As featured in Mother & Baby Magazine Dec ’17
“Don’t forget to put on your jacket.” As soon as I heard myself yell out those words to my kids, I realised it was time to sort out the winter wardrobe. In a country where winter ranges from pretty much non-existent to chilly, how does one go about deciding the appropriate amount of dressing?
A simple rule of thumb, as guided by the American Paediatric Academy, is to dress your child in one more layer than you have on. In simple terms if you are wearing a t-shirt and a jacket, a child would need an addition of a sweater or sweatshirt. Avoid going overboard and having your little one all covered up and kept warm indoors through the day. Fresh air is important for babies even on cold days. As a mother, appropriately dressing the baby to get through the winters can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your first. Use this as a guide to ensure your little one remains warm and toasty through the cold.
Layer ‘em up
Layers are a great way to keep them warm as the air pockets between layers help trap heat. Move with ease from indoors to outdoors by adding or removing layers and not having to choose between being too hot or too cold.
The importance of a good quality base layer cannot be stressed upon enough. It should absorb body sweat and keep the baby’s skin dry. Avoid a full cotton base layer which will retain moisture and can lead to a cold. Instead, choose something in polyester or a superior quality merino wool that fits snugly.
Full Sleeve t-Shirts or body suit
Stock about six to eight of these, as you might need more than one a day. On days when it is not too cold, simply throwing on a jacket should suffice.
The quintessential piece for layering, a good knit sweater, is soft and breathable and fits snugly over a long-sleeved body suit. Two to three sweaters will see you through the winter.
A day jacket and perhaps a warmer fleece jacket for mornings and nights would be a smart choice. It should allow for easy movement, so the kids are free to play and run around in it.
Socks, hats and mittens
Young bodies lose heat rapidly and they are unable to communicate that they are getting cold. Prevent heat from escaping from the extremities by covering your child up with a hat (preferably one that covers the ears), socks and mittens. Remove these once indoors to avoid overheating.
Tucking in for the night
For the nights, dress your child up in a long-sleeved romper or night suit, and swaddle or tuck him in a sleep sack. Overheating and loose blankets increase the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) so steer clear. Instead, maintain the temperature that you would be comfortable in and check your baby’s hand and feet to gauge if he’s too cold or comfortable.
When it comes to winter dressing, it is quality over quantity. Invest in a few good pieces that will see you through the cold months. Suchita Jalan who shifted to Toronto from Chennai at the onset of winter with her eight-month old baby, says, “It’s been tough acclimatising her to sub-zero temperatures. On better days, we bundle her up and use a fleece cover up for her stroller to get some fresh air. At home, we crank up the heater and outfit her in cotton overalls. We make sure she always has her socks, mittens and fur hat on.”
For the rest of us who do not have to brave such harsh winters, stepping out in style with our little ones for a wedding or party, can be fun with intelligent dressing. Stockings, for example, are a great way to dress up those party dresses. Pretty summer dresses can be layered with a long-sleeved t-shirt for a day party. A cardigan is an essential piece of layering which can add to your winter style. Choose one with embellishments or add your little one’s favourite brooch to dress it up. Designer duo Ishita and Adity love playing with rich luxurious fabrics for their kids’ winter collections. “Keeping the weather in mind, we design long, beautifully embroidered velvet jackets with palazzos or pants and floor length raw silk gowns, both of which can easily be layered with a body warmer inside. For little babies we complete the ensemble with matching mittens and booties.”
Remember, with appropriate dressing, spending a day out at a park or a party can be a wonderful change to cozying up indoors. Turn a chilly winter into a cheerful one by following these suggestions to keep a little bit toastier through the cold months.