How to Dress Baby in Summer

Oh, summer— it’s the season for cookouts and beach trips, picnics and pool days. These seasonal occasions seem to be even more special when you’ve got a baby in tow.

While it can be tempting to doll up your little babies for every summertime event, it's important to be mindful of how to keep baby cool in hot weather. From baby girl rompers and sun hats to sunscreen and baby girl onesies, we've put together our top tips to keep your baby looking sweet as a watermelon and feeling cool as a cucumber all summer long.

Read on for our expert guide on how to dress baby in summer heat.

Summertime Dressing Considerations

Before we get into how to dress baby girl in summer months, let's talk a little about why you need to be doing so with mindfulness and care at all times.

Be Mindful of Your Baby’s Thermoregulatory System

As soon as your little pea was born, they were likely whisked off to be washed, dried, and bundled before settling against you for body heat. This is because, unlike an adult or an older child, newborns and young babies have almost no ability to regulate their own body temperature. This inability is due to their:

  • Immature circulatory and respiratory systems – Because their immature respiratory and circulatory systems aren’t yet operating at full capacity, a newborn baby can't regulate their body temperature like older children and adults. Although their internal thermoregulatory system does mature and kick in by the time they are around 18 months old, you have to be vigilant about helping them heat and cool their bodies while it develops.
  • Large skin surface area – Young babies have a large skin surface area relative to their tiny body size. This means that they quickly lose and gain heat depending on the ambient temperature, breeze, and humidity.

Mindfully dressing your baby in cool, loose clothing is one of the best ways to help them maintain a normal body temperature in the warm weather.

Protect Your Baby’s Sensitive Skin

When dressing your baby for summer—or any season—their infant skin should be one of the top considerations. That’s because a baby’s brand-new skin is extremely sensitive to sunlight due to:

  • Low melanin content – The pigment that gives color to skin, hair, and eyes as well as offers sun protection is very low when a baby is born.
  • Sunscreen caution – Research isn’t conclusive about sunscreen safety on newborns so many experts recommend that it’s best to hold off on using it until your baby is at least 6 months old.

Dressing your little babies in layers that cover their skin is the best way to prevent sunburn and heat rashes. For extra protection, opt for clothing that’s made with sun-protective fabric like UPF 50+. If you are wondering, “What is UPF clothing,” it is capable of blocking up to 98% of the sun’s UV rays.

How to Dress Your Baby in Summertime

Balancing summer skin protection with breathable outfits might seem like walking a tightrope.

So, what’s a parent to do?

Luckily, with a few tricks and summer baby essentials, dressing your baby for sun safety, cool comfort, and pure adorableness is totally achievable.

Stay Warm in Air Conditioning

Summer wouldn’t be summer without somebody blasting the air-conditioning. While it can feel good to cool off in a temperature-controlled room on a sticky day, sometimes the temperature difference from outside to inside can be as much as forty degrees.

Luckily, layering isn’t just for sun safety. It will keep your baby cozy when you venture from the hot weather outside to the cool indoors.

A good rule to observe is that if you feel uncomfortable (either too hot or too cold), your baby probably does, too.

Certain places that you may visit tend to be chilly even on a sweltering day. So pack your diaper bag with an extra hat, blanket, or an adorable ruffle cardigan if you’re heading to:

  • Pediatrician’s office
  • Mall
  • Restaurant
  • Daycare or school
  • Office building
  • Library
  • Gym

Keep Cool on a Hot Summer Day

Dressing a baby to stay cool means paying attention to fabrics, layers, and ambient conditions.

But the best baby clothes in the summer might be no clothes at all. When the temp is up and the sun is down, consider allowing your little bun to sleep or play indoors in nothing more than a diaper and a light muslin or cotton swaddle.

However, when you do need to dress your baby in more than a diaper and swaddle, try one of these cool summer clothing staples:

Look for garments made of high-quality and breathable fabrics like:

  • Cotton poplin
  • Cotton terry
  • Linen
  • Muslin

Stay Sun-Safe When You’re Out and About

In some cases, the clothes that are best for keeping your baby cool often leave their tender skin exposed to the sun. Focus on dressing your baby in loose, light clothing made of high-quality natural fabrics when you head outside. But bring along some adjustable layers so that you can completely cover their skin when they’re in direct sunlight.

Some garments that work well for layering are:

Wherever you’re exploring in the summer months, don’t forget to be mindful of environmental dangers like:

  • Bug bites that can cause redness, swelling, and itching
  • Bug spray that can cause allergies and rashes
  • Environmental pesticides or fertilizers used in grass and plantings
  • Poisonous plants like poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac can lead to painful reactions

So if you’re heading to a park, picnic, beach, or garden party, layer up so that your baby’s skin is properly covered.

Properly Prepare for a Day at the Beach

If your outdoor adventures include a trip to the beach or lake, you’ll want to take a similar approach and look into the best beach essentials for toddlers and babies. The one difference? Dressing your little one in swimwear that’ll keep them safe from the sun—and stylish.

Luckily, RuffleButts makes it easy to accomplish both. Our entire baby girl swimsuit collection is made with UPF 50+ fabric, keeping them protected from the sun as they play in the sand, tide pools, and waves.

Beyond dressing your baby in a protective suit, keep these tips in mind before heading to the beach:

  • Use a light sunhat that shields the face, ears, and neck while outdoors
  • Try a pair of baby sunglasses
  • Cover their exposed skin with a light, loose blanket or muslin wrap
  • Make sure your baby is always well hydrated
  • Stay in the shade as much as possible
  • Be vigilant for sunburn and rashes

Extra Protection for Newborns

As with all parenting, dressing your baby will get easier in time. However, if your baby is a tiny summer newborn, all the rules of keeping them cool and covering them up are doubly important.

Because they’ll be sleeping many hours of the day and night, you need to remain alert to the temperature immediately around them. Try to keep them indoors as much as possible—not only to avoid the heat but the sun as well. And don’t worry about dressing them up too much. This is a good age to keep them in loose, comfy baby girl pajamas and onesies. A sleep sack might be preferable to a tight swaddle if their room tends to be warm.

How to Spot Signs of Summer Discomfort

Even if you’ve done your best to keep your baby cool and sun-safe, you’ll want to be constantly vigilant to watch for signs of danger from dehydration, overheating, and sun exposure.

Remember, babies can become more easily dehydrated or overheated than you.

Touch their skin often and feel underneath their clothing to keep an eye on their body temperature. Babies don’t sweat as much as adults and older children, so don’t use perspiration as a metric for gauging their temperature.

Be especially vigilant if your little one is spending more than a few minutes in a sling, car seat, or stroller as these can increase the temperature directly around their body.

Know the following symptoms that could indicate your baby might be suffering from too much sunshine or heat:

  • Skin that’s hot to the touch (with or without sweating)
  • Red or flushed skin
  • Hair wet with sweat
  • Fussiness or restlessness
  • Lethargy or sluggishness
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Vomiting

Taking your baby’s temperature with a thermometer may help you determine if they’re experiencing discomfort, but be aware that their body temperature can be impacted by numerous outside factors including time of day, clothing, and ambient temperature.

Keep Your Kiddo Cool, Covered, and Cute with RuffleButts

We know that keeping your baby comfortable, adorable, and sun-safe in the summertime can feel like a constant balancing act. Cover up too much and you risk overheating. Cover up too little and sunburn, bug bites, and rashes become a concern.

At RuffleButts we’re dedicated to helping you choose clothing for your baby that’s darling, unique, and appropriate for summer—or any season.

From cheerful baby girl rompers and colorful baby girl onesies to our signature RuffleButts baby bloomers to pair with little girl swing tops and cute toddler sundresses, all our clothing is designed with attention to fine details. Not to mention, they’re constructed with the top hand-me-down quality fabrics. Whether you’re shopping for comfy looks for your baby to snuggle into on a quiet summer morning at home or snazzy outfits to show off at the family reunion, trust RuffleButts. We’ve got the baby clothes that will keep your baby cool, covered, and absolutely adorable all summer long.

Is it your baby's first beach trip? Check out our blog on how to prepare for baby's first beach trip today!


Champlain Maternal Newborn Regional Program. Newborn Thermoregulation.

Skin Cancer Foundation. Bringing Up A Sun Safe Baby.,and%20provides%20some%20sun%20protection

WebMD. 11 Common Causes of Skin Rashes.