I think most of us can agree that gathering the fall stuff is relatively easy compared to hauling out all the massive piles of voluminous winter gear and heavy boots and etcetera … but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a few necessities to check off your list as you shift from t-shirts to puffer vests. Here, our (overly opinionated) annual list of the best stuff to have on hand as the weather gets chillier, cold-and-flu season kicks up, and we all want to get a bit cozier. (Feel free to weigh in with your favorites!)
This one will become a total obsession if you have kids who aren’t yet walking: They’re cozy fleece; they cover the ankles; they have snaps so that they stay on in spite of tiny prying fingers; they’re super washable; they come in the cutest colors and patterns; they fit newborns on up through 18-month-olds. And hey, if your kid’s out of the bootie years, you might still check out the Zutano site — they also make mittens on a string and super-warm hats!
Skidders no-slip socks
Warm little feet, without the danger of your kid biting it on your hardwoods.
Clean Well Hand Sanitizer
After the playground, before dinner out, in a pinch when we’re out and about, I love the Clean Well wipes (especially during cold season) — they’re non-chemical, botanically based, and (according to the company) kill 99 percent of germs. They also make sprays. (Have to give credit to Wee pal Paige Wolf for this one.)
All manner of nose care.
Specifically, the Nose Frida for tiny clogged noses (in truth, we still use it on the three-year-old when it’s really desperate and he can’t quite blow hard enough); Boogie Wipes for gross, crusty, sensitive winter noses (truly, it sounds insanely unnecessary, but trust: They work better than just tissues); and saline drops for stuffiness.
A hats that stays on
At this point, REI should be paying me for how many times I’ve told people about their little hats. (Alas, they’re not.) They come in a variety of weights, and a bunch of them have strong velcro so that they don’t end up on the side of the road. Also: They are SO CUTE.
California Baby Everyday Lotion (Extra Sensitive)
It’s dry-skin season and this stuff is amazing. It’s perfect for all sensitivities (read: free of gluten, soy, oat, dairy, nuts, save for some coconut, and made with cold-pressed vegan oils and a blend of pesticide-free oils.) Works well for your dry hands, too, and it doesn’t have that weird waxy smell so many “healthy” lotions have. There’s also the old go-to of coconut oil: A tiny bit on the face and lips is ultra-moisturizing and simple as can be. (I even use it around my eyes once the wind gets cold.)
Not everyone can get behind this (Ashley, for one), but I’m telling you: There’s nothing cuter, cozier or easier than a baby in a onesie (or a dress) with leg warmers. I like the BabyLegs brand.
Perfect warmth for in-between weather: Cute with t-shirts, dresses, long sleeves, even under bigger coats later on. Old Navy has great ones, as does Uniqlo, but since they tend to last a long time, you can also find ’em often on the list serves or at consignment sales or secondhand shops. (Um, also, please check out the fleece toddler ponchos while you are on the Old Navy site! Squee!)
For those few weeks where it’s too cold for nothing, but not quite cold enough for a stroller muff. The muslin, lightweight stroller blankets from Aden and Anais are great for the warmer days; the locally based Luv Bug company makes really adorable, cozy and compact versions for chillier ones.
The morning sun is glorious in October and November, and also extra blinding. Baby Banz is great (the strap is helpful for little ones) and Babiators (which also have the option of a band) — if they get lost or broken in the first year, Babiators will replace them! We like it keep it under $10 a pair — Rivbos for kids are cheap, and they’re so flexible that they’re basically unbreakable.
A warm-mist humidifier
I think general wisdom has that cool-mist humidifer are better for kids because there’s no danger of burns, but I’ve always liked the warm one for this time of year: 1) It’s runny nose/congestion season, and the humidifier helps and 2) We don’t turn on our heat until we absolutely have to, and it makes the room a lot cozier and warmer. It is not, of course, hot to the touch, but we are still quite careful to keep it out of reach.