Being a new parent comes with plenty of questions – especially during the first winter with your baby! Right along with you, Nurse Practitioner Stephanie, mom to a 2 year old, and Newborn Center Front Desk Team Member Brooke, mom to a 10 month old, are doing all they can to keep their little ones safe and warm and the weather turns colder. Here they share their best winter time tips, both as moms and as KP staff.
1. Prepare now.
Pack your car and your home with anything you may need in case you do not have access to power or are stuck on the road for an extended period of time. Brooke says, “I always like to have a bag packed with water bottles and sippy cups, snacks for myself and daughter, diapers, wipes, blankets, pacifiers, toys, a flashlight and a snow scraper in case we get stuck on the road for a long time.” You may also want to pack formula, bottles, and a manual breast pump. You can also make sure you have these items easily accessible at home in case you lose power.
2. Avoid large crowds for the first 8 weeks.
Baby’s immune system is still developing for the first year, but he or she is especially vulnerable in the first couple of months. Stephanie suggests, “Keep baby away from malls, the airport or any large crowds at first.” Even family gatherings can be risky for a brand new baby. Stephanie suggests keeping family events small, or if you do find yourself at a big family gathering, “Be vigilant about hand washing, kissing baby, and keeping a distance from family members with colds. What is just a cold in an aunt or grandma, can become a very serious infection in a new baby.”
3. Dress your baby for the weather.
You don’t want to skip the jacket, hat, mittens, and socks when needed, but you also don’t want to over bundle your baby. Dress your baby in one more layer than what you are comfortable in. Don’t forget to take off baby’s layers when coming indoors and to add them back on when going outside. Always check if your baby appears too warm in their layers by feeling their neck, chest, or cheeks. These areas should feel neutral or slightly warm, not very warm or hot. If your baby gets red in the face or chest or develops a rash, they may be too hot and it’s time to re-evaluate that extra layer.
4. Avoid dry skin.
When the air gets dry during the winter, newborns are susceptible to developing dry skin. Brooke has found this to be the case with her daughter as cooler temps have set in. “I’ve been using a cool mist humidifier and applying lotion daily, and it’s helped relieve the discomfort caused by dry, itching skin.” Of course, if you’re concerned about excessive dryness or a rash, it may be best to talk it over with one of our nurses on the phone.
5. Keep your home between 68-72 degrees.
You may like your home very toasty or refreshingly cool, but newborns are even more sensitive to the cold and the heat than we are. Keep your home at a moderate temperature at night to keep your little one comfortable and to reduce the risk of SIDS, which has been associate with overheating.
6. Avoid space heaters.
As tempting as it may be to use one, space heaters can cause overheating and can be very dangerous to use in the house with a young child. Space heaters can also cause severe burns if a child comes in contact with one. Avoid space heaters by dressing your child according to the temperature of your home as well as using in-home heat if available.
7. Cocoon your baby.
The flu season has started earlier than normal in Georgia and the flu shot is your best defense. But what about baby, who can’t get the shot for 6 months? Stephanie recommends “cocooning” your baby by making sure anyone in regular, close contact is vaccinated. “This significantly lessens the chances that you or someone else may bring the flu home to baby. ”
If you have any concerns at all about your child’s health, please call us at anytime. Have a safe and happy winter season!