Is baby too cold?

Baby with coat on kissed by mother.

"You need to put some socks on her!"
"Here, let me put another blanket on him!"
"You better bundle them up, or they'll catch a cold!"


Anyone else hear these all the time? I am convinced everyone thinks babies need 200 layers of clothes and they still wouldn't be warm enough! I spent most of my maternity leave walking with Kennedy around the neighborhood, and most days on our walks a stranger would tell me that she must be cold, even though I thought she was dressed perfectly for the weather.

All of this unsolicited advice from strangers constantly made me question myself. Was Kennedy really cold and I just didn't know it?

The rule you'll probably hear from your pediatrician to make sure baby is comfortable is to dress baby in one layer more than you would dress yourself. Personally, I followed this for about a week and then as we learned more about Kennedy we learned that she did NOT get her temperature control from her mama.

My husband runs warm all the time. I run cold all the time. My daughter? She may be my mini-me, but she definitely takes after her father on this one! So we started dressing her in one more layer than DAD was wearing. When she was little, we checked on her a lot to make sure she was the right temperature. As she got older, she started making it VERY clear if she was too cold.

We dress her in layers and make adjustments when needed, plus we keep a swaddle blanket in the stroller and diaper bag to use if she gets cold. Swaddle blankets are SO helpful for temperature control because they're thin and pack small, though of course you want to be sure you aren't using any blankets while sleeping. For morning neighborhood strolls, a nice swaddle blanket can take the chill off!

Kennedy is one now, and she'll let me know if she's uncomfortable. As she's gotten older and more active, I find that if anything she is more comfortable with less clothing than she wore when she was a baby. 

This morning we went on a walk and I had on a long sleeved shirt over a t-shirt while she had on a short sleeved romper with shorts. It was about 65 so I initially put a very lightweight blanket on her, and she kicked off the blanket within about a block because she was warm. In fact she made the baby sign for "all done" that we use at meals - she was DONE with that blanket!

Strangers may be well meaning, but overheating can be dangerous, and babies can't regulate their body temperature like adults can, so it's important to dress them appropriately. Over time you'll get to know your baby and how they dress, and you can feel confident responding to the strangers that your baby is just fine! In the meantime, dressing your baby in one more layer than you have on and then checking on them frequently is the easiest rule of thumb!

As for how to prevent strangers from telling you your baby is cold? I wish I knew the answer to that baffling question.

If you're interested in learning more, check out this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Photo by Omar Lopez