How To Dress Your Baby For Every Summer Situation

From swimming to sleeping, here’s what they need to wear.

If you’re a new parent who just welcomed your little bundle of joy into your life, congratulations! There are probably a million things going through your head right now, and as a mom to a summer baby myself, I know that it’s basically a mixture of “Oh, I guess I never get to take cupcakes for a class birthday celebration” and “Oh crap, what do babies wear in the summer?” Newborns don’t adjust to temperature changes as well as adults do, meaning that extreme weather conditions can be tricky. And since they can’t tell you that they’re too hot or too cold, you have to figure it out on your own.

It’s especially important to keep an eye on their body temperature in the summertime heat. Babies can easily become overheated, and if you’re spending a lot of time outside, this can lead to heat rash or even heatstroke, which can be serious for an infant. You have to be wary of overheating at night, as well: studies show that babies who are too warm at night can fall into a deeper sleep, which can increase their risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

That all sounds terrifying and intimidating, but the truth is, figuring out how to dress your baby for summer isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Mayuri Morker, MD, pediatrician at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, tells Romper that, generally, “in warmer weather, baby’s clothing can be reduced to a single layer. Normally it is advised to dress the baby in one more layer of clothing than you are wearing to be comfortable in the same environment.”

Still feeling confused? Here’s exactly how to dress your little one for specific situations.

How To Dress Baby For Summer Sleep

Remember: you want to keep baby comfortable while they sleep, but you don’t want them to be too hot. What they wear to bed will really depend on whether or not you have air conditioning. And, in general, they should wear what you’re wearing, with one extra layer.

Dr. Morker says to “avoid overdressing and overheating. If you’re comfortable in a single layer nightwear, then babies need one more layer.” If you’re using a sleep sack or a swaddle, they should still wear pajamas underneath. Dr. Morker recommends one single cool layer inside a sleep sack or swaddle, and suggests that if the home temperature is cooler, add long pajamas under their swaddle or sack.

If you’re using a sleep sack or swaddle, opt for something made with a breathable fabric, like cotton. A swaddle with mesh inserts is great for breathability. As for pajamas, go for lightweight fabrics, like bamboo or organic cotton.

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How To Dress Baby For The Beach Or Pool

It’s fine to take your baby to the beach or the pool, but you definitely want to keep their temperature in mind. For one thing, they need to be in the shade at all times. “Babies under 6 months of age should avoid direct sunlight,” Dr. Morker says. “They should be kept in the shade using a stroller canopy, umbrella, or tree shade.”

As for clothing, Dr. Morker says to keep them in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and suggests adding a “brimmed hat that shades the neck.” Basically, you want to cover baby’s sensitive skin to protect it from the sun, but you still want them to be cool — that’s where lightweight fabric and shade comes in.

Make sure the hat covers their entire face and possibly their neck, and opt for a breathable fabric that also offers sun protection. As for swimsuits, your best bet is choosing something with more coverage, like long sleeves, a high neckline, and shorts or pants.

How To Dress Baby In Humid Weather

What about those days when the weather feels sticky and humid, with no end in sight? “Dress them in light-colored, lightweight clothing, and limit to one layer of absorbent material since kids have a lower capacity for sweating,” Dr. Morker says. Again, keep them in the shade. If it starts to feel too hot for you, even in the shade, then you might want to bring your little one inside.

What To Bring For Baby For An Outdoor Walk

Taking walks outside when it’s nice out is good for you and your baby. Still, it’s easy to lose track of your baby’s temperature when they’re laying all cozy in a stroller seat or bassinet attachment. Keep them in one lightweight layer, and if it’s very warm out, that’s about it. “Hat and blanket are not necessary when the environmental temperature is warm,” Dr. Morker says. “To avoid overheating, single layer clothing is recommended. If it’s breezy or cooler, like during an evening walk, you can add layers.”

It’s always a good idea to have a stroller fan to keep cool air moving in their direction, and a sunshade that protects them from UV rays is a must — if your stroller didn’t come with one, you can buy one.