Winter is coming, which means that for a lot of those who have or are expecting a baby during the winter time that you should have some things prepared for the wellbeing of your baby and family. And as winters continue to get colder and colder in Australia, there comes the challenge of keeping your family safe and warm.
Newborns are especially a challenge, as they have trouble regulating their own body temperature, so they need mum & dad to help them out. This can be quite challenging, as it’s quite a delicate balance between making sure your precious baby isn’t overheating or shivering from the cold.
However, not all is lost! Winter is one of our favourite times for warm nights on the couch with a cosy blanket, family surrounding us and a nice cup of hot chocolate. But what other things can you do about those cold days and nights for your little one?
Tip 1: Make sure your baby has a hat or cap!
Don’t discount the value of a hat during the winter, as this handy accessory might actually be more effective and important than a blanket or coat at keeping your precious baby warm. In the first few months of life, a baby will lose a significant amount of body heat through their head - and if the head gets cold, the body will follow soon after.
Tip 2: Comfy Sleep Clothes
While we advise against loose blankets in the cribs, a lightweight swaddle, a one-piece outfit (sleeper or stretchie) or a sleep sack might keep your baby happy this winter. The comfier your baby is going to sleep, the better that they tend to sleep, which we’re sure many parents will be happy to hear.
Tip 3: Kangaroo Care
While this might not necessarily be the most helpful tip for when you’re outdoors - if you’re in a house that’s feeling a little cold, skin-to-skin contact can sometimes be more effective than even the thickest coat. Not only does it help with bonding and comfort, but also to help your baby regulate its body temperature.
Tip 4: Keep your baby moisturised
When keeping your baby warm, you might encounter some rashes occurring. While it may be tempting to remove a layer, keeping your little one warm is more important than a little rash. Moisturises will not only keep your baby’s skin soft, but could even stop skin irritation from occurring.
Tip 5: One layer more
As we briefly mentioned before, the task of regulating your baby’s temperature can be quite difficult! A common rule that we recommend is applying one more layer than what is comfortable for the parents. So if mum is wearing a coat outdoors, then your baby might need a coat and a blanket. And if dad is wearing long shirt and pants indoors, then your baby might need to be fully covered in a onesie, with an additional blanket as well.
Tip 6: How to deal with stuffy noses
Watching your baby suffer through a stuffy or blocked nose can be quite difficult, especially in the first year of their life. As babies naturally breathe through their nose, it means that come feeding time, by needing to stop to breathe through their mouths, it will make it harder for them to feed comfortably. Non-medicated saline solutions can be used to loosen nasal secretion or stimulate your baby to sneeze. Nasal aspirators and bulbs are also other solutions to get rid of a stuffy nose. Ensure you’re following instructions as to not harm your baby’s delicate nose.
Tip 7: Mindful socialising
For the first year of your baby’s life, their immune system is not fully developed - making them more susceptible to getting infections. While it’s unrealistic to keep your baby isolated for a whole year, it might be worthwhile trying to avoid larger crowds in the first 8 weeks or so. Wash your hands more regularly and don’t allow too much kissing and cuddles at family gatherings. What may be a seemingly innocent cold in your aunt or grandma might be quite serious to your baby. So, simply be aware of who is sick and try to keep your baby at a distance.
One of our biggest tips for all new parents is not to be too scared. Of course you will want to protect your precious bundle of joy from all the elements, but little things like heat rashes and dry patches of skin sometimes can’t be helped! At the end of the day, many of these things are only minor annoyances and inconveniences, and won’t bring serious harm to your baby. Just use common sense to keep your baby warm and safe and you will be fine