Winter Care Guide for Babies
As the cold and freezing days of winter are approaching, your concern for your tiny baby’s health is likely to increase. You will receive ample advice from your relatives and fellow parents on how to take care of your baby in winters, which may not really equip you for the challenging responsibility, but rather, leave you with doubts!
Babies are extremely fragile and as their immune system is in the developing stage, they are more likely to fall sick and be affected by seasonal changes, particularly during winter. You may love the cold breeze of this season and want to step out of your house, but it may not be the best idea for your tiny baby. No doubt, you are taking care of your baby in the best way possible, but during winter, he will need an ‘extra’ dose of love and care. Here is how you can provide him with just that!
10 Tips to Take Care of a Baby in Winter
The dropping temperature in winter increases the chances of your baby contracting infections and falling sick; which is why, as a parent, you’ll need to walk an extra mile with regards to his health. Here is a simple guide on how you can take care of your baby in winter and keep him safe and warm all day long, every day.
1. Dress your baby in warm, comfortable clothes
To protect your baby from the cold bite of winter, your obvious choice would be to cover him with thick sweaters, mittens, socks, and what not. While these winter essentials are a necessity for the baby, too much warmth can make him uncomfortable. First, assess the room temperature and dress your baby accordingly. Make him wear clothes that cover his body but do not restrict his movement. While putting him to bed, keep his mittens and socks on as these will keep his hands and feet warm, and let him sleep peacefully.
2. Maintain the right temperature in his room
Maintain a warm temperature in your house, particularly in your baby’s room. Before the cold winds of late winters come from all directions, make sure that all heating appliances like heaters, humidifiers, and geysers are in working condition. If you reside in a place where it gets freezing cold, mostly at night, keep the windows shut and turn on the heater. If you use a heater in your baby’s room, check whether the temperature is comfortable for him or not – it should not get too hot. Also, keep your baby’s room ventilated.
3. Massage your baby
Do not have second thoughts regarding massaging your baby in winter, as a massage can be extremely beneficial for his skin and health. Massaging your baby with a calming balm like Vicks BabyRub* will help retain moisture in his skin and prevent it from getting dry. Regular massages will also help stimulate blood flow in his body and improve his immune function. So, do not skip massages. However, give due consideration to the time and place for the massage. Ideally, massage your baby when he is in a playful mood. Also, choose a room that is warm and comfortable for the baby.
4. Breastfeed, for it’s the main source of nutrients for your baby
Breast milk should ideally be the solitary source of nutrients & antibodies for a baby up until the age of six months. Breast milk even improves the baby’s immune strength & keeps colds and infections at bay. So, breastfeed your baby as much as possible. If your baby has crossed the six months mark, you can include warm liquids in his diet & breastfeed, too. It will provide him with additional nutrients, and keep him safe & warm during winter.
5. Watch out for any signs of infections
Babies are more at the risk of contracting infections during winter, given the fact that their immunity levels are low. If you notice your baby making wheezing sounds while sleeping, coughing severely, or having difficulty breathing, he may have contracted an infection. Take your baby to a doctor immediately. If it is a common cold and the condition is not very severe, you can opt for home remedies. A common cold may disrupt your baby’s sleep pattern, making him feel tired and fussy the next day. To help give him a restful night, apply a touch of Vicks VapoRub** (suitable for babies 2 years and above) on his chest, neck and back before tucking him in with a light blanket. The natural goodness of menthol and eucalyptus oil will help him breathe without difficulty and provide relief from a cough. For babies 3 months and above, you may use Vicks BabyRub*, which helps moisturize, soothe, and calm a baby. Together with your loving touch, BabyRub will moisturize your baby and the lavender & rosemary fragrance of this balm will help him relax and sleep.
6. Adhere to vaccination schedules
As a baby’s immunity levels fall during winter, he is more likely to catch a cold or an infection. Therefore, as an added preventive measure, you must get him immunized on the due dates. The right shots at the right time will go a long way in keeping him healthy throughout his life. So, do not skip a vaccination schedule of your baby.
7. Use a light blanket
In the winter season, your natural instinct would be to cover your baby in layers and put a heavy blanket on him while making him sleep, but that may not be the best for your little one. While socks and mittens would keep him warm, a heavy blanket will not – it may get suffocating for him and may increase the risk of SIDS for your baby. So, use a light blanket for your baby and maintain a normal temperature in the room.
8. When taking your baby outdoors, wear and care
Unless it is absolutely necessary, avoid exposing your child to the cold, harsh winds blowing outside. Keep him safely cocooned at home. If going out is unavoidable, make him wear warm clothes – cover his chest, ears, hands, and feet. If there is nothing urgent, go out at noon or anytime later when the chilly winds subside. In case, you are planning to take your baby out on foot, hold him close with a babywearing sling as the warmth of your body will keep him warm and cosy.
9. Maintain your own hygiene
Although not a winter care tip for the baby, it requires mentioning. You spend a lot of time with your baby; hence you need to stay clean and healthy for your baby’s good. Wash your hands (sanitise if possible) before carrying your baby. He may catch an infection from anyone in the family or guests who come home, so politely ask them to wash their hands before attending to the baby. Prevention is the best care that you can offer to your tiny bundle of joy, so maintain hygiene and keep the germs away.
10. Bathe but seldom
Your baby may catch a cold if he is not attended to after his bath. Bathe your baby infrequently, in the winter season. Use lukewarm water and maintain a balance between the bathroom’s and room’s temperature. After bathing, cover him in a towel and dress him without further delay. It’s best to give him a sponge bath in winter, and if the weather is too cold, it’s okay to skip it!
In winter, you will have to be extra careful with regards to taking care of your baby; sometimes over-protective, too. But all is fine as long as your baby stays safe and warm. Follow the above-mentioned guide to take good care of your baby during the cold, dreary days of winter and do not panic if your baby sneezes once or twice.
Post-childbirth, the initial days are the hardest for parents. It will take you days to fathom the tiny demands of your baby and to distinguish his cries because his every discomfort is expressed by ‘crying’. But you will learn with experience. Moreover, there is no set & defined way to take care of a baby. Believe in your ways and stay in touch with your baby’s doctor for any query.
*Keep the areas of application loosely covered to avoid accidental ingestion or slipping while walking. Read the label carefully. Use as directed.
**Always read the label of the medication. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your doctor/healthcare professional.
How to Prevent Dehydration in Babies during Winter
Foods Your Baby Needs to Eat in Winter
Essential Tips on Winter Care for Infants