BABY, IT’S COLD OUT­SIDE!

M&B shares ex­pert tips to make sure your lit­tle one stays warm and com­fort­able this win­ter

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS - BY TA­NIA TARAFDAR

Keep your lit­tle one warm and com­fort­able

As hints of win­ter chill be­gin to fill the air, morn­ing strolls or trips to the play­ground with your tod­dler re­quire an en­tirely new level of prepa­ra­tion. Ba­bies can’t reg­u­late their body tem­per­a­ture as ef­fec­tively as kids and adults be­cause their bod­ies have more sur­face area by weight, caus­ing quicker heat loss. Ba­bies also don’t have as much insulating body fat, so you have to take that ex­tra ef­fort to en­sure that your lit­tle one is warm and com­fort­able. Here are tried-and-true ways to keep your baby warm and com­bat the cold weather woes this sea­son.

MUST-HAVE WIN­TER AC­CES­SORIES

The most im­por­tant ac­ces­sory in win­ter for your baby is a hat. “In the first few months, ba­bies lose a large amount of heat through their heads and if the head gets cold, the body will fol­low soon after. Hats can pro­tect your baby’s ears from the win­ter wind”, says Dr Anita Rai, pae­di­a­tri­cian Cloud­nine Hos­pi­tal, Bengaluru. Keep baby’s hands warm with mit­tens or tucked in­side a blan­ket if they will spend a lot of time out­doors. When it comes to bundling up, you don’t have to overdo it with layer upon layer of cloth­ing. Just make sure that the toot­sies are warm and the chest is cov­ered.

WRAP­PING ‘EM UP

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Rai, a good blan­ket can go a long way in keep­ing the baby warm and snuggly. One of the best ways to keep a baby warm and happy is to swad­dle her in a blan­ket. A good swad­dle not only keeps the baby warm but helps the baby feel se­cure and pro­tected, just like she would in the womb. Just be sure to keep the blan­ket clear of the baby’s mouth and nose so as to not block the air­way.

A COMFY BATH

In gen­eral, you want baby’s bath to be warm, but maybe slightly cooler than you would pre­fer your own shower. It should be about the baby’s body tem­per­a­ture or about 98 de­grees, sug­gests

Dr Rai. Don’t com­pen­sate for a drafty room by in­creas­ing the tem­per­a­ture. This is not safe for the baby. To test, don’t use your hands be­cause, they can tol­er­ate a higher tem­per­a­ture. In­stead, try your wrist or your el­bow. Just like adults, ba­bies can be cold when they get out of the bath. So be sure to dry your lit­tle one well and bun­dle her up to keep warm un­til the body ad­justs.

KAN­GA­ROO CARE

Just be­cause it is cold out­side does not mean that your baby has to be clothed at all times. In fact, skin-to-skin con­tact with the mother is enough to keep the baby warm ex­plains Dr Seema Agar­wal, neona­tol­o­gist, SL Ra­heja Hos­pi­tal, Mumbai . We are not rec­om­mend­ing kan­ga­roo care out in the cold, but it can be a good idea in­doors.

NO LAY­ER­ING UP

A warm, in­su­lated baby bunting or sleep­ing bag makes get­ting out and about in cold weather so much eas­ier than at­tempt­ing to pile a layer on your lit­tle one. Ac­cord­ing to Dr Nitin Syal, pae­di­a­tri­cian, For­tis hos­pi­tal, Delhi, you should avoid us­ing a bunting bag with a car seat. “In­stead, tuck a thin blan­ket around your baby’s shoul­der se­curely for warmth and to re­duce the risk of suf­fo­ca­tion from thicker bunting. If you are us­ing a mod­ern bunting bag for swad­dling dur­ing sleep, do so by su­per­vis­ing your baby con­stantly to en­sure that the bunting doesn’t un­fas­ten and be­come a suf­fo­ca­tion hazard,” says he.

IDEAL ROOM TEM­PER­A­TURE

Al­though your in­stincts might tell you to keep your baby’s bed­room warmer than the rest of the house, it is rec­om­mended that you keep it less thantoasty 20-de­gree Cel­cius. That might feel rather chilly to you, but over­heat­ing can lead to sud­den in­fant death syn­drome (SIDS). “The most re­li­able way to mon­i­tor your baby’s room tem­per­a­ture is with a room ther­mome­ter. The best way to keep your baby’s bed­room at the right tem­per­a­ture is to set the cen­tral heat­ing or the heater in their room to be­tween 16°C and 20°C” says Dr Nitin Syal. Also, be sure not to push your baby’s cot next to a fire­place or a ra­di­a­tor. If your baby’s room tends to be chilly, it’s worth in­vest­ing in thick, lined cur­tains to keep in the warmth. If you need to use a por­ta­ble heater such as an elec­tric fan heater, make sure it’s not point­ing di­rectly at your baby. Never use elec­tric blan­kets on your baby’s bed.

SLEEPSUITS FOR COSY NIGHTS

Sleepsuits are the per­fect nightwear for ba­bies – they’re all in one piece, so there’s noth­ing to come un­tucked, and many of them have en­closed feet and turn-over cuffs to keep lit­tle hands and feet warm. On top of her sleep­suit, you can cover your baby with a sheet and a light blan­ket such as a fleece or cel­lu­lar blan­ket rec­om­mends Dr Agar­wal. If the room tem­per­a­ture drops be­low 16°C, or if your baby feels cold to the touch, you can add an ex­tra blan­ket on top – the beauty of lay­er­ing is that you can add or re­move bed­ding de­pend­ing on the tem­per­a­ture. She should also never wear a hat in bed: young ba­bies lose ex­cess heat through the head, and if it’s cov­ered up, she could be­come too hot.

“If you’re not sure whether your baby is too warm or cold, check whether her hands feel cold or her skin looks blotchy. This in­di­cates her tem­per­a­ture is too low. If she is rest­less and has flushed, red skin, she may be too warm. Check her tem­per­a­ture fre­quently, be­cause she can’t tell you if she’s too hot or cold. In gen­eral, dress your baby how you would like to be dressed for that tem­per­a­ture. The thumb rule for lay­er­ing your baby is to add just one layer be­yond what is com­fort­able for the mum and dad. So if you are com­fort­able in a long sleeve top and jeans in­side the house, your baby will prob­a­bly be fine in a sleeper and a blan­ket,” says Dr Agar­wal.

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