We recently traveled to France where the weather was transitioning from fall to early winter. Living in a tropical country, I can bet our version of cold is just right for people living in countries where they experience four seasons every year, so if you’re reading this and you don’t live in a tropical country like we do, feel free to make adjustments.
For my Filipino friends and readers who are going somewhere much colder than our beloved Philippines with your little ones, I hope this blogpost helps you!
So basically, I will just show you the process of how I do it for me and now, for my son, too.
The secret really is in one thing: LAYERING. This way, it’s easy to adjust should you feel a little hotter (say, you go inside the train station), or colder.
Also, I don’t have a daughter (not yet, at least), but you can also use this technique for your little girl.
Here we go!
Choose your base. It should be tight so that air won’t keep coming in. You can use thermals, but since I wasn’t able to get one for my son for this trip, I just used longsleeved onesies and leggings.
I often used 2 tops on top of the base – a longsleeved button-down top and a sweater. For pants, I only used one since he already has leggings. I especially liked his pants with extra lining inside, though. That way, he was only wearing 2 items but had sort of a three-layer-protection.
Do not forget the accessories! The most important part to cover (especially when it’s really cold) is the head. No matter how warmly dressed you are, if your head and ears are exposed (and your nape, actually), it would be a challenge to feel warm eventually (once the cold air gets in). The most-used accessories for our trip were: gloves | bonnet | socks | boots/shoes | polo-neck collar.
Choose your outerwear. A cardigan was always our base outerwear. Followed by either a blazer or a thick jacket.
If I had a daughter, I would do the same thing, or change it a little bit to:
BASE – thermals | longsleeved onesie + stockings
TOP – button-down top + longsleeved sweater
DRESS – an A-line thick dress
BOTTOM – leggings + tight-fit shorts on top – just to make her feel warmer
SHOES – boots
OUTERWEAR – cardigan + coat
ACCESSORIES – hat or bonnet | socks | gloves | cowl-neck scarf or polo-neck collar
SOME MORE TIPS:
- If you’re wondering where you can find spring/fall/winter clothes in the Philippines, check THIS out.
- I’m naturally drawn to neutral colors. Even if I had a daughter, I think my color palette choice would have been the same since those are also the colors I choose for myself, LOL. It may have looked like Pablo and I planned our outfits together during our trip, but actually, we just happened to have similar palettes (unintentional but I guess I just naturally chose colors that were pleasing to my eyes). Your style will define your color preference, but it might be helpful to note that shopping for similar hues and color family means that you can mix and match much more easily.
- If you want your child to cooperate with you when you wear their shoes, please be kind to their feet and look for easy-to-wear shoe styles. Our favorite is the velcro style. See the boots in my photo? You don’t need to put the whole foot in like how you do with adults – it is divided at the back and joined via a long velcro strap.
- Make sure you have a bag where you can keep some of the clothes. See, it might be cold when you go out at 08:00 AM, and then the weather can feel so much hotter by lunch time. Having a big bag or an ecobag handy to keep your extras will be handy, promise! To make it easier for us, we always started our day past 10:00 in the morning. 07:00 was just too cold. Haha.
- Prepare your clothes the night before. But before you do that, make sure to check the weather! Also, observe how the weather’s been — it’s not enough to see the temperature, because the wind factor makes or breaks everything! You can experience 50F in Los Angeles, California and not feel so cold, yet feel like you will freeze if you experience it in Chicago or San Francisco! Also, as a rule, expect that it will feel colder anywhere there’s water (like a lake/ ocean/ etc). Being prepared helps you decide whether or not to make your child wear boots or just regular shoes, bonnet or beret, etc. If you can, too (we often do this), we also go out for a while to feel the weather before really stepping out to go around. That way, we kind of figure out how cold we feel.
- It’s also very important to note how long you’ll be out for the day. If you’re just going to a museum and eat out then go home, maybe you can afford to wear less layering. But if you’ll be doing outdoor activities the whole day, or visiting the countryside, maybe you should be putting more clothes on.
- If you’ll do some activities in the snow, consider getting snow pants at the very least. It takes a while for water to get in those kinds of bottoms, so it protects your child from getting wet and feeling the cold right away.
- Always, always, bring another set of clothes. You’ll never know when your child may need to change.
- I’m a scarf person (as in!), but for infants and toddlers, I don’t think making them wear scarves is a good idea – first of all, depending on how long the scarf is, it might be hard to put on and off, and also, they might be suffocating and you won’t even know it. I opted for a polo-neck collar, or, if you really want a scarf, I would say go for those cowl-neck types of scarves.
- Moisturize and don’t forget to put on sunscreen. It’s so easy for our children to get really dry skin, especially since we come from a humid country. When Pablo visited Los Angeles in spring, his skin got really dry in just a few days! Make sure to use a heavy-duty lotion and moisturize everything, including the face. I don’t put lip balm on Pablo because I’m paranoid like that, haha, but I know some parents do this. Sunscreen is so important, too! It’s so easy to get sunburnt in a cold weather, especially because you tend to stay where there’s sun.
- Make sure you really keep your child hydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re somewhere cold, so if you have to alarm your phone just to remember this, do it.
- Always check on your child. Having a lot of layers can feel suffocating, too. That actually happened to me while climbing Mount Pulag, so I know how it feels. If you feel your child is feeling uneasy, consider taking a layer off, or putting a layer on.
- So far, when I shopped around Manila for gloves, I did not find ANY. Good thing my sister has gloves for her son that fits Pablo! I think she got it abroad. Anyway, all the hand covers I saw were mittens! As some of you know, Pablo had no mittens from birth, so I did not even consider using this for him. HOWEVER, I must note, when Pablo was 5 months old, we flew to Shanghai, China, and it was also quite cold. At that age, it was kind of hard to wear the gloves on him, because he wasn’t very cooperative, and his hands were just really starting to develop their strength. I realized that time that for that age, maybe mittens would work better if really needed. Fortunately, it was not that cold that he needed to wear something for his hands – so he just had bare hands the whole time. For our trip in Paris, he was already 1 year old – and he definitely was much more cooperative with wearing his gloves. In fact, he liked it a lot!
- Make sure you have your emergency medical kit with you. Cold weather can easily bring cough, colds, allergies, and the like especially to our tropical-country-loving-bodies! Ask your pedia for a list of what you need to bring when you go out-of-the-country (and what dosage, too)!
- In my experience, those puffy, bubble jackets are quite hard to use. We used them in the US for Pablo, and it was slippery when snow started falling on it. It was quite challenging to carry Pablo not only because of that, but because he ballooned, too! So look for other kinds, or if you’ll get that, practice carrying your baby with it. Or maybe just consider this when your baby’s a steady walker already. Not when s/he’s an infant that needs to be carried all the time.
- You can also try using baby carriers more – they add extra warmth. Or, look for blankets for strollers. With Pablo, for our trip in the US and in China, we were mostly using a carrier. I especially love our Ergo carrier for colder weather. But for our trip in France, since he was walking already, we decided to use a stroller because it was much easier to get him off and on it. Also, Paris is such a lovely place for strolling, so he really enjoyed his stroller. We used our Looping stroller and totally loved it (deserves another post). For younger babies, it comes with a blanket. But since Pablo doesn’t fit that anymore, I just brought a warm jacket and used it as his blanket in his stroller whenever he needed it. We also used Looping’s raincover as a warmer, too!
- Last but not the least, bring OIL. Even if it takes a while for oil in colder countries to become liquid again, have patience and put it on your baby’s body. This really works for me, so we do the same for my son! I just use Virgin Coconut Oil followed by a lotion, and that’s it!
Have a safe trip!