How to Care for Your Baby in Winter

Having a newborn during the winter months can cause a bit more anxiety than during other seasons. Don’t despair about how you’ll mange during the unexpected winter season.

Cheryl Butler,
January 25, 2016
Episode #362

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Having a newborn during any season can cause anxiety, especially for first-time parents that don’t know what to expect in those first few months. But the challenges that come along with the long, freezing days of winter, such as fighting off the cold and flu season in addition to staying warm and cozy, can make families even more tense.   

Mighty Mommy has some common sense tips on how to best care for your baby during the winter months, and how to protect him from seasonal illnesses.

Tip #1: Wash Your Hands

The best proactive winter tip for infants, as well as the rest of your family, is simple: Become religious about washing your hands throughout the day (and don’t rush the process; the experts say at least 20 seconds is the appropriate amount of time—sing Happy Birthday twice or recite the alphabet).  It may seem like a no brainer, but it’s also easy to get distracted and only wash your hands after you use the bathroom. There are dozens of other times throughout the day that you should also take advantage of ridding your hands of germs:  touching restaurant menus, shopping cart handles, elevator buttons, and even using ketchup and mustard dispensers and bottles. If you can’t get to a sink with soap and water, stock up on travel-sized hand sanitizer.

Tip #2:  Put Your Baby’s Health Before Others

One of my eight kids was born in February, right before Valentine’s Day. Although he was our 5th child, friends and family were still eager to come pay a visit (he weighed nearly 11 lbs at birth—quite a chubby sight to behold!). I loved the attention our new guy was getting, but within the first couple of days, many of our well-wishers had noticeable runny noses, hacking coughs, and heaven knows what other germs. As lovely as it is to have others want to welcome your new bundle into the family or neighborhood, don’t be afraid to ask people who are fighting colds and other winter illnesses to please not visit until they are well. And also don’t be shy about asking visitors to wash their hands before holding your new baby.  See Also:  5 Things Parents Shouldn't Worry About

Tip #3:  Dressing in Layers

The general rule of thumb when it comes to dressing newborns is that they need one layer more than you are wearing yourself. So if you’re wearing a hat and a coat, they should be wearing that plus a blanket wrapped around them. While we can pretty much gauge their comfort level using ours, babies’ bodies can’t regulate heat the way adults do, so they need a little extra warmth. If you are swaddling your baby, count the swaddle or wrap as one layer of clothing. When taking your baby out, he or she will also need a hat and mittens. You can use long-sleeved inners or onesies under her long sleeved baby suit. Remember that your baby's skin is more sensitive than yours, so be careful with itchy wool products. Natural fibers are best and breathe better.

As much as you want your precious baby to stay warm and cozy, be careful not to over-bundle. When inside, babies are most comfortable and safest sleeping in temperatures between 61 and 67 degrees. All they need on top of pajamas is a sleeper blanket to be comfortable—not layers of clothing and definitely not loose blankets.


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