BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE!
M&B shares expert tips to make sure your little one stays warm and comfortable this winter
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.
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.