Figuring out what outfit to bring baby home from hospital in winter seems minuscule but is a question that goes unanswered for many new parents. Winter babies are especially complicated because they need to wear warm clothes that don’t limit their car seats’ safety features.
Before you prowl the internet for a special outfit to keep your baby warm, hear me out. Simply dressing your baby girl or boy in layers is the best way to keep them warm in a cold climate.
Let’s discuss the safest way to do that.
What Does a Winter Baby Wear Home From the Hospital?
During winter, dress your newborn baby in layers – as many as you are comfortable in, plus one more. The extra layer is imperative as newborns cannot regulate their body temperature and lose body heat approximately four times quicker than adults.
While bulky coats and snowsuits are adorable on tiny babies, they’re also dangerous.
Some data shows that the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is more prevalent during cold weather as parents overdress their infants to keep them warm, causing them to overheat.
So, what’s the answer to extreme temperatures? Not too much and not too little! The extra layer recommended above should be a light blanket that is easy to remove. Also, be sure to equip your newborn with a hat since babies lose most of their body heat through their heads.
Recommendations vary by state as the weather is different, so simply ask your healthcare provider, “How do you dress a newborn coming home from hospital in winter?” if you have any questions. However, as a general rule of thumb, bring your winter baby home from the hospital in the following ensemble.
- Footie pajamas
- Onesie beneath the footies, if necessary
- A warm light blanket on top
What to Avoid for a Baby Coming Home Outfit in Winter
Now that you know what to do, let’s talk about what not to do. Avoiding some common mistakes will keep your baby safe and warm.
As mentioned above, cute fluffy coats look like a good option for keeping your baby warm, and they certainly do their job, but they’re also hazardous. Babies cannot communicate when they’re too hot or cold, nor can they regulate their body temperature like us.
Therefore, winter coats increase the chances of your baby overheating, simultaneously increasing their chances of SIDS. Bulky coats also restrict car seat safety as the heavy apparel prevents the straps from resting snuggly against your baby’s body.
A video released by the Today Show in 2019 shed light on the issue by showing what could happen if you strap your baby into their car seat while they’re still wearing their winter coat.
Once your newborn gets slightly older, they can wear their coat backward, as long as it is over their car seat straps. However, for their first few car rides, stick to layers.
Many new parents resort to swaddling in place of heavy coats. It’s true – a swaddled baby is a content baby, and swaddles are typically the best answer to, “What should a newborn baby wear in winter?” and “What should baby wear in hospital in winter?”
There’s also a long list of benefits that answer the question, “Why swaddle a baby?” However, swaddling is not ideal for car rides as it restricts your newborn’s legs and prohibits a car seat’s harness strap.
That’s why medical professionals recommend covering babies with a warm blanket instead – as long as you’re doing it the right way. Save the swaddled baby efforts for bedtime!
Improper Blanket Placement
A blanket will always be included in the answer to, “What should baby wear home from hospital during winter?” However, there’s a safe way for them to wear one.
Do not cover your baby with a blanket and then strap them into the car seat. Much like a bulky winter coat, the inside of the car seat’s harnesses can be dangerous if you were to experience a collision.
Instead, strap them into the car seat, ensure a good fit, then cover them with a warm blanket. Additionally, only place the blanket in their lap to prevent it from covering their face.
What Should a Newborn Baby Wear In Winter? Other Things to Consider
There are additional ways to keep your baby warm besides clothing. We’ve answered, “What should a baby wear home from the hospital in winter?” Now, let’s discuss a few other things you should consider before taking your brand new baby home.
Prepare for the Walk to the Car
Walking from the safety of your hospital room into cold temperatures takes up such a small amount of time but is something many parents should stop to think about. There are a few things you can do to make this walk as quick and painless as possible for you and your little one.
First, consider sending someone to warm up your car before you and your baby make your way out of the hospital. If you live in an extremely cold climate, your newborn will struggle to regulate its body temperature on its own.
This is dangerous because babies use oxygen to keep themselves warm, and if their body temperature drops, they can use up to 10 percent of their available oxygen. Therefore, they should enter an already-warm car.
Luckily, most vehicles have specific temperature settings. Anywhere from 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius) is considered a comfortable temperature for babies. If you feel like it has become too hot in the vehicle, remove your baby’s blanket.
Add a Car Seat Cover
Hospitals in the U.S. will not let you leave without a car seat. Most medical teams require you to bring your car seat into the room and strap your baby in before they discharge you. This protocol is beneficial to new parents as they have nurses overlooking and helping them.
It also gives you the chance to place a car seat cover over your baby before heading into the cold. However, you should be aware that most medical professionals advise against using aftermarket products in car seats since they are not tested nor held to the same federal safety standard.
So while car seat covers can protect babies against the cold while outdoors, be sure to unzip or remove the cover once you get into the warm car to prevent your baby from overheating and maximize safety in the case of a crash.
Clothing Size and Material
Predicting exactly how much your baby will weigh as well as how tall they will be, is impossible. To further complicate things, varying brands of clothing can fit drastically differently.
Therefore, consider bringing the following sizes of footies and onesies to the hospital with you – preemie, newborn, and 0-3 months. Clothes that are slightly too big won’t bother your newborn, but tight-fitting clothes may irritate their skin.
You should also know that newborn babies have sensitive skin, so stick to cotton or cotton-blend clothing. Cotton is gentle against the skin and easy to clean. You’ll learn rather quickly how important effortlessly being able to clean soiled onesies is!
While we love a tulle tutu on a baby girl or some khaki pants and a bow tie on a brand new baby boy as much as the next person, leave these types of clothes for the at-home photo shoots.
Comfort and convenience are most important to consider when packing your hospital bag. You want your baby to leave the hospital comfortable, warm, and in clothes that you can easily remove when necessary! Now isn’t the time to find the “perfect outfit” for looks, but for functionality.
How Should You Dress a Newborn to Go Home in the Winter Recap
Don’t let the vast amount of information here overwhelm you. Keeping your baby warm is simple. The answer to “What do babies wear out of hospital?” will always be one more layer than you think, despite the season. These extra layers should come in the form of something easy to remove, like a light blanket.
Taking your baby home should be exciting, not stressful! We hope this article has helped, but most of all, we hope you find peace in knowing that babies are resilient, and so are you!
Steph is a passionate mom who co-founded Wumblers to share her parenting journey with others. She graduated from Concordia University with a masters degree in Education Technology and worked as an advisor for many years. Steph loves being a mom and wants to have more kids.
Learn more about Steph and Wumblers here.