Baby clothes are fun.
It’s cute and makes you smile. There’s no denying it.
One of the most exciting things as an expecting parent is to start looking at & buying the most adorable outfits you possibly can. Like that ladybug-inspired swimsuit or the little aviator-inspired hat! How cute are those little shoes with the bunny-ears!
But winter-time brings on a whole new challenge… Not only are you faced with the usual tasks of feeding, caring & organising (to your best attempt). You also need to make smart decisions between something that is just too adorable for words and something your little one will actually want to wear. Something that he will be happy & comfy in.
There’s nothing worse than already running late, trying to juggle the diaper-bag over one shoulder, car-keys in one hand and trying, for the umpteenth time to convince junior to put on another warm layer before going out. And then a few minutes later in the car….just as you get onto the highway, junior starts crying because he is just too warm.
Believe me, 8 out of 10 times, the above scenario will probably still happen. But we at Wolf Wolf have started this clothing label, believing that it is definitely possible to merge a practical and stylish lifestyle with babba. Getting your head around a few winter-wardrobe tried & tested basics and tricks, can really help to make your life just that teensy bit easier. As soon as you have these down, you can enjoy focusing on all the stylin’ outfits you’ll be putting together:
1. Layering is a must. It enables you to keep up with an active baby by adjusting the layers to her needs. Taking off a layer when she is crawling/waddling around and getting hot, and adding the layer back on as soon as she calms down and is ready for a nap.
Start with a good quality first layer: For winter, a Wool-Polyester or Cotton-Lycra babygrow is best. 100% cotton tends to stay damp once it’s absorbed moisture so will start agitating baby’s skin as soon as she gets a bit hot and starts to perspire. Fabrics like Lycra are better insulators. At Wolf Wolf our babygrows are usually a mixture of 100% cotton fronts with Cotton-Lycra backs. For winter we also do full-on Cotton-Lycra babygrows, leggings etc.
* A handy tip on layering, to keep socks in place, is to put them on before putting on footed-leggings over the socks.
2. As a new parent, you might not yet have the confidence in trusting your own intuition as much as you actually can. So as a general rule of thumb, dress your baby in the same amount of layers you are dressed in and keep another layer on a hot stand-by. So, for example, if you are dressed in a long-sleeve top with a light cardigan over, do the same for babba and keep a nice cosy hooded-jacket at the ready.
But don’t babies get colder more easily than grown-ups?
Yes, they do, but most of us have the tendency to overdress our little ones. During early-winter in European countries such as France you will see mildly dressed babies out and about until late at night. Even with their much colder winters, babies there are allowed to get a bit colder than our babies do, and they seem just fine. Again, trust your gut. You will get to know your baby and see when he’s too hot or cold.
Dr. Kathleen Alfano Ph.D (former director of child research at Fisher-Price) has some great advice for parents:
“In general, if your baby seems reasonably calm and happy, and is sleeping comfortably inside or out, then she is probably dressed just fine. You don’t have to worry and adjust to every temperature change. Just make sure you protect babies from extreme heat or cold. You want to be protective but you want to make sure your baby’s body learns to adjust to temperature changes as well”
3. Do a 3 point-check
When going out, make sure the following are covered:
If it is really cold and you feel up to the challenge, try to get some mittens on those toddler-hands as well.
4. When buying clothes, look for winter items that are easy-pieces.
· Easy-on & easy-off items, like items with full-length front openings, make dressing & nappy-changes much easier. (Especially the ones with zips…we’ll be working on these at Wolf Wolf for next winter).
· Look for items with a hood already attached. Trying to juggle a hat that constantly falls on the floor, whilst feeding, is not fun.
· When you do choose to buy a separate hat, because it is just too cute, choose one that fastens underneath the chin & properly covers baby’s ears without constraining them.
· A lot more shops these days are selling warm winter leggings for baby-girls. If you haven’t yet, try them, they keep great warmth and are much more practical than normal socks that constantly fall off/get lost.
· For the bottom-layer opt for a babygrow-style that fastens at the crotch instead of a plain t-shirt-style. This will avoid the bottom-layer riding up and exposing baby’s skin
· Go for a full-length babygrow instead of seperates, especially for sleep-time. An added bonus is one with feet.
· On the topic of sleeping: consider a sleeping-sack/wearable blanket, as these are great at keeping babba warm but still allows him to easily move his arms. If possible, buy a few and keep them nearby for easy changes. A general tip is to rather line baby’s bed with a warm winter-sheet and minimise clothing & blankets. (Keep a few of these sheets nearby as well….)
· As soon as your baby starts walking, forget about the cute winter-boots you saw at the store yesterday. Invest in some more socks and soft shoes (especially the soft leather ones). Your little one is just learning to walk, so her footing is still a bit unsure. Hassle from heavy chunky boots is an unnecessary frustration for both of you. You can buy the cute boots next winter.
5. Soothed babies are the happiest babies!
When dressing baby, no cuteness of any outfit can surpass the way it needs to feel on baby’s skin. At Wolf Wolf we truly focus on using the softest fabrics that are gentle against sensitive skins. When shopping, look for garments that are especially soft on the inside, with no abrasive stitching/tags that will irritate baby’s skin. (As a side-note, as soon as you have looked at it, you can always cut off the washing instructions/tags etc. on the inside)
Then last but not least: In winter-time, after bath-time, go for rubbing baby’s skin with a nice soothing oil instead of a cream before getting dressed. Not only is it good for locking in some extra moisture, but it also locks in a bit of extra heat.
With all these tips & tricks, we realise, you still need to get out of that door, with the diaper-bag, baby & your sanity intact. So in the end, our best advice for dressing baby in winter time would be:
Be as prepared as possible, but know and accept that you are going to need time for the “process”. And as far as possible, enjoy it!