3 Family Travel Bloggers from Canada and Russia share their tips for winter trips with babies.
Celine from Canada (www.babycantravel.com)
1. I know that layering is the answer to cold weather, but what do those layers you cover your baby with consist of?
We often used 3 layers for our baby. Layering basics typically consist of a base layer, a warmth layer and an outer layer. The base layer should be something that will still be warm when it is wet (like wool) but if we weren’t going to be out too long we just went with comfortable clothes. We followed that up with a fleece for warmth and an outer layer to protect against rain, snow and wind for the really cold days.
I especially like the fleece bunting suits that have fold-over cuffs to make sure no skin is exposed. Our outer layer was usually dependent on what we were doing and how we were carrying our baby. If our little one was in a stroller, we had a down-filled bunting bag. We found it easiest to dress our baby in a fleece suit for the car then straight into the bunting bag in the stroller. If we were carrying our baby, the outer layer was our jacket (using a jacket extender). Getting a jacket extender is worthwhile. It can be used for pregnancy then later to extend your jacket for baby wearing. The best part is parents can switch off with the baby (without needing to buy new jackets). See more about winter travel baby gear here.
2. How do you carry your baby in below 0 degrees, snow/rain?
When it was really cold I carried our baby in my jacket with a jacket extender so that we would both stay warm. Even on the coldest days, my body heat would keep my baby warm and I could make sure my baby’s face was also warm and away from the wind. If using a stroller, the best idea is to get a rain cover that can protect from snow, rain and wind.
3. Any tips to help the baby adjust to the difference in temperatures in and out?
If we were going in and out a lot, having a fleece suit on in either the bunting bag or in my jacket worked best. It was easy to just open my jacket or unzip the bunting bag so our baby wouldn’t overheat.
Kevin from Canada (www.wanderingwagars.com)
Layering the Baby
We usually start with a warm base layer of wool or quick dry synthetics such as polyester mixed with polypropeline. These materials do a great job of retaining warmth as well as wicking water, sweat and … other wetness … away from the baby to help keep them comfortable.
Babywearing in the snow or rain
The trick for snow and rain is simply keeping your child as dry as possible. As long as you cover up everything but their face, baby’s are usually able to stay very comfortable. In the snow we use waterproof boots, snowpants, shell jackets, toques and mitts. Mittens are always better than gloves as they allow the warmth of the hand and fingers to be shared among the rest of the hand.
Tips to help the baby adjust to the difference in temperatures in and out
As long as the baby is well bundled, there usually isn’t much of a need to take time to adjust. Being properly dressed will take any shock out of the cold temperatures and allow most children to play happily in most any temperatures.
Aja – Moscow (https://blog.thewanderingchaos.
Baby in Layers of Clothes
We start with a warm underlayers below a set of regular clothing. We base the regular clothing on what activity we will be doing most of the day. If we will be indoors we wear thinner clothing so that they are comfortable indoors. If we will be outside we dress them in thicker sweaters and pants. We use snow bibs and 3-in-1 jackets from Target. The 3-in-1’s are really helpful since it allows you to layer and take out or add more warmth.
The hardest part for us are the extremities, hands, feet, and head. Our toddlers love to take things off so that they can attempt to put it back on. We use neck gaiters that have multiple functions – scarf, hat, and face covering. We put a thermal hat on top of the gaiter and if it’s extra cold or windy we put the jacket hood over both of those to keep their head and face nice and toasty. For the hands, we use gloves that go above the elbow so that they are harder for our toddlers to remove. We put the gloves on before the jacket to keep them extra secure. We use smartwool toddler socks and snow boots rated to -25°F. We make sure that the elastic on the bottom of the snow bibs goes over the top of the boot rather than tucked it to ensure that snow doesn’t fall into the snow boot.
If they will be in the stroller or wagon for an extended time we use boot muffs to keep them extra cozy.
Babywearing when it rains/snows
I often babywear two of our toddlers at a time. We have a babywearing jacket that goes over all three of us. It adds some extra warmth and holds in our body heat, or allows us to go with a few less layers when its slightly above freezing. If my toddlers will be up and down a lot or playing outside then we still babywear them with all of the layers on. Since we have body heat x3, I usually have to take off a layer on the core of my own body if I’ll be wearing them for an extended time.
Adjust the baby to the difference in temperatures in and out
We continuously check to make sure that there is no exposed skin while we are outside. If we are outside for long periods we pop indoors occasionally to check their core temperature to ensure that they aren’t cold or overheating. It’s key not to do this out in the cold so that they don’t lose body heat. We watch for red cheeks which can be a sign of being cold OR hot. If you have a newly potty trained toddler consider using pull-ups since it can take time to get them out of so many layers. The cold dries out skin quickly so we put lotion on their faces as soon as we get inside. Watch for drool while you’re outside, it can cause rashes and dry out their faces even more.