When it comes to babies, understanding that dressing them in clothes that will properly regulate their body temperature is a top priority. However, knowing exactly which clothes to dress your little treasure in for prime warmth or coolness can be a bit of a scientific art. To help you master the skills, we get some top tips from lifestyle blogger Cloe Matheson.
Clothing charts can be a little overwhelming and hard to understand, so to help you out with all things baby-temperature related, here is an easy-to-digest guide that will help you make your tot feel cosy and comfortable in no time.
A general rule for dressing your baby (and one that many parents live by) is the “my layers, plus one” decree. For example, if you were wearing a strappy top and shorts, which is highly likely during a Hong Kong summer, then you would dress your baby in the same – plus, according to the rule, an extra jersey or cardigan, and perhaps a pair of long leggings.
Beyond that, it’s always a good idea to bring along extra baby clothes when you go out – after all, a little more is better than not enough! To start your kit, I would recommend a waterproof jacket and a pair of warm socks, both of which will come in handy during those spontaneous Hong Kong rain showers.
Another easy indicator of whether your little one is at a normal temperature is the touch-test. By pressing the back of your hand to your baby’s stomach or the nape of their neck, you should be able to tell if they need more or less daytime layers.
Let’s talk about TOG. With the acronym popping up on the tags of more and more baby sleep sacks and sleeping bags, as the industry advances, it’s useful to know what ‘TOG’ actually means. Basically, the TOG is a warmth classifier, signifying the thermal resistance of the clothing item. The higher the TOG, the warmer the item is, and the lower the TOG, the cooler it is. For example, a 2.5 to 3.5 TOG sleep sack will almost set your little one up for polar climes, while one with a TOG of between 0.7 and 1.7 will be perfect for the summer months.
Shopping by TOG is a smart way to select baby’s nighttime clothing, because it allows you to easily and accurately calculate how to clothe the baby in accordance with room temperature. For reference, room temperature should optimally be around 19 to 21°C at night.
These days, most sleeping bag companies make baby swaddles for rooms as cold as 12 degrees and as hot as 30°C. If it’s truly boiling, as it often is during the height of summer in Hong Kong, then only a nappy is recommended for your baby to wear under a lightweight sleeping bag, whereas a temperature closer to 10 degrees calls for two layers of long-sleeved woolen garments.
Natural fibers and organic baby clothes will be your go-to during the summer, affording both the breathability and the ease of layering that your baby requires as temperatures fluctuate during the day.
Summer days in Hong Kong can get exceptionally hot, so make sure that you’re touch-testing your baby often and observing any changes in their complexion – infants are much more sensitive to extreme temperatures than adults, so you can never be too careful.
When the chilly months come around again, it’s time to break out the woolen baby clothes for another year – and if you haven’t got any, then invest! Merino wool is a good choice of fabric as it wicks away moisture, and is lightweight and ultra-warm, making it perfect for being out and about and also traveling. This material will trap a baby’s body heat without being scratchy or stuffy, and will also make your little one look adorable in those obligatory baby photos.
The same “my layers, plus one” rule applies for cold weather too. Blankets, sweaters, gloves, booties, and beanies should all be essential components of your little person’s winter outfit, so make sure to purchase these baby bits online or to ask the knitters you know for a favour or two.