When dressing a baby, it is important to remember to find out how many layers it takes for you to feel comfortable, and give them one layer extra.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to be very chilly. As adults, we can handle the cold for a little while, but unfortunately the same can’t be said for babies.
As a new parent, you might begin to worry about taking your new-born baby home from the hospital in the cold weather. After all, winter babies need to be wrapped up warmly and protected from the elements, but how exactly do we do that?
Suddenly there are so many questions that need to be answered. What clothes should my baby wear?
What materials should I dress my baby in? How many layers does a baby need? Is there anything I need to avoid when bring my baby home from the hospital?
Worry not, because we have all the answers that you need in this article.
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How to Bring a Baby Home in Winter?
When you see the temperature begin to drop after a winter birth, you may start worrying about what outfit to take your baby home in. As a result, you might consider taking your baby home in a thick or bulky coat, but recent research suggests that this isn’t a good idea.
Wrapping your baby in too many layers, or one thick, bulky layer can cause them to overheat, which may lead to a SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) related death.
Not only can your baby overheat, but the added bulk of a large coat can endanger your baby in the car. Seat belts are intended to be in close contact to the body for them to be effective, however thick coats prevent the seatbelts in car baby seats from properly encompassing babies, thus leading to increased danger when travelling.
So, now you know what not to do, that leaves the question of what should you do? A good rule of thumb is to dress up your baby in multiple thin layers as opposed to one thick layer.
When dressing your baby for the cold, you should find out how many layers it takes for you to feel comfortable, and then add one extra layer onto your baby. So, if you need three layers to keep warm, give your baby four layers; a good way to do this would be to dress your baby in three layers, and then cover them with a thin blanket.
How Can I Tell if My Baby is Too Cold?
The majority of parents prefer using a light blanket to cover their babies since these can be easily removed if the baby gets too hot, and are quickly replaced if the baby gets too cold. If you are unsure of whether a baby is too hot or cold, then a good rule of thumb is to check the baby’s feet and belly.
A baby’s toes are normally cool to the touch, though not overly cold, whereas the belly is generally warm. If the belly is cool, your baby is too cold, and if the toes are warm, your baby is too hot.
What Outfit Should My Baby Wear When Coming Home From the Hospital?
While nobody can deny that a baby in a cute dress or a tiny suit is adorable, this isn’t the best time to be playing dress-up. You will be tired, your baby will be tired, and trying to get them into a complicated outfit will only serve to aggravate matters.
If you really want that fancy outfit, wait until you’re home and have a party for everyone to meet the baby, but until then, you should start with something much simpler.
A good outfit to bring your baby home in from the hospital is a onesie for new-borns, paired with some trousers, a pair of socks, and perhaps an overshirt if it is particularly cold; you could also add a wool or cotton hat, and a light blanket for travelling outdoors.
The world of baby fashion has grown immensely over the last twenty years, so just because your outfit should be simple, doesn’t mean that it has to look bad.
Just be careful when you’re shopping for your first baby outfit that you check the weight of the material; sleep sacks are useful at home, but they aren’t a good choice for travel since they can get in the way of the seatbelts in the baby car seat.
Taking Your Winter Baby From the Hospital to the Car
So, you’ve got the baby dressed in the right number of layers, with a nice thin blanket on top to take them outside. You might think that’s all you need to do, but there are a few other top tips that will keep your baby nice and toasty, preventing any discomfort they might otherwise face.
A short while before you wish to leave the hospital, you should talk to the staff so you are aware of any discharge procedures that might be in place.
Some hospitals prefer that you use wheelchairs when leaving, whereas others will not discharge parents who don’t take the baby car seat into the hospital first so they can see that you do indeed have one.
When you are ready to leave, you should send either a family member or a friend to the car, so they can turn the car heating on.
This will give you time to make sure that you have everything that you need, or ask the hospital staff anything that might be on your mind before you leave; during this time, whomever is in the car can also check that there is enough petrol for the trip home.
Once you have been contacted by your travelling partner to say that the car is nice and warm, you will be able to leave the hospital.
Do I Have to Have a Baby Car Seat?
Yes, the law makes it very clear that when travelling with a baby in the car, you must have a baby car seat, with only very few exceptions. Some hospitals follow very strict rules to make sure that you have a car seat in place and that you properly know how to use it.
They may ask you to bring the car seat in, or to give them photographic evidence that you have one before discharging you, and they can even escort you to your car.
If you don’t have your own mode of transport and are relying on a taxi service, you can request that they send you a car with a baby car seat, which most services will provide. Alternately, you may purchase a car seat to use for the taxi ride home.
How do I keep my baby warm in the car?
Provided that you have followed the above steps, dressing your baby in the correct number of layers and warming the car before you travel, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you are concerned and have a long drive home however, you can stop mid-journey to check on the baby and make sure that they are at the correct temperature.
Can I swaddle my baby in the car seat?
No. Although swaddling is a great technique to soothe just about any baby into sleeping, it cannot be done while they are in a car seat. Swaddling prevents the car seat harness from properly securing babies, thus endangering them in the event of a crash or collision.
Are there any baby coats I can use?
Although we have already discussed the use of bulky coats and the dangers of using them when travelling, there are some exceptions to the rule. Some companies have designed coats for babies that keep them wrapped up warmly, while allowing the car seat to do its job; just be wary that what you’re buying is 100% safe for travel.
So, now you know exactly how to dress your baby for the cold months that are coming up. In the cooler weather when the temperatures have yet to fully drop, usually ranging between 10-15 degrees Celsius (50-65 degrees Fahrenheit), you can dress your baby in materials like cotton, or knitwear.
This is normally when you would use an ensemble of a onesie with a cap and a light blanket.
As soon as the temperature starts dropping further, reaching between 1-10 degrees Celsius (33-50 degrees Fahrenheit), it is time to start dressing your baby in warmer fabrics such as flannel or fleece. Since onesies are a simple outfit to dress a baby in, they’re once again the ideal outfit to bring your baby home in.
In these lower temperatures, you should also use a medium-sized fleece blanket, instead of the thinner wool alternatives.
Dressing your baby in multiple thin layers is preferable to dressing them in one bulky layer, such as a coat; don’t forget that coats aren’t ideal for babies travelling in cars either.