It’s a winter wonderland out there, and it’s also your baby’s first winter. When you see the temperatures drop, it’s totally understandable if words such as “hypothermia” and “frostbite” plague your mind when you think of taking your little one outside! Babies lose heat quickly, so it’s necessary that their clothes keep them warm. Fear not, though. With the right winter wardrobe and goodies, your little bundle of love can stay nice and toasty this winter.
When you’re dressing your infant for winter, layering is key. If your little one is under one year, always add one more layer than you’re wearing. For example, say you’re wearing some pants, an undershirt, a sweatshirt, and a jacket. Take this route for your munchkin, but add in a fleece onesie. If he’s one year old or over, he’ll be fine dressed in the same amount of layers that you’re in. Hats, mittens, and wool socks will ensure that your tiny tot’s head, hands and footsies are warm. With all of this layering, though, be sure to check his diaper frequently. Moisture, warmth, and friction can create diaper rash, so it’s best to keep his tushie as fresh as possible.
Frostnip is a mild version of frostbite. As with frostbite, the body parts most vulnerable to frostnip are exposed skin, especially her tiny fingers and toes. This is why mittens and hats are so important in the winter! If her skin looks red, give her a lukewarm bath. If it’s been a couple of hours and her skin color hasn’t gone back to normal, you should probably play it safe and call your doctor.
It may be cold outside, but heat rash can be a pest, too! A well-bundled baby can become overheated, causing his sweat glands to clog up and cause little red bumps to appear. Be sure that your baby’s layers are breathable—cotton and wool are ideal—and don’t think twice about removing one if he seems hot.
It’s likely that your little one has a tendency to drool, lick her lips, or even blow bubbles with her saliva. This extra moisture actually wicks away the top layer of skin, leaving her little lips sensitive to the cold! Always have some lip balm or petroleum jelly on hand to help moisturize her lips.
Pink chubby cheeks are always so lovely on a baby. Red cheeks? Not so much. When baby’s skin chaps, it can peel or crack, leading to red cheeks. Try to avoid extreme winter weather whenever possible, and ensure that he’s bundled up when you do take him outside. As for skin that’s already dry? Use petroleum jelly or a thick moisturizer on the skin regularly (be especially adamant about doing this before and after you go outside). Also, keep in mind that even though harsh sunlight seems far gone right now, UV rays aren’t, and they’re still strong. Always use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)—for yourself and your mini.
Handwashing is also important! If someone is going to hold your baby, ask for them to wash their hands with soap and warm water first. It may seem a little harsh, but just a minor inconvenience compared to what a virus could do to your delicate nugget, such as causing RSV. According to healthychildren.org, RSV is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children. It’s one of many viruses that can cause colds, sore throats, coughs, and fevers. Clean hands are the way to start with keeping your baby healthy.
Once you’ve gotten through baby’s first winter, odds are that all of this newfound knowledge and advice will come second nature to you. It’s the coziest time of the year for you and your munchkin. Whether it’s snuggling by the fireplace or enjoying the snow outside, the most special rule to remember is this: Time flies, and your baby will only have his first winter once. Appreciate and take in every moment that you possibly can!