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Baby’s First Winter: 5 Tips To Keep Your Baby Safe

Dr. Shazia Riaz

3 min read

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Winter has a completely different meaning for mothers, especially for new mothers who have to look out for their newborns. Sometimes, mothers prefer to not leave the house with the babies, in case they fall ill.

However, New York pediatrician Erica Landau, M.D. states that unless it’s dangerously cold, mothers should venture out with the infants to help them adapt to the seasons. It will also help the baby acclimate to the day-and-night cycle, and calm them down when they are fussy. 

Despite this recommendation, new mothers should be careful when stepping out with their children. Once the temperature drops down dangerously so, they should not take their baby out unless it’s for quick trips to the car and back.

The reason is that infants do not have the ability to regulate their core temperature and thus have to rely on external factors like clothing to protect them from the elements.

Moreover, infants lose heat faster than adults and are unable to deal with extremes of weather. According to Kate Puttgen, M.D., director of pediatric dermatology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, small babies do not have the ability to generate heat by shivering, and they don’t have the body fat to keep them warm either. 

Here are a few tips that can help you this winter.

1. Use layers to dress your baby 

Don’t overcompensate for the cold by wearing too much clothing, but shield your infant from the cold by dressing him in layers. As mentioned before, infants cannot maintain their core temperature, and as such, they can also easily overheat if mothers dress them too warmly. 

To dress the baby in layers, start with a cotton base. Cotton feels the best against baby skin, says, Jody Alpert Levine, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist in New York City. It can be a footed romper, a cotton shirt with socks and stretchy pants. The middle layer can be made of heavier material, like microfleece, and the outer layer can be that of water and wind-resistant jacket, mittens and a hat. Use warm booties to keep the hands and feet warm.

Babies lose a lot of heat through their head as it has a large surface area compared to the body. It is therefore important to cover the head with a warm knit cap or soft fleece hats. While jackets with hoodies can also be worn, they do tend to get off, hence, hats are a much better alternative. 

2. Snug hands and feet 

Tiny hands and feet can be more sensitive to changes in temperature. Thus, soft mittens and socks should be worn in extremely cold temperature to protect from the cold. Gloves and socks can also protect the baby’s skin from dryness. Babies have fewer oil glands than adults, and their skin can, therefore, dry out quicker, particularly if they are prone to eczema. 

3. Maintain the humidity levels indoors

To maintain the moisture levels indoors, you can place a bowl of water in the baby’s room, (or a cool-mist humidifier). Maintaining the moisture levels can help prevent extreme dryness of the baby’s skin during the cold weather, according to a pediatrician based in Dallas, Susan J. Hubbard, M.D.

4. Protect against heat rash

Overdressing a baby can result in overheating, and this can lead to excessive sweating. If a baby sweats too much, there is a chance it can clog the underdeveloped sweat glands of the skin. This clogging of glands can trap perspiration under the skin and cause a bumpy, red skin rash. This rash commonly appears on the neck and chest area of the baby.

A key winter tip for young mothers it to dress an infant in light and breathable layers that can be easily removed according to the environment. The general recommendation is to dress the baby in just one more layer of clothing than you are wearing.

If you are unsure of how comfortable the baby is, just check the nape of their neck to see what temperature it is. Hands, feet and even the forehead of the baby tends to be cooler than the core temperature; the best gauge is the nape of the neck and the mother can check it to see if the baby is hot or cold. 

5. Safety during sleep 

According to the National Institute of Health, infants are at higher risk of SIDS during the winter months. While the exact cause of SIDS is not understood, it could be due to excessive bundling and warmth in rooms.

To ensure that the baby stays safe, don’t keep the temperature of the room excessively warm. Set the temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and dress the baby in warm pajamas. Avoid the use of blankets if you can as babies under two years of age can wind up face-down on loose bedding and blankets. You can use a sleep sack instead of a blanket if you are concerned about cold. 

Discuss your child’s health with the right professional and book an appointment with a top pediatrician in Lahore, Karachi, and Multan through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Shazia Riaz
Dr. Shazia Riaz - Author Dr. Shazia Riaz is among the Best Pediatric Hematologists in Lahore. Dr. Shazia Riaz is a Pediatric Hematologist practicing in Lahore. She treats medical conditions like cancer, brain tumor, leukemia, and others.

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