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Dealing with a baby in the summer months can be tricky. The sun is dangerous but you can’t sunscreen your newborn. The mosquitos are carrying scary viruses but you can’t use chemical bug spray. You take your baby out of the car only to find him red faced and sweaty. So hot. So sticky. And it’s so over. Yay…maybe? Fall is upon us. So we need to work on adjusting to the change of seasons with a newborn.
Sure the hot days are behind us. Right now you can take baby out in cute outfits without worrying about him melting or freezing. But alas, these days are numbered. Cold is a’comin. So let’s get prepared on how to enter into chillier weather so baby is both comfortable, and safe.
Everyone has their own temperature that they’re comfortable at. If the heat is on an ideal temperature range for baby is around 68-72 degrees. Some homes just aren’t built to hold temperatures that high. [And some wallets aren’t built to afford to keep the heat that high.] So if you are keeping your home cooler, make sure baby isn’t being frozen out. A general rule of thumb is dress baby in one light layer more than what you are comfortable in. We lose heat through our heads and feet, so a light cotton hat and warm socks can be an easy addition to any ensemble.
Find a combination of layers that works for your baby. If baby is swaddled this may mean adding another swaddle blanket onto your baby burrito. If baby is out of swaddle there are a variety of safe zippered sleep blankets on the market in a variety of materials. Alternatively, you don’t want the baby to be too hot. SIDS risk is increased when baby is overheated. You’ll have to troubleshoot different combinations of onesies vs footies vs fleece and check your baby’s temperature during the night until you find what works best. Remember some babies just run hotter than others. So what worked for one child, may not work for another.
Okay, so how do you know if baby is too warm or too hot? First look for visual signs. The most obvious being a red cheeked overheated baby or a blue lipped freezing baby. Another way to tell is to feel the ears- they should feel cool or neutral. If the ears are very cold or very hot that’s another way to check a sleeping baby without completely unwrapping her. You can also check the baby’s neck for signs of dampness or sweating. In addition to being safe, baby will sleep better if they are at a comfortable temperature.
This is likely your infant’s first time being exposed to forced hot dry air. And their skin may not be happy about it. Using an oil or clean moisturizer before pajamas can help prevent skin from drying out. Some parents choose to put a thicker barrier cream on baby’s cheeks to help prevent them from chapping. Some babies react to fleece materials- so putting cotton onesies and pants/tights under pajamas can be helpful in preventing this. An additional solution is to use a humidifier in your baby’s room. Just be sure to follow the cleaning instructions as most need to be deep cleaned once a week!
Excuse me while I get on my soapbox. PLEASE do not use any items with your car seat that did not come with your car seat. That really cute sherpa infant bunting that you had custom made on etsy has not been crash tested. Babies using these products have been ejected from their carseats. It’s terrifying, and completely preventable.
Snowsuits are also not appropriate for carseats. Or anything puffy for that matter. An easy safety test- put your baby in their carseat and buckle them snugly. Unbuckle them and remove them without adjusting the straps. Put baby in the jacket/snowsuit that you are testing and put them back into the seat. If you cannot buckle the seat- it’s not safe. Instead- dress your baby in a warm comfortable outfit, with no exposed skin. You can add layers as long as they aren’t bulky compressible materials. You can also tuck a warm blanket around baby- as long as it is OVER the buckled car seat straps and isn’t at risk of covering baby’s face. There are also cap-style car seat covers. With parent discretion, as long as it doesn’t effect the fit an installation of the infant car seat- these are generally recognized as safe by CPSTs. Make sure you’re aware that the temperature in the back of your car may not be the same as where you are in the passenger seat. Just something to be aware of when adjusting to the change of seasons with a newborn.
Last tips on Adjusting to the Change of Seasons with a newborn:
It seems like so much to keep track of. But just like all the summer hooplah, once you’ve figured it out, you’ll be a pro at keeping your baby safe and happy in all temperatures! For tips on transitioning back to the warmth check out our blog here.