After a few days or weeks, new moms can begin to crave a break from the long winter days and nights spent inside with their new baby. Before you run outside for a short walk or trip to the grocery store, make sure your little one is ready to go too!
Get The Latest Weather Report
If the temperature is going to be below freezing, it isn’t wise to take your little one outside. A quick trip to the car and back is fine, but it’s not a good idea to take them on an excursion or long walk. At the same time, you want to avoid going out on days when the wind chill is below -15 degrees.
Babies have a harder time regulating their temperature since they have less fat to insulate them from the cold. If you are uncomfortable, expect they will be too.
Share Your Body Heat
Taking that walk on a sunny winter day can be beneficial for both you and your newborn. Fresh air and exercise is a much needed reprieve for you, but sharing your body heat will be a plus for baby.
Use a baby carrier to keep your small one warm against your body. Be careful not to have their face right up against your chest or clothing, as this will often inhibit free breathing.
Layer Them Up
Just like we dress in layers during the winter, baby will be better protected from the cold if dressed in layers also. Keep the bottom layer a snug fitting garment like leggings or full suit, then add a long sleeve top. Of course, a jacket or snowsuit should be layered on top too.
Don’t forget a hat that covers the ears, mittens for their tiny fingers, and warm shoes or booties.
Lather Them Up
The dry and cold air of winter leaves everyone’s skin dry and flaky, and a newborn’s skin is even more susceptible to the cold.
Babies can’t tell us what is bothering them, but you can see when their skin is becoming dry and patchy. Obviously their face is most exposed, so expect their little cheeks may need some help.
Rather than creams, try to find an ointment free of fragrance and other chemicals to serve as a barrier from the cold and dry air. Lather baby up wherever you find dry skin, and don’t be afraid to be generous with the lotion!
Wash Your Hands
This is good advice all year round, but it is especially critical during winter months when the flu and other bacteria are rampant. Keep your hands clean whenever touching baby, and ask visitors to do the same.
Increase The Humidity
The three or four months of dry heat indoors can ravage adult skin, so imagine what it can do to your little one’s sensitive skin and sinuses.
Keep a bowl of water in the baby’s room to increase the humidity or buy a cool mist humidifier to help everyone sleep better.
Remove Outer Layer For Car Trips
Remove your child’s bulky outer coat when placing them in their car seat. The coat can get compressed and become dangerous should you have a crash or experience a very quick stop as it can allow your infant to slip out of the harness and suffer injury. Instead, buckle them in and then add a blanket or put the coat over the baby’s legs for travel.
Watch Out For These Signs of Distress
Getting too hot or too cold are both equally worrisome for babies, and there are some signs that should concern you. Use the nape of the neck to determine temperature. If it seems hot or moist, remove a layer, if cold, add a layer.
Call your pediatrician immediately if you notice any of the following:
- Non responsiveness
- Blue lips or face
- Hands and feet turning red
Contact Elmwood Pediatrics if you have additional questions about keeping your newborn healthy during winter weather, or if you notice ANY signs of distress.