Keeping Your Newborn Warm All Winter Long
Keeping your newborn warm is of the utmost importance. Infants do not have the ability to regulate their body heat like adults. They also tend to have a lower amount of body fat, causing them to lose heat more easily. If an infant loses too much heat, their body may pause many of the vital developmental processes that take place in the first year of life. It’s crucial to keep your baby at the perfect temperature all winter long, and the Glen Allen Pediatrics team is here to help with some useful tips!
When it comes to bedtime, you may feel the urge to pile on extra blankets and pillows to keep your baby warm. While this may seem like a good idea, it can actually be quite detrimental to your baby’s health. By piling on extra blankets and pillows, you are increasing their risk of succumbing to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This can occur when an infant’s airways become blocked while sleeping.
For that reason, it’s important to try to keep the bedding at a minimum. Instead, utilize fabrics that retain heat well. Many new parents use flannel fitted sheets for their cribs to help keep their newborn warm throughout the winter nights. We also advise using soft, one-piece sleepers or a sleeper sack or wearable blanket that zips up the front over the sleeper, allowing your baby to stay warm and cozy while still being to move their arms and legs. For an extra layer on very cold nights, you can add an extra undershirt or thin one-piece underneath their sleeper.
It’s important to remember that overheating your baby can also contribute to SIDS. Make sure you check on your baby regularly throughout the night to make sure your baby is not too warm or cold. You can check by feeling your baby with the back of your hand. Be sure to have your baby sleep on his or her back, as this can help avoid SIDS as well.
While we don’t recommend taking your baby out into the sub-freezing weather too often, it is good for your baby to get a few minutes of fresh air each day. When taking your baby outdoors, always make sure you are adequately prepared, especially in the morning and evening when the weather is at its coldest.
If you do take your baby outside, take the extra time to dress your child in a number of layers to keep them both warm and dry. We advise a dry, thin one-piece for their first layer of clothing, while the middle layer should be something warmer like fleece or flannel. With the outer layer, you want to focus on keeping your child warm but also using something that’s not too difficult to put on and take off frequently. If you take your child outside regularly during the winter, you may want to consider investing in some nicer outerwear for them to ensure they stay warm all winter long.
It’s also important to remember that your baby’s head, hands and feet should be covered at all times when outside in the winter. If you have a stroller, try to add an extra layer of fabric under your baby for extra warmth on his or her bottom. When you are outside, make sure to check on your baby regularly. Remember, a baby’s body cannot regulate temperatures like yours can, so it’s important to check their fingers, toes, nose, cheeks, and ears to make sure they are warm enough to remain outside. If the weather is particularly nasty, you may want to use a stroller with a cover to help your baby stay dry and safe from the elements.
As always, the best way to keep your baby warm is to be alert to their nonverbal queues. If your infant becomes fussy, they may be feeling too cold or warm. By paying close attention to your child’s needs, you can help keep them at the proper temperature all winter long. For more information about your baby’s health needs, contact Glen Allen Pediatrics today by dialing (804) 282-4210. As a small practice, the doctors, nurses, and staff at Glen Allen Pediatrics will get to know you and your child, providing continued, quality care that is customized to your child’s needs.