Any time of the year, getting you and your baby ready for an outing can be a challenge. Whether you’re heading to the park, to a playdate or just simply running errands, being mobile with your little one requires planning and preparation. However, when Old Man Winter comes around, life becomes even more challenging. Many moms worry about taking baby out in winter, what they need to do and when to just stay home. We’re here to demystify this mystery, and have some helpful precautions when taking Baby out in winter weather. So sit back, relax and we’ll help you navigate those upcoming chilly months!
Wardrobes Dos and Don’ts:
- It’s so easy to overdress your baby in an effort to keep her safe and warm. It’s true that your little one does need more than you, but the rule of thumb is simple – just “plus one.” In other words, dress your baby similar to how you’re dressing for the weather, and then just add one extra layer. Some good options, especially when your baby is still very young, include long-sleeved onesies, fleece one-piece sleepers and of course, always having a blanket on hand to wrap around your child’s legs. Forego the thick snowsuit as it’s a bit much once you’re back inside or when riding in the car.
- Babies lose most of their heat via their heads – yes, it’s true, not just an old wives’ tale. So, a hat is very important for the cold weather. You want your child’s head and ears covered, so have several knitted or fleece hats on hand
- Coats come off once you’re in the car – as frustrating as this may be for Mom. Why? Well, in a nicely heated car, Baby’s coat is one layer too many. More importantly, that extra material, even just a bit, can change how well your child’s restraints or car seat straps fit. Rather than continually adjusting and readjusting car seat straps, just ditch the coat until you arrive at your destination.
When and Why to Go Out:
- Depending on where you live, you may not have to worry about severe cold or extreme temperatures. But when the thermometer dips, here are some guidelines to help. First, if it’s below freezing, avoid having to take your baby outside. Babies cannot regulate their body temperature like we can, nor can they tell you when they’re cold or uncomfortable. So when it’s especially cold or blustery, stay home, if possible.
- Winter is Germ-O-Rama! It’s virus and cold time, flu season is in full effect and even if you’re using the right precautions when taking baby out, others may not be quite as vigilant. Especially when your infant is very young, avoid crowded, public places. Grocery stores, shopping malls, and restaurants can be a veritable petri dish for your child. RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a fairly common virus affecting infants. For some, it’s simply a cold but for others – especially preemies or babies with heart, lung or other issues, RSV can develop into a serious illness. Always remember that your baby hasn’t built up the same immunities that we have. Breastfeeding is a great way to give your child antibodies, and staying current on vaccinations is important. But until a baby is 6-8 weeks, her immune system is delicate and should be treated as such. As the Mom, be diligent about your own hand-washing, stay away from those crowded places and be cautious about too many visitors at home, especially during cold and flu season.
- Now, before you’re completely scared and don’t plan to go out until your baby is ready for kindergarten – avoiding ultra cold weather and public places doesn’t mean you’re homebound for the next 5 years. Head out for a walk on a chilly day – just ensure Baby has a hat, is properly dressed and that you have a blanket to tuck around her legs, if needed. Keep it nice and brisk, as your infant doesn’t have the stamina to endure cold like you do. But, you can still enjoy, get some fresh air and keep everyone healthy!
Baby Skin Care:
- Just like your own skin, your child’s skin might be more prone to irritation and dryness in the winter months. So, we’ve got a few tips to keep Baby happy and her skin healthy.
- Continue your evening bath time routine (baby bath routine) but during the cold seasons, it doesn’t necessarily have to be every night.
- Use a good moisturizer such as a cream or ointment (winter skin care tips) and add a humidifier to
your child’s room. Indoor heating is very dry and often reduces the humidity in your house, causing skin dryness and irritation. A humidifier puts that moisture back into your air.
- Eczema and heat rash are skin conditions more prevalent in the winter months. Know what these red, irritated rashes are so you can treat them if they appear. The moisturizing and bath routines already mentioned will work wonderfully in helping to prevent these issues, but awareness is key.
And one more – well, two more – things:
- It’s easy to assume all your baby needs is extra blankets during the winter months. However, blankets and babies, especially during bedtime, can be an unsafe combination. Too many blankets, especially loose ones, increase the frequency of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. Rather than using additional blankets or a space heater (which can be a fire hazard if it falls over), keep your nursery at a comfortable temperature. One-piece sleepers, paired with a light onesie underneath, are often all your baby needs for a good night’s sleep.
- Sometimes it’s not just about your baby – it’s about you. One danger during bad weather is that you, as the Mom, can slip and fall while holding your child. When the weather is snowy or icy, avoid this risk altogether and stay home. If you do need to go out, dress properly with the right gear, including boots or the proper footwear.
Unlike Mama Bear, we don’t have the option of retreating during Winter – though three months of sleep sounds very attractive! When it comes to taking baby out in winter, our helpful hints and your common “Mom-sense” will get you through til spring! So, bundle up (but don’t go overboard), use your head (but cover your baby’s) and when your instincts tell you to keep Baby at home, listen.
The Baby Pibu Team
- Whitman, Stacy. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside!”com.