Congratulations. You have a winter baby. Off with the air conditioner. On with the heater.
Here are a few helpful tips that you will need to take care of your winter bundle. These tips have been gathered from “experts.” In other words, real mom’s who’ve been there!
How To Take Care Of Your Winter Baby
Dressing Your Winter Baby
This list below is comprehensive, but you don’t need everything on this list. What you get will depend entirely on the climate you live in. Only choose the baby winter items that make sense for where you live.
Dress your baby in layers
Experienced moms and pediatricians agree that layers are the way to go when choosing winter clothes for your baby. Layers help trap the heat in, making your baby feel warm and cozy. Experts say that layers keep us warmer than one thick sweater would.
Dress your baby as you dress yourself, plus one extra layer
According to pediatricians, younger babies get one extra layer of clothing. For example, if you’re wearing three layers, your baby should wear three layers plus one extra layer. An easy example is – if you’re wearing a shirt, a sweater, and a jacket, dress your baby the same PLUS a onesie. This helpful advice applies to indoors and outdoors.
Onesies are great for layering
Onesies are popular because they are effective in keeping your baby warm. Most of them are made of cotton, which is soft and absorbent and gentle on a baby’s skin. Onesies are snapped under your baby’s diaper, so you never have to worry that it will ride up onto your baby’s chest, and potentially exposing skin.
Socks are essential for keeping our body temperatures stable
But don’t use just any baby socks. Get long baby socks – the kind that your baby can’t kick off. Baby socks are notorious for slipping off easily, so be sure you invest in decent socks that actually stay on your baby’s feet.
Invest in baby bodysuits
Baby footed bodysuits are very similar to onesies, but they cover your baby’s whole body from neck to toes. They are great for keeping your baby warm. If you know you are having a winter baby, putting these footed bodysuits on your baby registry is a smart idea.
Consider baby leggings
If you are going to be outdoors, baby leggings are great for layering because they won’t ride up your baby’s legs as baby pants would. Pants riding up your legs are annoying and uncomfortable but when that happens, it also exposes your baby’s legs to the cold. That won’t happen if you have fitted leggings. Leggings can be worn under a skirt or a dress, or pants for boys. They can also be pulled off easily if your baby feels hot.
However, leggings can be a bit iffy – if you don’t get the perfect size for your baby. You may want to try out a few to find the perfect fit for your baby.
Braving The Outdoors
Fresh air is important for your baby, even when it’s cold outside. However, if you feel any uncertainty, play it safe and check with your pediatrician first. Most pediatricians say that provided your baby was full term, is at least 3 weeks old, and weighs 12 pounds, it’s A-Okay to take a 15 – 30 minute walk outside during the winter. They say that temperatures of 25°F or higher are fine but use your best judgment.
If your baby was preterm or has a medical condition, check with your pediatrician before you venture outdoors.
Now that you know it is okay to go outside, you will want to dress your baby appropriately, so that you can go show him/ her off. Keep the following important advice in mind:
- You may have cabin fever, and you may be eager to get out, but don’t expose your baby to extreme cold for long periods.
- Babies lose heat faster than we would, so check your baby regularly when you are outdoors.
- Limit the overall time you are outdoors. If you are going to be out and about for a while, it’s a good idea to make a stop into a heated building to warm up for a bit before going back outside.
- Never Cover Your Baby’s Face, even if you live in sub-zero temperatures. By covering your baby’s face, you could decrease their oxygen and thereby risk suffocation. Pediatricians say that you should always be able to see your baby’s face. By checking his/her face regularly, you can quickly gauge if your baby is in distress, overheated or possibly cold.
- Except for your baby’s face, try to cover as much skin as possible. Exposed skin means opportunities for the cold to creep in.
Winter Baby Outdoor Checklist
Hats & Mittens
We tend to lose heat very quickly through our head and feet. Since your baby will already have his/her feet covered, (thanks to the socks mentioned above,) make sure to cover their heads when you venture outdoors. Make sure the hat fits comfortably too. Hats that have a fleece lining on the inside AND that cover your baby’s ears AND ties, are great! With hats like these, you are (1) keeping your baby warm, you’re (2) reducing the risk of ear infections, and (3) hats that are tied on cannot be removed by little babies!
But don’t forget about baby’s hands! Frostbite comes quickly to tiny fingers. Invest in a decent pair of mittens that your baby cannot take off easily.
Legwarmers in extreme cold temperatures
Baby legwarmers fit snugly and can be wrapped around your baby’s calves and heel. They are especially great if you have a boy and you are putting on pants (that can ride up your baby’s legs and expose skin), instead of leggings.
Baby Carrier cover
If you are babywearing, you will need a babywearing cover.
During the winter months, a babywearing cover is a lifesaver because other than covering your baby with it, there is not much else to do, actually. You know that your baby is warm and secure and you can go about your business of babywearing.
There are a few baby carrier covers on the market so be sure to pick one that matches your lifestyle and your climate.
One final thing to keep in mind when you are babywearing – when you are babywearing, your baby shares your body heat. For example, if you are wearing a long-sleeved shirt, sweater, and a coat, your baby may only need a long-sleeved onesie and sweater if you are using a double fleece baby carrier cover like the one below.
Baby winter jackets and coats
Winter jackets and coats are often ‘enough’ for older babies, or if you live in a climate where winters aren’t too cold. Avoid smothering your child in a jacket or blanket. Make sure your baby’s face is visible and that he/ she is able to breathe comfortably at all times.
Car seat cover
Car seat covers are very convenient. All you do is put your baby in the car seat, and you’re done. They cover your baby almost completely. The one negative about these covers is that they’re expensive and you don’t use them too long. If you live in a climate where you go through long winters, they are a better investment.
A decent stroller blanket is one that fully covers your baby, keeps him/her warm, and can tie to the stroller. Babies tend to kick and you don’t want to find your stroller cover in the mud.
Stroller blankets have become very popular over the last few winter seasons, for obvious reasons. When you are pushing your baby in the stroller and the wind is coming head-on, that wind is hitting your baby, first. This is why savvy parents have been investing in stroller blankets that effectively keep their babies warm.
When you are looking for a stroller blanket, look for one that will cover your baby’s feet fully. Throwing any blanket on your baby is definitely helpful, but the wind can still cut in underneath the blanket, leaving your baby exposed. The double fleece blanket below has drawstrings at the bottom to create a pocket for your baby’s feet, so that he/she is fully covered.
Preparing For A Winter Baby
Find drafts and eliminate them
Actively look for drafts in your house. Eliminate them by covering them up. If they cannot be eliminated, avoid them. Check for drafts at open doors, open windows, and at vents.
Keep the nursery warm
Whether your baby sleeps in a nursery or your room, keep that room warm, but not hot. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your baby should be warm and comfortable, but not overheated. Overheated babies are at greater risk for SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome).
Wash your hands regularly
Washing your hands regularly is just a great habit to get into, especially when you have a baby around. Germs spread quickly and our babies are most vulnerable to them. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer of each floor of your house for easy access.
When you take your baby on car rides, it helps to put the car heater on for a few minutes before you plan to leave. This makes it more comfortable for you and your baby.
Carseat warmers are also a great idea because they can instantly warm your baby’s seat.
Falls are common during the winter because of ice on roads and pavements. If you are carrying your baby, you may already be a little off balance. It is therefore always a good idea to wear shoes with grippy tracks, like sneakers. Keep in mind that if you go down, your baby goes down too.
Happy Winter. Stay warm!