Learning how to keep a baby warm at night is one of the toughest things for the new parents, as they learn about the conditional cues of their newborn babies, as all they get when a baby is uncomfortable is some crying. New parents must learn to monitor their babies and identify the signs of hunger, tiredness, sickness, thirst, temperature, and many other things.
These are the more obvious signs a baby can give out. But there are some signs that are more difficult to figure out, like signs that your baby is too cold. These signs are a lot less obvious and can often be mistaken for other signs – like hunger or sickness.
A common challenge faced by all new mothers is trying to keep their newborn baby warm, cosy, and comfortable at night. Especially in the winter, when the weather conditions are low to freezing in cold climates – it can be difficult trying to regulate the body temperature of a baby. Making them easy and weak targets to first sneezing, coughing and possibly pick up a cold or flu.
Signs your baby is too cold
The immune system of a baby or infant is not as strong as an adult. They cannot regulate their body temperature according to weather conditions like adults. They need external measures to be taken by their parents to keep them warm in winter and cool in summer.
A sudden temperature drop can cause be a risk to the health of a month old baby. You might some need to watch your baby sleep to keep an eye on the body temperature of your baby. The room temperature in the room is also important and should be monitored using a decent room thermometer like this.
You might need to make sure you allow fresh air into the room if it gets too hot and shut any open windows if it gets cold.
To monitor the body temperature of your baby, here are 5 main signs to observe:
Cold Hands & Feet
It might be obvious, but the first sign that your baby is cold is from their hands and feet. The hands and feet are the most exposed points in the body as the heat escapes faster from hands and feet. A baby forehead or ear thermometer (See price on Amazon) is a must-have for your home because there should be no difference between the temperature of these two points and other parts of your baby’s body. So, if you feel your baby’s hands and feet cold, use the thermometer to check, then put on an extra layer if necessary.
Another sign that your baby might be feeling the chills is if you notice that they have pale skin. If the skin is more pale than normal, it means your baby might need warming up. This could also be a sign of hypothermia and you should do what you can to avoid your baby getting to this stage. In this situation, you should wrap them up in a blanket or slowly warm them up.
Being Fussy for No Reason
If you feel your baby is being fussy for no reason, then it there’s a chance they’re cold and it’s worth checking. If this happens, cover the hands and feet first, then wrapping up in a blanket will help.
This situation is related to the brain sending messages to the body when it detects the temperature in the room drop. A part of the brain thalamus controls the temperature of the body. If you see the baby starts sneezing, it is an obvious indication that your baby might be cold. Sneezing can also occur when baby nappies are being changed. At times like this, it is quite normal for sneezing to happen.
Still & Quiet
If your baby appears to be still, quiet and lethargic, then there’s a chance your baby is unwell and feeling the chills. The initial signs of hyperthermia are quite similar. Infants – due to their lower immune system – are more vulnerable at times like this.
Most doctors would suggest that if your baby is quiet and not moving around as usual, then you should not ignore this and should take action. Just take your baby into a warmer room, use this baby snuggle blanket or wrap your baby in a blanket.
Being a mother of a newborn baby or infant, you need to have knowledge about how to keep your baby warm in the winter, especially on cold winter nights.
The right attire is one of the first ways to keep your little one warm and cosy while asleep in winter nights. A baby snuggle blanket or just some extra layers which are easy to put on and remove. The key thing is not to overdo it and put too many layers on, in the form of heavy or cotton clothes, just use thin and light layers. It will help you when changing nappies as there will be fewer clothes to get off your baby. A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby with one extra layer than you require.
The setting of room temperature at the right level is very important during a winter night. Too much temperature can cause your baby uncomfortable and too low temperature can cause him feeling cold. The standard temperature level according to the World Health Organization for infants is 18 – 22 degrees Celsius.
This temperature level is quite normal for babies as it provides enough warmth without being uncomfortable. You can use a room thermometer to check your baby’s room stay cosy, warm and comfortable in winter nights.
Using a Snuggle Blanket or Sleeping Bag:
There are wearable sleeping bags or snuggle blankets for babies that are available in the market. These are specifically designed for babies, so have the right amount of thermal capacity for infants their age. It is necessary to wrap your baby in a thick swaddle or blanket to provide him a cosy, restful, warm and comfortable sleep during cold winter nights. A wearable snuggle blanket is perfect as your baby will not be able to kick the blanket off if you have an energetic one.
Use a Firm Mattress
A firm mattress is necessary to provide insulation between the human body and the colder ground. The mattress should be made of medium-firm/firm foam and covered with a waterproof bed sheet. A mattress that is too soft can be risky to have a baby lie on. Firm mattresses also give a good amount of ventilation and the cold air can also get into the air pockets of a soft mattress, making it colder. For a baby, it is better to choose the firm mattress instead of a soft one.
Baby pyjamas are thick enough to help keep your baby asleep irrespective of room temperature. Your baby will also be able to do any spontaneous moves in these pyjamas as come to mind. It is also helpful if you need to do a nappy change in the middle of the night. This thick baby jumpsuit is also a decent option to own, if you plan on going out with your baby and the weather outside is not great.
Cover your Baby’s Head and Hands
These are the two points other than the feet from where heat escapes. So it is important to cover your baby’s hands and head. You can use a soft cap and lightweight but warmth mittens for the head and hands. It will provide an extra layer of warmth and your baby would not lose too much heat from head and hands. Use an extra pair of mittens if your baby is a natural thumb sucker.
Using a Cotton Flannel Sheet
The cotton flannel sheet has two great qualities of breathable and tight-fitting. This cotton sheet can provide a soft and warm hug to your baby while asleep. People rarely use this sheet and they are unaware of its benefits for baby in winter, plus it is a relatively inexpensive option.
Wet nappies may make your baby feel cold or if the nappy is loose at the thigh or waist it may let the cold air in. Changing nappies often on a cold night not only keeps your baby’s skin healthy and safe but also keeps your baby toasty and warm.
Preheating the Crib before Putting the Baby:
To provide a warm and cosy sleeping space to your baby in a frosty and freezing night, preheating the crib is is an option worth considering prior to putting your baby into it. For this purpose, you can use a hot water bottle or a heating pad to make the crib warmer enough for your baby.
You should do this about 30 minutes before you put your little one into the crib for sleeping. For safety, remove the bottle or heating pad before you put your baby into the crib. This safety is to avoid the risk of overheating or burning.
Position of the Crib in the Room
The comfort zone of your baby also depends on the position of the crib of your baby in the room. just keep any wind or draught away from baby. Place the crib away from the air vents, windows, doors, fans or outside walls. Keep all the windows closed, as well as any air vents in your home.
Every new parent needs to learn a lot of new things about their newborn baby. With time, you learn the cues of your baby and the most important thing is to learn how you can keep your baby comfortable. Taking care of your baby’s comfort is the priority, especially on cold winter days.
Infants and babies are not able to regulate their body temperature according to weather like adults. They need external support from their parents. Their body defence system is weak as compared to adults. So, your baby needs extra care and it is more important in the winter while asleep.