Inside: When it’s baby’s first winter it’s important to take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and healthy baby. Get tips to prepare your baby and prevent serious illnesses like RSV that comes with the change of seasons.
This post was sponsored as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Tips for Surviving Baby’s First Winter
Protecting against sickness and germs
When it comes to getting baby ready for winter, one of the biggest concerns parents have is protecting their child from all the germs and illnesses that tend to be signature of this time of year.
Cold and flu viruses are in full swing. And babies under the age of two are still building up their immunities to fight off these infections. So getting a little cold can turn into a BIG deal.
In fact, if your child hasn’t been affected yet, you’ll soon discover a friend or family member who has been. Because the rate of infection is high for the common cold; and it can pose serious health issues like respiratory syncytial or RSV for premature babies.
What is RSV?
Although it is common, RSV is also a very contagious seasonal virus that affects approximately 100% of babies by the age of two. It runs rampant from November through March.
If you have kids, you will notice that it’s almost impossible to keep them from avoiding the common cold. Kids touch things, often dirty things, and can spread germs quite easily. So it’s no surprise virtually all will contract a form of RSV. Usually it’s a mild respiratory infection that presents itself as the cold or flu. However, for premature babies or babies more susceptible to infection the virus can develop into a much more serious infection.
Top symptoms include coughing, incessant wheezing, fast and troubled breathing, lethargy, and even a bluish color or high fever (for infants under the age of 3 months fever over 100.4 is serious).
Trust me, no parent wants to see their baby get to this level especially since there are no current treatment options available for the virus. Once it’s contracted you just have to let it take it’s course.
That’s why prevention is of utmost importance.
Last winter, my youngest was breathing heavily and wheezing a bit so I took him to the doctor for what I thought would just be a routine checkup for a cough. To my surprise, I was told to head over to the ER where they could better monitor his breathing with a nebulizer, because he was suffering from RSV.
It was so heart-wrenching to hear him struggle to breath each night, I had to monitor him closely for several weeks.
Tips for preventing RSV
To prevent your babies from getting RSV here are some recommended tips:
- Ask guests to wash their hands when interacting with baby
- Wash sheets, blankets and toys frequently
- Keep baby away from people who are sick and away from large crowds
If you believe your child is at high-risk for RSV due to being born premature or suffering from other illnesses that could exacerbate the situation, check with you pediatrician early. Because prevention is KEY.
Learn more about preventing RSV HERE.
Below I’ve highlighted some additional ways parents can survive the winter with a baby in the house once health is covered!
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As I mentioned, preventing sicknesses (such as severe RSV) and keeping baby healthy is the goal. But when baby does get sick, having a few essentials handy can help you get through a little quicker.
Prepare a “winter ready” basket in baby’s room so you know exactly where to look when baby does come down with something. Your basket should include things to clear nasal passages, like a baby aspirator, saline drops and even some baby-safe vapor rub. I’ve used this one for my kids and also always had a warm-mist humidifier ready to go when they came down with croups cough. Trust me, you need to have things in house when the time comes because running to the nearest convenience store isn’t very convenient when you have a sick kid!
Staying warm outdoors
After a healthy baby, the first thing that tends to come to mind when preparing for winter is the obvious cold weather that starts November through March. We want our little bundles of joy to be cozy and warm, whether out for a quick errand or during longer outdoor play times.
To ensure baby is properly dressed for comfort, think in terms of layers. My pediatrician would always recommend we dress baby in one more layer then what I was wearing.
But you can modify that as needed for the specific day. For example, if it’s windy or snowing outdoors make sure baby has a warm coat on, cover over his head and mittens if needed.
I remember countless times as a new mom, forgetting to cover baby’s little head or using a coat with hood that seemed sufficient at first…but wouldn’t stay put. Using a knit hat or cap under the hood is a MUCH better and sanity-saving solution.
Staying warm in the crib
When it’s cold indoors at bedtime, it’s important to find a safe way to keep baby warm in the crib. For babies one and under, blankets are not typically recommended due to the risk of suffocation. If you’ve ever had that heart-dropping feeling when finding a blanket over your baby’s face, you’ll know to play it safe.
Some better alternatives I’ve found with my children include:
Fleece one-piece pajamas
Dressing in layers
Turning the heat up
Staying warm in the car
This is another major issue first-time parents face come winter: how to keep their baby warm in the car without jeopardizing their safety. Most of us transfer baby from house to car in a winter coat, but when we buckle them in that same coat, we put baby at risk because a puffy jacket under a car seat buckle can interfere with harness effectiveness. The best alternative to this is transferring baby with a blanket or simply removing the coat once in the car. You can learn more about that here.
Addressing skin concerns
Parents may also want to keep an eye on baby’s delicate skin during the harsh winter weather. My kids were always prone to eczema and dry skin during the winter months. This was especially true if they were bathed frequently. Moisturizing their sensitive skin with all natural baby lotions and creams was essential to provide more softness and supple texture. This has been my go-to baby ointment for years!
Remember, as you prepare for the normal things like keeping your baby warm and protecting their delicate skin during the cold winter months, make it a priority to prevent RSV and protect those little lungs.