Winter Baby Tips: Protecting your Newborn during the Cold Season
Being a new parent can be both heartwarming and overwhelming at the same time. Having a newborn is always a wonderful gift, but it also comes with its share of challenges, especially during wintertime. Newborns are particularly vulnerable to the cold, so they need special attention to ensure their warmth, safety, and well-being during the cold season. From freezing temperatures, slippery sidewalks to the harsh winds, new parents need to take extra precautions in this cold weather. So, here are the essential winter baby tips to make sure your little one stays warm and healthy.
Winter Baby Tip #1: Dressing Your Baby for Winter
The key aspect to caring for your newborn during winter is dressing them appropriately. Newborns have a harder time controlling their body temperature, making them more sensitive to the cold compared to adults. To keep your baby warm in the winter, consider these dressing tips:
- Pick the Right Fabrics: Choose soft, breathable, and natural fabrics like cotton and muslin. These materials are gentle on your baby’s skin and help maintain their body temperature.
- Layering: Keep your baby warm by layering their clothing. You can start with a onesie as the base layer, then add additional clothing as needed, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a cozy sweater.
- Use Hats and Mittens: Babies usually lose heat through their heads, so make sure they wear a soft, snug-fitting hat when heading outdoors. Always put on mittens as well to keep their tiny hands warm.
- Footwear: Always keep soft booties or baby socks on your baby to protect their feet from the cold when going outside. Buy footwear that fits well without being too tight.
- Avoid Overheating: Parents should be cautious not to overdress their baby. Overheating can be as harmful as overexposure to the cold. Regularly check your baby’s temperature by feeling the back of their neck. Remove a layer of clothing when you’re inside and when your baby starts sweating.
Winter Baby Tip #2: Maintaining the Right Room Temperature
Keeping the right room temperature is essential for the comfort and safety of your baby while inside the house. While it is important to keep the nursery warm, avoid overheating the room. It is ideal to keep the room temperature of your nursery at around 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius). Use a room thermometer or a thermostat to maintain a warm and suitable environment for your baby. Don’t overdress your baby when sleeping. Instead, swaddle them in a lightweight, breathable blanket to help them sleep more soundly.
Winter Baby Tip #3: Keeping the Right Humidity Level
The winter season often brings dry air due to the heating systems, leading to dry skin and congestion for the baby. To maintain a comfortable humidity level, consider using a cool humidifier in your nursery, preventing dry air from circulating in the room. Keep the humidity level at around 30 to 50 percent. Be sure to maintain and clean the humidifier regularly to avoid mold and bacteria growth.
Winter Baby Tip #4: Preventing Dry Skin
A newborn has a thinner and weaker skin barrier than older kids, making them more vulnerable to skin dryness and irritation. It is not recommended to wash your baby too often. You can bathe them every two or three days. To protect your baby’s skin, avoid long, hot baths, as they can strip the skin of its natural oils. Keep your baths shorter, ideally around five to ten minutes. Use warm water instead of hot and keep it at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a thermometer or your elbow to gauge the temperature. After bathing your baby, pat them dry completely with a clean cotton towel. Apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer, especially in areas prone to dryness like the cheeks, hands, and feet. You can reapply the moisturizer multiple times a day if necessary; however, if irritation occurs, consult your pediatrician.
Winter Baby Tip #5: Protecting from Illness
Babies have a higher chance of catching illnesses in the winter, such as colds and flu. To prevent this, practice hand hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and ask your visitors to do so before touching your baby. Limit outside exposure of your baby, especially in crowded places. Most importantly, make sure your baby’s vaccinations are always up to date. Visit your pediatrician for additional flu shots and other vaccines if necessary.
Winter Baby Tip #6: Riding the Car Seat and Stroller Safely
It is recommended to limit outside trips with your baby; however, if you need to take them outside in the cold weather, here are some precautions you can follow while riding the car seat and stroller:
- Start your car before getting inside. The car seat is most likely cold, especially if they’re made out of leather. So, starting your car first would help warm the seats before leaving.
- Take off the winter coat or snowsuit. Although it is advised to dress your baby in layers, this could cause overheating while inside the car. Remove the bulky layers of your baby’s clothing before harnessing the car seat straps.
- Put a blanket or coat over your baby. You need to put it over your baby once you harnessed the car seat straps. Be careful not to place it between your baby and the car seat harness. Once your car is warm enough, you can remove the blanket or coat to avoid overheating.
- For stroller safety, you can use a weather shield or a stroller cover to protect your baby from wind and cold. Don’t forget to dress them in warm layers before placing them in the stroller.
Winter Baby Tip #7: Wearing Your Baby
Babywearing is one way to keep your baby warm with your body heat. This can help you do your daily tasks and carry your diaper bag when outside. While wearing your baby, avoid adding an extra layer of clothing as it could lead to overheating. Just make sure the head and feet of your baby are well covered. Be careful not to press their face against your chest or their own and make sure that your baby’s neck remains in a straight position with their chin held up.
Looking after a newborn during the winter season demands extra attention and consideration to make your baby stay comfortable and healthy all winter. From dressing your baby appropriately to maintaining the right room temperature, parents need to be proactive in protecting their little ones. With these winter baby tips in mind, you can appreciate the beauty of the winter season while assuring that your newborn is safe and snug. Take note that each baby is unique, so always consult your pediatrician for personalized advice and guidance on caring for your newborn in the cold season.