How to Dress Your Newborn Baby

A simple guide to dressing your baby, no matter the temperature or weather.

Babies aren’t able to regulate their own body temperature so they’re reliant on their parents or caregiver to dress them appropriately. Your pēpi is very sensitive to changes in temperature and can become unsettled if they are too hot or too cold.

You might be asking yourself: how many layers of clothing does my baby need? As a general rule of thumb, your pēpi will usually need one more layer of clothing than what you are wearing. If you have them swaddled or wrapped, this can count as one layer.

It’s best to have them dressed in clothing made from natural fibres, such as cotton, wool or bamboo – these help to keep their body temperature even. Merino wool is a great option year-round as it’s breathable but also insulates, meaning your baby will be kept warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot. Fleece can easily become too hot for babies so keep them safe and comfortable by dressing and swaddling your pēpi in wraps and clothing made from natural fibres instead.

Garments should be easy to put on and take off, comfortable for your baby, and a generous (but not too loose) fit. Any cords, ribbons or ties around the neck of clothing can be a hazard so should be avoided.

With booties, socks, footed pants and mittens especially, check for loose threads as these can get caught on their fingers and toes. Ensure they’re big enough as well – babies grow quickly! Your little one only requires socks when it’s cold and doesn’t really need shoes on their feet until they start walking.

Babies lose heat from their heads easily, so if it is cool enough for your baby to wear long sleeves, they will need to wear a warm hat or beanie. It’s important that your baby’s head is uncovered when sleeping though, as wearing a hat or beanie can cause them to overheat and increase the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI). When outside, you should put a wide-brimmed sun hat on them to protect their skin from sun exposure.

Onesies with envelope shoulders make for much easier changes - especially after a poo explosion! Instead of having to take it off over your baby’s head, it gives maneuverability to pull it downwards over their body instead.