Posted by Vered on September 29 2010
When you have a baby, winter presents several special challenges. Babies can get very uncomfortable during the winter because of cold temperatures outside, warm temperatures inside, dry air and more. Here are a few tips for keeping baby comfortable in the winter.
Many of us tend to overheat the house during the winter, especially when we have a baby, because we worry about the baby getting too cold. But overheating the house creates problems such as dry indoor air and could cause your baby to become overheated. For the first two weeks, the room temperature should be around 70-75 degrees. If you are comfortable in a short sleeve shirt, it is about right for your baby.
Keep Him Covered
On cold nights, check on your baby occasionally to see that he's covered enough to be warm and comfortable. Babies often kick off their blankets, then get too cold.
Dress Her in Layers
During the winter, it’s often cold outside but very warm inside, including stores and shopping malls. It’s best to dress your baby in layers that you can put on or take off as needed.
Dress your baby in cotton clothes and use cotton baby bedding. Cotton will allow your baby to stay cool and comfortable much better than non-breathable synthetic fabrics.
Use a humidifier in Baby’s Room
A humidifier will help add much needed moisture to the air in his room. Remember to clean the humidifier daily and sanitize weekly.
Keep Him Hydrated
This is obvious in the summer, but in the winter too, it’s important to make sure your baby gets enough fluids and stays hydrated.
Air Out the House Whenever Possible
Indoor air pollution can be a major issue, especially if the house is seldom aired out. When weather permits, air out the house, even just for a little while.
Go Outside Often
Going outside is good for your baby and for you. Research shows that 10 daily minutes of unfiltered sun exposure is very important. Try to get out of the house daily, or as often as weather permits.
Posted by Vered on September 16 2010
As hard as you may try to keep your baby healthy this winter, chances are your baby WILL get the common cold at least once (and likely more than once). Here are a few tips for dealing with a sick baby. Remember that in most cases, the common cold resolves within about a week and that as inconvenient as having a sick baby is, being sick does build your baby’s immune system.
Give Her Plenty of Fluids
This is especially important if your baby runs a fever or has diarrhea. Breastfeed as often as your baby will nurse. If bottle-feeding, add water too.
Use a Humidifier
The moist air from a humidifier will thin your baby's mucus secretions, helping to calm his cough and relieve congestion. Using a humidifier is especially important during the night and when your baby naps. Otherwise, he may have trouble sleeping. To avoid bacteria buildup, clean the humidifier daily and disinfect it weekly.
Use a Bulb Syringe
Oh, how I hated using that bulb syringe on my sick babies! But the reality is that they can’t yet blow their noses and need your help. As much as they suffer and protest while you do it, removing mucus with the bulb syringe, especially before naps and at night, provides important relief and helps them breathe more easily. It also helps them eat better.
Make Sure He Gets Plenty of Rest
A sick baby may need to rest more often than a healthy baby, since her sleep is disrupted. Try to lie down with her and snuggle – sick babies need comfort and you are probably exhausted too!
Know When to Call the Doctor
Most cases of the common cold resolve on their own within about a week. But look out for signs of a more serious illness. Call the doctor if your baby is pulling on his ear, is wheezing or has trouble breathing, or if he has diarrhea or vomiting. You should also call the doctor if your baby is younger than 3 months and has a temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher. Most importantly, listen to your instincts, and don’t ever hesitate to call the doctor if you feel worried. If in doubt, it’s always a good idea to call the doctor and speak to the advice nurse.
Posted by Vered on September 13 2010
Although some illnesses such as the common cold are pretty much inevitable, especially during winter season, there are some steps you can take to protect your baby from being exposed to riskier illnesses.
Unfortunately, we’re in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic. While this illness is usually mild for older kid and for healthy adults, babies under six months can get serious complications if they contract the disease. Make sure your baby gets vaccinated according to the recommended schedule, and make sure everyone around her, including babysitters and older siblings, is vaccinated too.
The best way to protect your baby against the common cold is to make sure both he and the people around him wash their hands often. It’s a good idea to avoid playing with a child who has obvious cold symptoms and to keep sick family members away from him. Other than that, for a healthy baby, the common cold is rarely an issue and should resolve after a week or so.
If your baby is at least six months old, get her vaccinated. Other family members should get the flu shot too. Keep her away from sick people, including family members. Ideally, from November until April it’s best to stay away from large crowds and to avoid allowing a large number of people to touch and hold your baby. Easier said than done during the holiday season, but it’s a good idea to keep in mind that you want to limit your baby’s exposure during the flu season.
Boost your baby’s immune system naturally by breastfeeding if you can, and by offering a wide variety of solid foods once he’s ready for them. A daily baby multi vitamin is also a good idea. Check out our next blog post for advice on how to deal with a sick baby, and remember that most winter illnesses pass after about a week and that being sick does build your baby’s immune system.