Caring for a baby in the dead of winter has its challenges, but they can easily be overcome. We look at 4 common baby winter concerns and how to deal with them.
Solutions for common baby winter concerns:
1. It’s nippy outside
Solution: Just because it’s cold, doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors with your little one all winter. Fresh air is good for babies, says clinic nurse and co-author of Baby Sense, Sister Ann Richardson. A common baby winter concern is that children often get sick from being in shopping malls or closed areas where a lot of people are gathered together.
This is because viral infections spread through the air, and many bacterial infections are passed on from air droplets through coughing and sneezing or from direct contact with a sick person. If your child has no chest or viral infection, you can take him for a walk or a visit to the park. Just make sure his head, hands and feet stay warm with appropriate clothes and blankets. Don’t go outside if it’s rainy.
2. My baby is cold in the night
Solution: Most children kick off their blankets at night, and this can be a real problem in winter when temperatures drop between 2am and 4am. One of the best ways to beat this baby winter concern is to use a sleeping bag or wearable blanket, says occupational speaker and author, Meg Faure. Sleeping bags come in a range of various sizes and thicknesses also known as a tog rating. A rating of 2 to 2.5 will keep your little one warm in winter without the risk of overheating. Just make sure you dress him in light cotton clothing as the bag retains the heat.
If your child isn’t a fan of sleeping bags, try the Body Blankie by Simply Child, available at www.takealot.com. Many children prefer this option because it allows them to stand up and move freely in their cots.
It’s also important to make sure your child’s room temperature is at the right temperature of between 16 and 20˚C in winter, says Meg. The best way to achieve this is with wall panel heaters that don’t blow hot air or dry out the room too much.
3.My child’s skin is dry and itchy
Solution: Dry skin and eczema can flare up in cold winter months, and cause your child a lot of discomfort. “With eczema, the skin can become very dry and itchy and crack,” says Dr Amanda Friedrichs, a dermatologist in the US. It’s not essential to bath your child every night in winter. If your nightly routine includes a bath, limit time in the warm water to less than 10 minutes and use a cleanser only when needed. Make sure the cleanser is mild and fragrance-free. Also avoid using bubble baths or any harsh shampoos that could cause your child to have a dry, flaky scalp.
If your baby’s skin looks in need of moisture or seems itchy, try a natural remedy such as an oatmeal bath – the cellulose and fibre in the oats will soften the water. Keep his skin supple by using an emollient cream in the bath, and applying a light, fragrance-free moisturiser afterwards. Coconut oil works wonders on dry knees, elbows and chins (from drooling).
4. My little one won’t eat soups and stews
Solution: While you look forward to hearty stews and soups on cold winter days, your little one might turn his nose up at the sight and smell of cooked veggies. Although you might want to give in and just serve your child what he wants, it’s worth the effort to encourage him to eat vegetables in winter, says nutritionist Lisa Sharp. This is because vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to ward off colds and flu, and keep his immune system strong.
One way to get your child on board is to involve him in the preparation and cooking, say researchers from the US-based Center For Science in the Public Interest. Let him touch and taste the veggies you’re preparing and surround him only with healthy food choices, so he has no option but to eat the food when he’s hungry. You could also serve the soup or stew in a different way, such as with a dollop of crème fraiche or cheesy toast. Make smiley faces out of the veggies and present them on the side plate or let your little one dip his roll into the sauce for a fun (but messy) activity!
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike.