bebe avec doudoune
The 23 January 2017
By galipon dans

Winter’s here! What’s the best way to protect baby from the cold?

The summer sunshine seems like only yesterday, and yet we’re already preparing for temperatures to plummet. We can see the days getting shorter and shorter, sometimes making us feel like we’re living in a cave. Winter is certainly here! Time to get out your big jumpers and thick coats. You’re all set for the harsh weather, but what about your little one? What’s the best way to moisturise their skin and prevent winter illnesses? Which winter clothes are best for baby? Here’s a quick overview to help make sure winter is trouble-free for your child.

If your baby has dry skin, what’s the best way to protect it?

Moving from a warm environment to a cold one when you go out with your baby, or the other way round when you come back home, can damage the skin. We can feel it as adults, so it’s no surprise that the risk of skin drying out is much higher for little ones. As well as variations in temperature, other factors such as wind or pollution can also affect their skin. This may lead to little red patches, itching or chapped areas. Chapping is the most common effect of the cold,

but there are many remedies on the market for lips or fingers. These are the areas that are most likely to be wet in children, as well as being highly exposed to the elements.

There are all sorts of treatments available in the shops in the form of lotions, oils and creams to apply to the body. Dermo-cosmetic products are designed to address problems with the skin or hair. Most of them fall into the category of products sold under pharmaceutical advice. This means that you can ask your pharmacist for advice on choosing the right balm or cream for your baby. However, if you don’t see any improvement, it’s best to see your child’s doctor.

All the major brands have their own dermo-cosmetic ranges. We’re spoilt for choice! Certain products have formulas that are more natural than others; it’s up to you to make your choice. But the most important thing is to check that they are hypoallergenic and that they are specifically designed for children.

Particular areas to protect in newborns are obviously those that are the most exposed outdoors: the face and hands. It’s best to go for an oily moisturising cream with a thicker consistency than the ones you use in summer. There are moisturising sticks especially for babies’ lips. Use the stick liberally to moisturise as much as possible, and re-apply as often as necessary.

Even though the rest of your little one’s body is less exposed to the elements, that doesn’t mean it should be neglected. Choose a lighter moisturiser than the one you use on their hands and face, as this would be too greasy. Apply to clean, dry skin to moisturise your baby’s skin deep down.

Preventing winter illnesses

We’ve already looked at the effects of temperature fluctuations, wind, pollution and dermo-cosmetic treatments for moisturising your baby’s skin. But winter also goes hand-in-hand with a whole host of illnesses that your children may catch. Gastroenteritis, coughs and colds can all lead to dehydration, whilst fevers, diarrhoea and vomiting can all add to the fun… so you need to keep a close eye on your child’s health! If your child already seems poorly, take them to the doctor’s. But there are things you can do to help prevent your child falling ill in the first place.

Follow these basic rules to keep your child healthy:

  • Moisturise well (apply moisturiser to the whole body, and ensure your baby takes on enough liquids if they are still being bottle-fed: it’s best to drink little and often).
  • Pay particular attention to their nasal hygiene.
  • Make sure their hands are clean.
  • Avoid too much regular contact with other people (not too many kisses).
  • Ensure the nursery is well-ventilated.
  • Do not overheat the nursery (keep it at a constant temperature of 19°; for more information on your baby’s nursery, see the article entitled ‘Making sure the nursery is safe as baby takes their first steps‘).
  • Use a humidifier in the nursery if the air is too dry.

How to dress baby and prepare your pushchair for winter

You need to take certain precautions in winter, both at home and outdoors. Before going out, wrap up baby as warmly as possible to protect them from the cold and keep them comfortable.

Ensure your baby’s clothing is suitable for the outdoor temperature, taking wind chill into account as this may be lower than the actual temperature (see the ‘Preparing for winter mountain holidays with baby‘ page that deals with this topic in more depth).

Focus on an outfit that’s appropriate for the cold, including:

  • A balaclava to protect their head (most body heat is lost from this area).
  • A scarf.
  • Thermal underclothes to keep them warm (there are several technical designs that ensure the child’s temperature is regulated to avoid perspiration)
  • A fleece.
  • A warm all-in-one with a hood.
  • Warm socks (ones that you can put over the trousers to prevent draughts; not very stylish but effective).
  • Suitable winter shoes.
  • Mittens to keep their little hands warm and enable them to move.

Now that baby is all kitted out, we need to look at how they get around: their winter pushchair. Try to choose one with good rain protection. In terms of comfort, a sheepskin pushchair liner will provide insulation from the cold and help retain body heat.

Don’t forget that your little cherub only has limited movement in a pushchair, so is likely to feel the cold very quickly. So try not to take your baby out in a pushchair if the outdoor temperature is particularly cold, and avoid facing into the wind.

In any event, always bear the impact of fluctuations in temperature in mind. Don’t forget to uncover your baby once you go into the warm, and wrap them up again before you go out. When you’re out for a walk, take regular breaks to pick up your baby and check they don’t feel cold. This enables you to kill birds with one stone: it’s a practical way to check your baby’s temperature as well as the opportunity to give them a kiss and warm them up with your body heat.

Caring for baby in the home

Here are a few simple ways to ensure your baby is comfortable all winter long.

The most important steps are based around bathtime: don’t use water that’s too warm, don’t rub with a wash mitt, and gently dry baby’s skin by patting lightly with a towel rather than rubbing. This reduces the risk of skin irritations.

Now it’s time to gently lay baby on the changing mat and apply moisturiser. This is a special time for bonding with your baby through skin-to-skin contact. Gently stroking your baby can stimulation blood circulation.

The points we have covered here will help ensure your baby is comfortable all winter long. And just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that you can’t go out! If the temperature allows, feel free to go out for walks. Getting a breath of fresh air is good for everyone!

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