Q&A: winterizing an infant

Robin writes:

"I am a huge fan of your site and am wondering if you or your readers can help me figure out what exactly I need for my 5 month old for the winter months. We live in Chicago and walk/train almost everywhere but on Tuesdays/Thursdays we drive in the car to my son’s daycare. He was born in May so I haven’t really had to think about ways to keep him warm but now I am starting to wonder how to dress an infant for the winter. I know you live in NYC – did you use some kind of bunting, or a snowsuit with legs, or a coat, or something else? Do baby mittens work? Should I buy a large size so it lasts through the whole winter (which in Chicago sometimes ends in late April) I don’t know where to start! I’m hoping that you & your readers can help steer me in the right direction."

Please share data points, everyone. At the beginning of your comment, please put whether you're primarily a car-user or public transportation-user, and what age group you're giving advice on (baby, toddler, preschooler, big kid).

I'll start:

Public transportation (NYC)

Baby:  Three choices: 1) Lightweight bunting for the baby inside a sling/Ergo/etc. inside your coat.  2)  Heavyweight bunting that can switch  from stroller to sling/Ergo/etc. outside your coat. 3) Baby bag for stroller with lightweight bunting inside that.  With child #1 I did option 2, and with child #2 I did options 1 and 3. I definitely think the baby bag for the stroller is worth the money, and that with the lightweight bunting makes a great flexible combo. FWIW, I got my amazing lightweight fleece bunting from Lands End for under $10 on Ebay, so it's worth a look. Buy everything for the size they'll be in the spring. Take photos of the baby swimming in the huge bunting in the fall, and then another one of the kid almost popping out of it in the spring. (The buntings all have those things that fold over the hands to act as mittens.)

Toddler: Baby bag for stroller with heavy winter coat on top. At this age they'll want their arms out of the bag, but you'll still want their legs to be warm. If it snows where you are and kids will play in the snow, then add bib snowpants and boots.

Preschool+: Winter coat plus bib snowpants plus boots. Clips to keep mittens attached or else they'll disappear before you turn around.

I love these posts where we all share what works in our vastly different situations.