Reloaded Mag Africa Volume 20 - Page 23

Oh baby, it’s cold outside!

For many expectant moms who are due in the winter, there is a hint of worry and anxiety about the risks associated with having a baby in the cold months. The reality is that there are many more viruses and bacterial infections floating around in the winter months, such as the seasonal flu and the common cold, that can be much more dangerous for newborns. Additionally, the stoic cold makes it impractical for many parents to take their newborns outdoors often, and makes routine outings feel overly stressful.

Obviously, babies are born during every season of the year. And while there are risks involved for newborns no matter when they are born, the cold winter months do pose some more health hazards. The following risks and accompanying tips can help you enjoy your winter baby and hopefully worry a little less.

1. Over-bundling your baby. Your cold season baby will come home with a hat. Infants have an especially hard time regulating body temperature and many parents keep the baby’s hat on for weeks after delivery. However, it is important to realize that just because your baby is little and the temperatures are cold, you shouldn’t over-bundle your baby in clothing. Too many layers of clothing along with too many covers or blankets can actually pose a health risk for your little one, as they struggle to regulate body temperature at both spectrums. Getting too hot, or being over-bundled, has been linked to SIDS. Pediatricians say you should feel your baby’s hands and feet to see if they are warm or cold. Dress and bundle your baby as you would do yourself and then add one thin layer. Keeping the hat on your baby’s head is a good idea especially since most of their body heat escapes from the head. If you head outdoors, bundle your baby, paying careful attention to keep their face covered from the elements – but check their body temperature regularly to make sure that they aren’t overheating. When you get indoors, remove the outer layers, such as a coat and mittens, so your baby can adjust to the indoor temperature.

baby, paying careful attention to keep their face covered from the elements – but check their body temperature regularly to make sure that they aren’t overheating. When you get indoors, remove the outer layers, such as a coat and mittens, so your baby can adjust to the indoor temperature.

2. Winter illness. In the colder months, illness abound and you should be very strict and careful about people touching your baby. Ask them to wash their hands before handling your baby, and keep hand sanitizer nearby and ready to use. Even you, as the parent, should make sure to sanitize you hands often. Additionally, politely decline invitations to attend large parties and try to keep your infant away from places with many school aged children who are often carrying germs. Since there are very few medications you can give newborns when they get a cold or virus, you should be prepared to contact your pediatrician and keep supplies such as a nasal syringe and saline spray on hand. Also, keeping your baby out of places where lots of people congregate – such as churches, airports, grocery stores, schools etc. – can get you through the first few months with less risk for illness. Remember, if your baby does get sick, it is important to contact your pediatrician right away.

The good news is that the weather will warm up quickly and as your newborn grows he or she will be even more resilient. As long as you use common sense, an outing with your winter newborn is not cause for concern or worry.

Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational

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