Don’t let the cold weather scare you, traveling with a baby in winter is still possible. If you are well prepared with toddler and baby gear for cold weather, you’ll be able to truly enjoy your winter vacation.
In this post we share how to pack for travel to cold weather with a baby or toddler. We’ve included all our must have baby winter items which you can use as your winter packing list for baby. Many of these essentials for winter travel with a baby or toddler are small enough to pack, while others would be better for road trips with a baby.
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Recommended Reading: Tips for holiday travel with babies and toddlers
Not only is this winter wear for babies perfect for traveling to Canada, like this trip to Ottawa in winter with a baby, it’s suitable for ANY baby travel destinations in winter.
While this post specifically covers traveling with a baby in winter, these tips for dressing your baby for cold weather aren’t just for traveling. You can make use of all of these tips for keeping babies warm in winter at home and on staycations.
Either way, this post will ensure you can still enjoy being outside while keeping your baby warm in winter.
We live in Canada and have been through some very cold winters with our babies. You can rest assured that we’ve tried many things to find what works best to keep our babies warm in the winter.
Wondering what to do in winter with a baby? See all the things to do with babies in winter.
Toddler and Baby Winter Travel Essentials
First up in our winter baby clothing essentials is a base layer. Keeping your baby warm in winter means dressing your baby in layers.
Wool is the perfect base layer for keeping baby warm in winter because it’s soft, breathable and warm. It can also absorb moisture and feel warm when wet. Go for a full base layer of merino wool, then use fleece or merino wool knit leggings as a warmth layer on top.
We love the merino wool layers by Ella’s Wool. The Tubes are amazing and can be used on their own or as a warmth layer.
Get a 10% discount on all Ella’s Wool when you purchase direct from Ella’s Wool with discount code FamCanTravel.
Or click Shop This Item to buy from Amazon. These wool leggings are another good option.
Warm socks are definitely one of our cold weather baby essentials. Again, we recommend going with a wool sock for extra warmth. You’ll want to put extra layers on your baby’s extremities, especially if you are carrying your baby in a carrier outside your jacket.
Always keep in mind that your baby isn’t moving so your baby won’t be generating the same amount of body heat.
A jacket extender for using a baby carrier in the winter is the best way to ensure your baby stays warm. A jacket extender enables you to continue to wear your favorite jacket throughout your pregnancy PLUS it continues to work over your baby carrier.
The soft shell works great to block the wind, so it’s great for chilly spring or fall days too. An added bonus is that it packs small for travel and you don’t have to pack an extra jacket for when you aren’t baby wearing.
Other great features:
•The zip adapters are great to ensure it will work with all your jackets (Dad’s included!).
•Having your baby tucked in the warmth of your jacket will help keep your baby’s face warm in the winter weather.
A coat extender for a baby carrier should be on every list of best winter gear for infants.
Not all jackets will be compatible with a zip-on jacket extender. To get the same benefit of baby wearing in the winter while keeping your baby toasty warm, invest in a baby wearing jacket.
You’ll still be able to use your baby carrier inside your baby wearing jacket and protect your baby’s delicate skin from the cold.
For days when you are using the stroller instead of baby wearing, a warm stroller footmuff is one of the best ways to keep your baby warm in the stroller in the winter.
For our Canadian friends, we love the MEC stroller bag. This warm stroller bag got used in the stroller, in a sled for skating and even in our hiking backpack carrier. The stroller bunting bags are often large enough that they are also some of the best winter gear for toddlers.
A fleece bunting suit is typically enough outerwear for your baby when in a stroller footmuff. On warmer days, just indoor clothes may be good enough. On extra cold days, use a snowsuit and a weather shield for the stroller.
With a jacket extender and a stroller bunting bag for keeping babies warm in the winter, a fleece bunting suit will be enough on most days.
We recommend getting a bunting suit with fold over cuffs for two reasons:
•It ensures full body coverage (i.e. pant legs won’t ride up and expose skin to the elements).
•You won’t need separate mitts.
A snowsuit for your baby can be really useful, especially on mild winter days when you can carry your baby outside of your jacket. If your baby is crawling and likes to crawl around in the snow, you’ll get plenty of use out of a waterproof snowsuit.
You’ll want a waterproof snowsuit for dressing a toddler for winter. For extra cold days, you can use a toddler fleece bunting underneath the snowsuit.
This snowsuit for babies or toddlers is another great option for cold winter days.
A snowsuit or fleece bunting with fold over cuffs may be enough for your baby on mild days. This will be especially true if you are baby wearing in your jacket or using a stroller bunting bag. For extra chilly days, keep your baby’s feet toasty with some booties.
These Stonz booties are water and wind-resistant to keep the wind and cold out. With the adjustable toggles, they won’t fall off and you can put them on right over the fold over cuffs on the bunting suit. They also have soft, skid-resistant soles recommended for developing feet. These are perfect boots to add to your toddler cold weather gear too.
Don’t forget the liners for extra warmth.
Even if the temperature is not that cold, it’s important to block the wind since your baby’s face will still be exposed. A weather shield for strollers is the best way to keep baby warm in a stroller. Even in -25°C (-13°F) weather, our kids were still toasty warm inside the stroller when we used a weather shield along with all our other recommended winter gear for babies.
For a winter hat for babies, we look for ones that fasten under the chin either with a tie or with Velcro. This will help prevent your baby from taking it off.
For babies, the fold over cuffs on the fleece bunting or snowsuit are likely enough to keep your baby’s hands warm. For crawling babies and toddlers, we recommend the Stonz Mittz. They don’t have thumbs so they are easy to put on and will keep your baby’s hands warm and dry.
Packing a set of extra mitts is always a good idea to make sure you have a dry pair and in case one gets misplaced.
Don’t forget sunglasses for your baby or toddler. The reflection off the snow can be incredibly bright and some babies can be quite sensitive to bright lights.
One of the best infant winter essentials is a car seat cover. This allows you to put your baby in the car seat with only your baby’s clothes, covered with a blanket. The car seat cover will offer extra protection from the wind and cold. This is great for quick moves from the car to stroller.
For extra cold days, you may need to put an extra warmth layer on your baby once you are ready to move your baby out of the car. Snowsuits shouldn’t be used in the car seat when your baby is riding in the car.
The best stroller for snow is one with large wheels, like your favorite jogging stroller. The large wheels will enable you to push right through the snow and it will be useful for taking your baby skating!
For getting a little further out with your stroller, you can invest in skis for your stroller (like these ones) or use a Thule Chariot with a cross country ski attachment.
Winter sleds for babies are a fun way to take your baby out for a walk or for skating. We loved this Pelican sled that also offered some wind protection on extra chilly days!
Make sure to get one that’s appropriate for your baby’s age. We only recommend using a sled for a baby when your baby is able to sit up unassisted.
As mentioned previously, using a baby carrier in winter is one of the best ways to keep your baby warm (especially if using a baby wearing jacket). Your baby carrier for winter doesn’t need to be anything different than what you would typically use.
See all our recommended baby carriers for travel.
While we prefer a jacket extender or baby wearing jacket for keeping baby warm in a baby carrier, you can also get a baby carrier cover. This can give your baby some extra protection from the elements and is small enough to pack for winter travel with a baby.
We still recommend getting your baby a snowsuit if you’ll be wearing your baby in a carrier outside of your jacket.
Blankets, blankets and more blankets. You’ll never have more blankets than when you have a baby. Always pack a few extra blankets as they can work wonders for adding some extra warmth. You can use them to tuck around your baby carrier or to put on your baby in the stroller.
Don’t forget about your own hands! You’ve spent so much time worrying about keeping your baby comfortable in the cold weather. Hands can get really cold pushing a stroller, but these stroller mitts will help keep them toasty warm.
While not for dressing your baby, traction devices for your boots are essential when walking around with your baby in a carrier. If you are going to encounter icy patches on the pathway, keep both you and your baby safe with some extra traction. We used the Kahtoola microspikes but those were more for hiking with babies and toddlers while carrying them.
You may have noticed that we consistently recommend dressing your baby in layers. Layers are the easiest way to dress your baby for the winter because you can adjust as necessary.
Regardless of how you get your baby around (stroller, carrier or sled), check on your baby frequently and adjust the layers if your baby is too hot or too cold.
So now you know how to dress a baby in the winter, you can get outside and enjoy being in a winter wonderland! Better yet, you don’t have to worry about how to travel with a baby in the winter.
Shop all our recommended products directly on Amazon in our Winter Essentials for Babies shopping list.
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's been helping new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.