Baby your bundle, bundle your baby
It’s the foremost rule of winter care, for baby and baby’s mama: Bundle up. Common sense is a valuable asset when it comes to dressing your little one, and many of the same tricks that have kept you comfortable through many a wintry season will also work for your baby.
First, layers are for everyone. Start baby’s ensemble with a cozy bodysuit in a comfortable fabric; it should fit close to the body for frontline insulation. Then throw on additional light- to medium-weight layers and top them off with the outerwear most appropriate for the weather and your outing. Of course, remember to help baby shed layers when you step indoors.
For extended strolling in bitter weather (sometimes it’s unavoidable!), opt for a snowsuit or heavy bunting to keep your baby covered from head to toe, but make sure she isn’t overheated. Sweat or any other moisture can make your baby dangerously cold when the temperature drops. Mittens, hats and layered socks are also necessities in chilly climates: Because babies are mostly immobile (and not creating kinetic heat) while strolling, keeping extremities covered and dry is a must. For extra protection from the wind and cold, some strollers come equipped with cocoon-like boot covers—utilize yours or attach a stroller blanket for a cozy ride.
Give germs the cold shoulder
RSV and the flu are serious threats to little ones, and both rear their ugly heads during the cooler months of late fall, winter and early spring. Premature babies and babies born with weakened immune systems are especially at risk, but all parents should be on guard against the nasty germs that deliver these illnesses.
Since both diseases are airborne and quite contagious, the safest way to protect against RSV and the flu is to keep your baby in quarantine all winter. However, chances are you’ll have to leave your home at some point, so barring isolation, follow these recommendations for fighting physical contaminants.
- Wash hands frequently—for the health of your child, yourself and everyone around you. Count to 20 (or practice “Twinkle, twinkle”) as you scrub each finger with soap.
- Avoid the unwashed masses—or at least those you know to be sick. If you have the choice, steer clear of daycare centers during the winter months while your kiddo is little; any indoor place packed with people is bound to pass a bug around.
- Don’t share drinks, forks, spoons, straws … and don’t let baby do it either. Your mom was right—you really will get sick that way.
- Get a flu shot! Unless you’ve been advised otherwise, you and your family members (ages 6 months and up) should get yearly flu shots, which are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each year, the flu vaccine is customized to fight the specific strain circulating at the time.
Spin silky skin, keep moisture in
The combination of cold winter winds and dry indoor heat is harsh on everyone’s skin, but an infant’s epidermis is especially vulnerable to the elements. Even before you notice your baby’s skin becoming chapped or dry, take precautions against the chill.
When you’re combating dry skin, note that excessive soaping doesn’t help anyone. Keep your baby clean and germ-free, but don’t overbathe. Use a gentle cleanser in the tub and avoid letting your baby sit in soapy water too long since doing so can rob her skin of moisture. After the bath, pat her dry and apply a heavy-duty lotion or moisturizer before her skin has the chance to dry out. (We love Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment by Eucerin and Noodle & Boo Ultimate Ointment.) Continue to apply moisturizer as needed throughout the day, and keep baby hydrated from the inside out with plenty of fluids. Her body runs on liquid!
If your home is ultra-arid with winter-battling dry heat, consider using a cool mist humidifier in the nursery—check out crane-usa.com for adorable-yet-effective humidifiers shaped like baby’s favorite animal friends. The weather is frightful, but that doesn’t mean your sweetie’s skin can’t be delightful.