Should you take your baby out in cold weather and if so, how should she be dressed? For parents of winter babies. It can be a real challenge to decide whether it’s better to keep your child indoors or give them a chance at some fresh air. Our experienced maternity nurses have some tips to help you decide how to proceed.
Winter weather and newborn babies
Most newborns benefit from limited amounts of fresh air and social interaction, and their parents certainly do! But there are circumstances where this may not be appropriate. When severe weather warnings have been issued, it’s much better to keep your little one safe indoors. Even if you need to go out yourself. For example, your maternity nurse can look after your newborn while you fulfil your social or work commitments or even, like one of our clients – train for an Olympic event!
If the weather is just cold. Rather than severe, you might like to take your baby out for a short period. As long as he or she is appropriately dressed. But beware some of the old wives’ tales around babies and cold weather. For example ‘dress your baby as you’re dressed, then add a layer’. This may have been good advice fifty years ago but today’s technical fabrics keep both us and baby much warmer than previously. So if you’re wearing a 14 tog fleece, you baby may need quite a few more layers than you. Whilst if she’s tucked into a modern bodysuit, she may be wearing the equivalent of a 24 tog duvet. So she won’t need too much clothing. In fact she might overheat.
Is my baby warm enough?
If you’ve been outside. One way to check if your newborn is warm enough is to feel his toes and stomach as soon as you enter the warmth. If your little one’s toes are cool but not chilled and his belly is warm, he’s fine. If his toes and tummy are both warm. He is over-dressed for indoor conditions. If both tummy and toes are cool, he’s not able to generate enough warmth for himself and warrants another layer of clothing. As one of our professional maternity nurses points out. Newborns often have cool hands and feet in the early months. So just touching the extremities doesn’t give you adequate information.
Babies and winter nights
Most houses drop in temperature overnight. Although rarely enough to occasion real concern. Put up a wall thermometer in the nursery so that you and your night maternity nurse can check it. Remember that a baby’s feet and hands may need protection from the cold at night because they cannot generate their own warmth. A swaddled baby will be plenty warm enough. But a newborn that waves her arms around might benefit from a little pair of gloves.
Winter travel with a newborn baby
Car seat covers and stroller rain covers help keep your baby warm when weather is cold or wet. They trap heat too. So remember to remove them as soon as you go indoors, or your little one will be sweltering in the equivalent of a greenhouse!
If you’ve enjoyed our guide to newborns and cold weather, why not look at our Guide to Colic