Too hot. Too cold. Just right. Like Goldilocks, little ones can be quite particular about the outside temperature since their bodies aren’t able to regulate internal temperatures as well as adults. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Because of their unique physiology, children are more susceptible to temperature extremes and their health effects.”

For that reason, there are simply some extreme conditions when it isn’t safe for your baby to spend time outside: With extreme heat, dehydration, fatigue and headaches are possible. With very low temperatures, hypothermia is a bigger threat to young children than it is to adults.

Related: 4 baby clothes must-haves for their (perfectly adorable) wardrobe

The good news? That’s in extreme conditions. Most of the time, it’s just about knowing how to dress your baby for cold weather or hot weather or any weather in between. And for the most part, that just means the right amount of layering to keep baby comfortable.

“The general rule of thumb is that your baby should be dressed in one more layer than you feel comfortable in,” said Diana Spalding, CNM. “If you are happy with one long-sleeve shirt, your baby should probably have a long-sleeve onesie, plus another shirt or light jacket on top.”

Still, even knowing how to dress yourself can feel complicated sometimes.

We created a handy cheat sheet for how to dress your baby based on outside temperature.

How to Dress Baby for Weather Temperatures Motherly

Keep in mind that other factors can affect your comfort outside, such as humidity, windchill and the sun. When in doubt, dress your baby in layers that you can easily add to or shed!

For expectant parents, it also helps to plan ahead to know what types of clothes to buy in what sizes based on how old your baby will be during winter, spring, summer or fall. Here are some of our favorite layers to add to your baby registry!

How to dress your baby based on the outside temperature

baby knit overalls

Hanna Andersson

Baby Knit Overalls


Babies in overalls—is there anything better? A soft, knit pair like these from Hanna Andersson is a great choice that allows for layering and warmth in cooler months so baby can move, crawl, and even take a few steps. When it’s warmer out, pair these adorable bottoms with short sleeves rather than long to help baby be more comfortable.

baby sherpa pram


Baby Sherpa Pram


Made with cuddly poly sherpa and cotton, this super soft baby sherpa pram will keep your little one cozy in cool weather. Great for layering over pants and a long-sleeve top, the pram zips up for quick wardrobe changes. Bonus—it’s certified clean, which means it’s safe from over 400 chemicals.

Ugg Bixbee Booties


Bixbee Ankle Boots


Available in a size for 0-12 months, these boots can see your baby through a full year of cool weather. With 4.8 stars from nearly 4,000 reviews, parents love that these shoes actually stay on babies’ feet and are really cozy.

Organic Cotton Baby Cardigan

Hanna Andersson

Organic Cotton Baby Cardigan


This is a classic layer for good reason! Made with organic cotton sweaterknit and available in a variety of sweet colors, no one will blame you for registering for a few sizes of this cardigan.

5-pack bodysuits for baby

Old Navy

Unisex 5-Pack Long-Sleeve Bodysuit for Baby


A pack of long-sleeve onesies like this one is key for layering options and for making sure baby is dressed appropriately for any temp. Fitting for fall, winter, and spring, (and even cool summer nights depending on where you live), this one’s a basic staple you definitely need.

baby sun bucket hat


Baby Sun Bucket Hat


A sun hat is an important item to toss in your diaper bag or stroller for many months out of the year (year-round if you live in a warm climate and never switch to winter hats). The sun’s harmful rays can damage baby’s skin, so protect those beautiful cheeks with a cute hat like this one.

7-pack short-sleeve bodysuits


7-Pack Short-Sleeve Bodysuits


A pack of short-sleeve onesies is another year-round essential. Whether it’s the entire outfit for a hot summer day or the first of many layers in January, you’ll go through what seems like a million of these, so you can never have enough.

baby lightweight puffer jacket


Baby Lightweight Puffer Jacket


A lightweight jacket is also a smart investment to ensure that your baby is comfortable and warm (but not too hot) when temps drop. This puffer jacket comes in an array of bright, fun colors and is getting rave reviews for being warm but not bulky, layer-friendly, and easy to clean. (That’s music to our ears, right?)

L.L. Bean yellow rain boots for toddler

L.L. Bean

Toddlers' Puddle Stompers Rain Boots


As soon as your baby starts taking those first steps, you’ll probably want to snag some rain boots because the chances of them finding a puddle to stomp in are 1000%. A bright yellow pair from L.L. Bean is a smart buy that will likely get lots of use throughout the year.

Get more expert advice and curated collections in Motherly’s Essential Registry Guide.

A version of this article was published April 14, 2022. It has been updated.