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The cold air and circulating germs of winter can bring fear to a parent’s heart. How do you keep baby well as the temperatures drop and you spend more time indoors?
There is no way to guarantee that your baby will not get sick in the winter months, but there are some steps you can take to cut down on the chances and keep baby’s immunity up.
Winter Wellness Tips
Wash Hands Regularly: You and Baby
Regular hand washing is the simplest, most effective way to get rid of cold and flu germs. So wash your hands after you change your baby’s diaper and wipe his runny nose, as well as before preparing food.
Wash your baby’s hands frequently, too — especially before eating (once he’s eating solids) and when he comes home from daycare or an outing.
Also be diligent about hand washing for siblings, especially if they’re sick as well. No need to pay extra for fancy antibacterial soaps — any soap will remove germs from the skin’s surface.
Make sure all of your baby’s caregivers are vigilant about hand washing, too. If your baby’s in daycare, ask what the official hand-washing policy is. If it’s less than satisfactory, don’t be shy about requesting a change and reminding caregivers that this protects their health as well. ~BabyCenter
Keep Baby Warm, But Don’t Overdo It
Loose blankets increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which means that moms in northern latitudes are challenged with how to keep their sleeping babies toasty. First, dress your tot in a warm all-in-one and light cotton cap. Then, swaddle him tightly in a light blanket or use a sleep sack (it’s like a sleeping bag with armholes).
It’s best to keep the nursery at a temperature that’s comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. This may require leaving your thermostat a smidge higher than usual at night. What about simply using a space heater? Stephen Hersey, M.D., staff physician in the section of ambulatory pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, warns against it. “The heater could tip over and the room could go up in flames, or the baby could touch it and end up with serious burns.” Better to caulk or weather-strip windows or add insulating curtains or shades.
Don’t overcompensate and crank up the temp too high or put him in too many layers — being overheated ups the risk for SIDS. Check on your baby once he’s asleep: If he’s sweaty, flushed, or breathing rapidly, turn down the heat or remove his swaddle or cap. ~Parents
Keep Baby’s Nose Clean and Clear
Believe it or not, keeping a baby’s nose clear is one of the biggest ways you can prevent colds from taking hold. “Babies are obligate nose breathers”, says Dr. Hana Solomon, “so in order for them to eat well, sleep well and grow, they require a clean and healthy nose.” ~SheKnows
Limit Possible Exposure
Ask family and friends not to visit in those first early weeks if they are sick.
It may seem like just a little cold to them, but a fever in an infant under 30 days old can mean a visit to the ER. No one wants to be the cause of that!
Try to limit taking your young infant into crowded public places where he or she may be exposed to all kinds of viruses, especially the respiratory viruses.
Even the most well-meaning person may forget that she just coughed into her hand when she sees your tiny baby’s little fist waving from the stroller! When you do have to be in a crowded store or school cafeteria, keep baby close to you or maybe a blanket shadowing the stroller so fewer strangers are tempted to touch or kiss your little one. ~adclinic