably spend less on a footmuff. But the reverse also applies. If you invest in a great footmuff (which you can use for 2-3 seasons), you may not need as good a snow suit (which will typically only fit for 1 or 2 seasons at most).

Bonus: Baby Jogger makes a stroller hand muff for the caregiver pushing the stroller around. Brilliant!

2. A rain cover for your stroller
A lot of people think that a rain cover is only for rainy days (which makes sense, I suppose). But actually, rain covers do a great job of blocking the wind and holding in heat. If you can get one that’s tailored to your stroller, you’ll get a really tight fit against the stroller frame, but any rain cover will help on a bitterly cold day.

3. A hat
Scientists have proven that the old adage about body heat getting lost through the head is a myth, but no one disputes that wearing a hat makes you warmer. Get at least a couple of warm hats for your baby, since hats have a way of disappearing (and with all the adorable options out there, who could choose just one?). I prefer hats with some sort of lining, because they’re extra cozy. If you wish you had the skills (or time) to make your baby a hat, you can always visit Etsy.com and live vicariously through the talented craftspeople there, who will gladly whip up something spectacularly cute.

4. Mittens
If your baby is old enough that trapping his hands inside his bunting isn’t going to fly, you’ll need a good pair of mittens. As you know from your own cold-weather experience, keeping hands warm is always a challenge. Some days, even the most high-tech ski gloves just aren’t up to the task. Not so for Bearhands. I own a pair of adult Bearhands, and they are easily the warmest option for any winter day (not great for snowball fights or text messaging, but ideal for everything else). They are lined with Thinsulate, and, as with any mittens, the fingers are all in one section, so body heat also helps keep fingers toasty.

5. A bunting
Snow suit, bunting, footsie: whatever you want to call it, I’m referring to a piece of outerwear that’s all one piece, preferably with a hood, and for younger babies, with fold-over arm and foot flaps. Don’t buy a coat for your baby if this is his first winter – a full-body snowsuit holds in heat and keeps your baby warmer. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a down-filled poofy affair (though those are very nice and warm). A good fleece will be fine most of the time, especially if the feet and hands can be closed off, and if it’s paired with a hat and a footmuff, or another blanket for extra warmth. It’s all about the layering. If you do go for something very cushy, it should not be worn in the car seat. All that “poof” can create the illusion that the harness straps are tight when actually, they are not. In a crash, the material will compress and the straps can become too loose to properly protect the baby.

6. Booties
Depending on your outerwear selection, you might be able to get away with a good pair of socks. But if your bunting doesn’t cover the feet, or if you’ve got an older baby who’s on the move, a good pair of warm boots or booties is┬áindispensable. I’ve always been a big fan of Ugg boots for toddlers and older kids, because I know how warm they keep my feet. 7AM Enfant has really nice, warm booties for babies and toddlers that are just SO snuggly I wish they came in my size.

With these winter essentials, your baby can enjoy the sights of the season without suffering from the cold. Get some air, get some exercise, get dressed and get outside!

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