Without doubt winter has arrived in Wanaka, the first of our ski fields in town is opening this weekend and there have been some very frosty and cold mornings recently. It made me think about all of the southern hemisphere babies that have just been born, or are going to be in the next few months. My boys were spring babies and even then you never knew what the weather was going to do, it snowed the night before we brought our oldest home from hospital!
I remember wondering if our baby was warm enough or too warm. I know I wasn't the only new mum asking that question! So I thought I would write down just a couple of helpful hints for other new parents.
As newborn babies are not able to regulate their body temperature in the same way as adults, a good way to check their temperature is to feel the back of their neck with two fingers, it should feel warm (often a baby's hands and feet can feel chilly due to their circulation system still developing, so don't use this as an indication of their temperature).
With the room that baby is sleeping in, keeping it at a constant temperature neither too hot or cold is best, between 16-20 oC, the ideal being 18 oC. Plunket recommends if using a heater, to chose one with a thermostat and leave the door open to air their room.
Did you know? a newborn baby has a large body surface area compared to the weight of their body, that means that they can lose heat quicker than adults and because a newborn’s head is so large compared to the rest of their body, a lot of this heat loss can be through their head.
It is not recommended to use man made fibres, such as polar fleece, synthetic and polyester fibres in clothing or blankets to keep babies warm as they can overheat.
So how does Merino help?
The natural fibres for clothing and bedding for baby are best, as they let the skin breathe, Merino can draw moisture away from baby’s skin so is great as a base layer, it can regulate temperature, keeping the skin warm in winter and also cool in summer. Using a well fitted Merino beanie can reduce heat loss from the head, especially when out in the colder months. By using layers of clothing made from natural fibres means that it is easy to make adjustments if they become too warm or cool. Remember if using blankets make sure they are away from your baby’s face and are tucked tightly into the mattress base so that they can’t come loose.
I hope this has answered a few of your questions and don't forget if you are ever unsure contact your midwife or Plunket nurse for their advice, they are there to help.
Stay snuggly everyone and enjoy warm cuddles with your winter babies!