Winter can be an unforgiving time of year. The temperatures are frigid, the roads are harsh, and there are mountains of snow. At one point, these conditions may have only been an inconvenience. But when you have a new baby, it can be hard not to think of all the things that can go wrong. While the dangers are real, so is our ability to prepare our babies and ourselves for the challenge. These are our tips for bringing home a baby in the winter.
Watch Environmental Temperatures
Babies can be outside safely in the winter. But when the temperatures dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to keep a baby’s trips outside as brief as possible, namely to the car and back. However, keeping a baby too warm can also have disastrous consequences, as newborns have trouble regulating their body temperatures. When setting the thermostat, try to keep the temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, especially in the room where the baby is sleeping.
These ideas should also be kept in mind when bringing home a baby all bundled up. The rule of thumb is to dress the baby in at least one layer more than you would need as an adult, paying attention to the hands, feet, and head. Remove the layers as soon as you arrive inside to avoid overheating. Make sure the layers are loose enough that your baby can breathe.
Breathing is also an important consideration when bundling the baby for bed. Good crib bedding practices state that you should not add extra, loose blankets to the crib until the baby is at least a year old. Doing so will risk the baby suffocating. The best practice is to swaddle the baby in breathable cloth to help them feel warm, secure, and safe.
If there’s one thing that’s true of the winter, it’s that the dry air can be rough on our skin. The same is true for our babies, too. When bathing babies in the winter, try to wash them briefly in water that isn’t too warm to avoid drying out their skin further. Non-fragranced, non-alcoholic soap will be the least harsh on babies’ skin. When done, make sure you pat babies dry to avoid wiping the oils from their skin. Apply a moisturizer immediately afterward to hold in the moisture. And use bamboo, hypo-allergenic diapers with aloe to help avoid diaper rash and/or chemical reactions.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.