We all love the winter season, but when it gets extremely cold outside, life gets tough for us. During winters, all you would want to do is stay cooped up in the house and if you are a new mom, you would want to protect your baby from the harsh winds blowing outside. As your baby’s immune system will be still developing, he will be susceptible to colds and infections and that is bound to leave you worried. But by taking preventive measures, you can keep your little one warm and safe. Read on to learn about newborn baby care during the winter season.
Video: How to Take Care of Your Baby During the Winter Season
Why Is It Important to Take Care of a Baby During Winters?
Newborn babies require continued care and support until they reach a point where they can sustain themselves on their own in a better way. But they need extra care during the winter season as a drop in temperature triggers various processes within the body to keep itself safe and the vital organs functioning well. Most of the energy is then used to maintain the body temperature appropriately, diverting it from other areas. This is where the immunity of the body takes a hit as well. During winters, the microbes and viruses thrive and find hosts to infect. Combined with decreased immunity, babies become an easy target for diseases and their chances of falling ill increase.
Problems Caused By Virus in Winters
Winter is also the season of the flu. It’s that time of the year when the virus spread easily and affect anyone and everyone in a matter of time. This gives rise to the typical winter diseases such as:
- Influenza and bronchiolitis
- Croup as well as rhinovirus
- A variety of respiratory sensitive virus, which affect the respiratory tract and lead to cough and severe breathing problems
Symptoms of Winter Infections in Babies
Most of the infections that occur in winter have strong symptoms, which make them easier to be spotted. If your baby has an infection, you will notice the following symptoms in him –
- He may cough severely and might even vomit
- Your baby may have trouble breathing; he may gasp or take small breaths
- He may make wheezing sounds while sleeping or even after coughing
- He may have pain in the chest due to inflamed lungs as a result of a respiratory infection
- He may have a runny nose, fever, cough, with a headache
- He may feel fatigued
Useful Tips to Take Care of Your Infant During Winters
Here’s how you can take care of a baby’s skin and overall health during the winter season and ensure he stays healthy throughout the season.
1. Use a Humidifier
If you live in colder regions, using a humidifier in your baby’s room becomes necessary. In winters, the temperature will plummet, so it is suggested that you use heating systems or portable heaters in your baby’s room. If you use a heating apparatus, it could rob the room of water vapour, making the air dry as well as your child’s skin. Hence, install a humidifier in the room so that the moisture levels are maintained optimally.
2. Use a Moisturizer
Your little one’ skin will be extremely sensitive and the harsh atmosphere of the winter can make it dry. If you want to keep your little one’s skin soft and supple, use a good moisturizer on his skin. Opt for skin creams or moisturizer that are made for baby’s skin. You can use a cream or lotion that is rich in milk cream and butter, as it will help maintain the glow and texture of your baby’s skin.
3. Don’t Use a Lot of Products
As a new parent, you will want to buy every new and promising babycare product available in stores, but resist the temptation because using a lot of products on your baby’s skin won’t do him any good. Applying lotions and creams is fine, but if you bathe him often and use several products on him, it will only make his skin dry. Also, avoid using soaps and shampoo daily or often. These products will rob the moisture of his skin and make it dry.
4. Massage Your Baby Well
For the proper growth and development of your child, it is important that you massage him daily. The very act of massaging stimulates the blood flow within the body and increases the sense of well-being, which indirectly boosts the immunity of the baby. Use a good massage oil for massaging and massage him gently. And while doing so, make sure that the room in which you massage him is warm, especially during the winter season.
5. Don’t Use Heavy Blankets
Laying a nice heavy blanket on your baby to keep him warm may seem the best way to comfort your little one in winter, but it isn’t the safest way to keep him warm. If you use heavy blankets to keep your little one warm, he won’t be able to move his arms freely. And while trying to do so, he may pull it above his face, which will increase the risk of SIDS. Hence, it is suggested that you use a light blanket and keep the room temperature optimal.
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6. Dress Your Baby Comfortably
Keeping your child constantly wrapped up in thick sweaters, gloves, socks and a cap could restrict him from moving easily and make him irritable. So make him wear clothes depending on the room temperature and opt for clothes that fully cover his body but are not constricting. You can also make him wear gloves and socks – they will keep your little one warm and make him sleep peacefully through the night.
7. Check the Temperature of Your Baby’s Room
Keeping your home and your baby’s room comfortable and warm will keep your baby safe and protected from the harsh winter winds. Keep the windows of your home shut and lock the doors well. That being said, make sure that your baby’s room and living room stay ventilated. Use a heater, if required, so that your baby is comfortable by himself.
8. Stick to the Vaccination Schedule
During winters, your baby will be more susceptible to infections. His immune strength will be low too. But that isn’t a reason to skip any vaccine for the fear that it might make your baby ill. It is highly important to get your child vaccinated at the right time. Getting your child vaccinated will keep him healthy in future. In case you do end up skipping it by chance, get the next date confirmed from your doctor and go for it without fail.
9. Breastfeed Your Baby
Breast milk contains antibodies and nutrients that help strengthen a baby’s immunity and protect him from the usual diseases. So even if you have started him on solids, continue breastfeeding him. Breast milk will provide him with all the nutrients he needs to stay healthy. And while breastfeeding, the warmth of your body will also be relaxing for him.
10. Maintain Your Own Hygiene
You are going to be the first point of contact for your child. Hence, it is absolutely necessary for you to stay clean and healthy. Wash your hands and disinfect them with a sanitizer every time you attend to your child. Germs can find the smallest way of reaching your baby, so make sure you stop all paths right away. If you have guests or visitors, politely ask them to wash their hands or use a sanitizer before they attend to the baby.
11. Take Care Outdoors
Unless it is absolutely freezing outdoors, it is fine to step out of the house once in a while to get some fresh air. But do make sure that your baby is protected from head to toe if you take him out. Any exposure of the skin to the cold wind could make him uncomfortable quickly. Ensure that your baby’s toes are a bit on the cooler side and the tummy is on the warmer side. This is the ideal sign that your baby’s body is at the right temperature.
12. Include Soup in Your Baby’s Diet
If your baby has reached the age where he can start taking semi-solids, winter would be a great time to introduce soups in his diet. A healthy soup in the cold weather will keep him warm. You can make soup for your baby and add mashed (or pureed) chicken pieces or vegetables to it. Also, include crushed garlic in the soup, it will keep your baby warm during winters and protect him from various winter ailments.
What If Your Newborn Falls Sick in Winter?
At times, even taking the best precautions cannot help prevent illness. If your baby falls sick during the winter season, you must take him to a paediatrician and get him checked. If it is the common cold or flu, you can give him homemade saline solution or nasal drops to help relieve a blocked nose. It will help him breathe properly, which will make him feel better. However, you should always give saline solutions or nasal drops after checking with a doctor.
Make sure your child stays hydrated. Keep breastfeeding him or giving him water separately. If he can drink soups or so, do alternate them appropriately to keep his taste interested and body fluids at a proper level. Cuddling your baby lovingly and spending time with him is just as necessary along with taking other precautionary measures. Many times, the presence of safety and comfort can help the body combat the infection by itself. But if the signs and symptoms of the infection tend to start worsening, do contact your baby’s doctor right away.
If it’s your baby’s first winter, you are bound to get worried, but by taking the preventive measures beforehand, you can take care of him and keep him safe. Maintain proper hygiene in your house and keep your house warm. But if you notice that your little one is not feeling well, consult a doctor.
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— Update: 16-03-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How To Survive Winter With a Baby from the website ergobaby.com for the keyword newborn baby care in winter.
Having a baby presents plenty of challenges, and having a baby right before or during winter presents its own set of challenges. But no matter what winter brings, you can survive this cold-weather season with a baby by following our tips for caring for a baby in winter.
Tips for Dressing and Babywearing in Winter
Winter can be really hard for new moms. Your mama bear mode kicks in and you may want to hibernate inside your house all winter. And who can blame you? Between cold and flu season and freezing temperatures, no one wants to get out during the winter, let alone do it with a baby. But, staying home can make you stir crazy. Eventually, you’ll want to leave, or you’ll have to leave, and when you do you’ll want to make sure your child is warm and safe…
Dress her in breathable layers.
A good guiding parent principle is dressing your baby how you’re dressed, and then adding another layer. So if you’re wearing a long sleeve shirt, jeans and socks, put your baby in a bodysuit, sweater, pants and socks. If you’re going outside, always be sure to put her in a coat, hat, mittens and warm booties. It’s also a good idea to use cotton and muslin fabrics that are warm but breathable so your child doesn’t get too hot. Overheating is just as concerning as letting your baby girl get too cold, so peel off some of those layers once you’re inside.
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Keep his head and feet covered.
Babies lose heat faster than adults do, and they lose it through their head and feet. Always keep a warm hat, socks and/or infant booties on your baby when you have to go outside. When you’re inside, socks or infant booties are a must. Infant hats are a little different. Yes, they’re adorable, but many experts say babies don’t need to wear hats indoors after they leave the hospital. You can put one on your baby during winter though, just keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t overheat while wearing one.
Limit outside exposure.
Your baby isn’t yet able to self-regulate her core temperature. That means you have to limit how much time she’s outside, especially newborns and when it’s below freezing, to just a few minutes outside. Quick trips to and from the car are fine, but long walks or standing outside talking to neighbors isn’t a good idea.
Try babywearing for warmth.
Using a baby carrier inside and outside helps keep your baby warm with your body heat. The closeness and combined body heat will keep you both cozier during the chill of wintertime, but that also means he may not need to wear multiple layers or a heavy coat. Don’t let him overheat, but still keep him warm and keep his head and feet covered. And as always, keep his face and airway clear; something to be more aware of when you’re wearing a puffy winter coat.
Wintertime Car Seat Safety Tips
Car seat safety is a hot topic among parents. Here are some basic tips to keep your baby safe and warm in her car seat during the cold winter months.
Take off his coat or snowsuit.
It may seem counterintuitive and like extra work to put your baby in a coat to walk to the car and then take it off to put him in his car seat. But that bulky coat or snowsuit is too much material between your baby and his car seat straps. You’d have to loosen the straps to buckle him in, and if you’d get in an accident, that material could compress and then your baby may not be secure in his car seat. It risks him being injured. So that extra effort to put on, take off and put on his coat again—it’s worth it.
Put a blanket over her and the car seat straps.
A blanket can keep your child warm in the car, but never put a blanket between your baby and the car seat straps. Put her in her car seat and then cover her with a blanket or her coat on the outside of the straps. Once the car is warm, though, you may want to remove the blanket so she doesn’t get too warm. You’ll know if she’s overheating if her face gets red, her skin is warm and/or she’s fussy.
Start the car before getting inside.
No one likes getting into a car that’s freezing cold, especially if you have leather seats. So to help you and your baby stay as warm as you were inside, start your car and let it warm up before you leave.
Winter Tips for Baby’s Bathtime and Dry Skin
Those of you who live in an area where it’s cold and dry during the winter, you might be worried about bathtime and dry skin. Bathing a tiny baby for the first time can be kind of scary, and a baby’s skin is delicate and very vulnerable to winter’s dryness. Here’s how you can feel prepared.
Tips for Bathing Your Baby.
A common new-mom question is, “How often do I need to bathe my baby?” Most babies don’t really need to be washed daily, especially in the winter when they probably won’t be outside or sweating. Every other day or even just two to three times a week is fine. The more you bathe your baby, the dryer his skin and scalp will be.
Another typical concern is water temperature. While you may like stepping into a steaming, hot shower on a cold, winter day, your baby doesn’t need hot water. Use warm water, around 100 degrees Fahrenheit or just above that. Use a bath thermometer or your elbow to test the water.
Another tip to help your baby stay warm while bathing her is washing from her feet up (just make sure if you wash from her feet upward that you don’t use the same washcloth or same part of one you used on her diaper area to wash her face). That way her exposed head is wet with cold water and letting heat escape as you wash her. You can also use a washcloth to cover the areas of your baby you’re not washing to keep her warm.
Tips to Prevent Dry Skin.
Water, along with cold temperatures and a lack of humidity, can dry out your baby’s skin. Here’s how you can help your baby’s skin stay soft and moist:
- Limit bathtime to about 5-10 minutes.
- Dry your baby off completely.
- Apply a good moisturizer before dressing your baby. You can apply it multiple times a day if necessary.
- Choose a lotion or ointment that locks in the moisture.
Nighttime with Babies in Winter
You don’t want your baby to be cold while sleeping, but you also don’t want him overheating. Have peace of mind while he sleeps by doing the following:
Use warm pajamas and/or a sleep sack.
Never add big, loose blankets in her crib. Those could cause your baby to overheat, plus they are a suffocation hazard. Instead, put your baby in warm footed pajamas and maybe a baby sleep bag or sack or cotton or muslin swaddle blanket. If your baby is prone to getting hot quickly, check on her to make sure she’s not flushed or sweating.
Adjust your thermometer.
Keep the room your baby sleeps in warm but not too warm. Many experts suggest having your daytime indoor temperatures between 68-72 degrees F and then a tad lower at night, between 65-68 degrees F. Too warm of room temperatures, along with big blankets and heavy clothing, all increase a baby’s risk for SIDS.
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Get a cool mist humidifier.
This helps add moisture to winter’s dry air. It’s also nice at helping your baby breathe better if he catches a cold.
Tips for Preventing and Surviving Wintertime Sickness With Babies
Flu. The common cold. Whooping cough. RSV. These are all things parents worry about—especially those with newborns. Babies have weaker immune systems, making them more susceptible to germs. Do the things you do to keep yourself healthy, i.e. wash your hands, stay away from sick people, keep your bedding and things you touch clean, and follow these tips.
Stay home when you can.
Avoid germs by staying home when you can. That may mean you miss a family member’s school program or family holiday meal, but your baby’s health is more important.
Go out during off-peak hours.
Stay away from overly crowded places. The more people you’re around, the more likely you and your baby will be exposed to germs. It’s true that you can’t and don’t want to keep your kids away from everything. They need to build up their immune system. But, your infant’s immune system isn’t as well developed as yours, so you want to keep that in mind. So run your errands when most other people aren’t.
Go to the doctor’s office during slow times.
Try and be one of the first appointments so you’re not sitting in a waiting room full of sick kids. Doctors are understanding to moms with babies. Some doctor’s offices even let new moms bring their babies in for checkups earlier during sick seasons than they normally open.
Wear your baby.
Babywearing nicely tells people, without you actually having to say anything, that you don’t want your baby touched. Plus, if you wear your baby, you don’t have to lug around a heavy car seat. And if you have a backpack diaper bag, you can carry your diaper bag and your baby all while keeping your hands free.
Use a humidifier in the nursery.
Winter air is not only cold, it’s also dry. And dry air not only dries out our skin, but it can also dry out our nose and make us more susceptible to sickness and infection. Humidifiers put moisture back into the air, which can help prevent sickness and also help if your baby has a stuffy nose.
Have the right items on hand.
No matter how hard you try, there’s still a chance your baby will get sick, and you want to be prepared if she does. Here are some things you might want to buy:
- Saline drops
- Baby aspirator
- Baby-safe vapor rub
- Digital thermometer
- Baby pain-reliever medicine
- Essential oils (if you’re into that).
Ways To Cope With Postpartum and Seasonal Depression in Winter
Surviving winter with a baby is more than knowing how to dress, bathe and keep him safely warm in his car seat. It’s about practicing self-care, too. You can’t completely be there for your child if you don’t take time to manage your own physical and mental health.
In the United States, 1 out of 9 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression, while 10 million Americans experience seasonal affective disorder. SAD comes with a myriad of symptoms; symptoms you’d think of when someone has the winter blues, such as feeling sad or hopeless, having a decrease in energy, irritability, fatigue, change in appetite, etc. SAD is 4 times more common in women than in men, and approximately 4-6 percent of people have winter depression.
With shorter days and cold weather, it’s common to experience the winter blues, and every season some mothers can experience after-baby blues. The holidays can be fun, but they can also add stress this time of year as well. Preventing holiday stress will help you enjoy your time with family and friends more. If you want to try and make your winter postpartum recovery better, here are some wintertime coping strategies.
Make time for yourself.
You may feel guilty the first time you leave your baby (totally normal), but me time is the mental health self-care you need. You need time to refresh and relax so you can be a better mom, partner and person. So go get a pedicure or a massage. Take an hour to grab some hot chocolate and shop alone. Do whatever you enjoy; just make time for yourself and don’t feel bad doing it every once in a while.
Spend time alone with your partner.
Playdates tend to be sparse during the winter months because of the weather and illnesses. As much as you love that little baby, you’re going to crave adult interaction—and your partner is going to crave uninterrupted alone time with you. So when you feel ready, start going back out on dates.
Get sunshine when you can.
Sunshine naturally helps with winter and after-baby blues. So go outside on warmer, sunny days. Bundled your baby up, put him in his stroller and go on a short walk. Or if it’s just too cold to go outside, sit by a window and soak up that Vitamin D.
Ask for help.
With my first baby, this one was hard. I felt like I wasn’t a good mom if I had to ask someone for help. But guess what? You’re not a bad mom if you ask for help—you’re a great mom. Having a baby and recovering from birth can be a hard, long process, and it’s something you shouldn’t have to do every minute of every day on your own. When you need help, call or text a family member or friend. Let someone watch your baby while you take a nap. Let them make you dinner or do your dishes or clean your house. People want to help you, so take my advice and let them. It’s a form of self-care that you and your whole family will benefit from.
Start making plans for spring.
My mother-in-law has had to remind me numerous time when I’m going through something difficult that “it’s just a season.” And she’s right. This time in your life—a time when you may feel trapped inside your house being a servant to a cute but demanding baby—is only a small season. And a warmer, brighter season is just around the corner. So while you’re bundled up inside holding your sleeping infant, start thinking about springtime and making fun plans.