Keeping Baby Warm This Winter

If you have a newborn, or recent-born baby, or are preparing for birth in the coming months, then keeping him or her warm is going to be imperative in the colder months that are fast approaching.


The challenge, of course, is that babies can’t tell you if they are too hot or too cold, and unfortunately, babies can’t regulate their body temperature as well as adults, or children, in part this is due to the fact their bodies have more surface area (in accordance with weight ratio) which causes quicker heat loss.


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The other challenge, from a physiological perspective is that babies don’t have as much body fat, as adults, which is what we use to insulate our bodies.  This is even more the case when it comes to poorly babies, or premature babies, as the little fat they have is often consumed in the process of keeping healthy.


Therefore, the importance of keeping your baby warm, is imperative to the health and comfort of your newborn child.  It’s also essential to ensuring they, and you, get a good night’s sleep.


There are all sorts of inventions to help keep your baby warm, but often, it just comes down to common sense, for instance, if your baby is with you in a room for a long period of time, it might be worth closing the window shutters in order to keep the heat in.


That said, there’s a misconception that babies can never be too warm, which is not true – just like adults, if your baby gets too warm, and is too ‘wrapped up’ they will  become agitated and uncomfortable. They can also overheat.


The balance, therefore, tends to be found in layers of clothing and layers of blankets – as this way, you can help them maintain an ideal balance with regard to their core body temperature.  


The risk is that if your baby gets too cold, they have to expend a lot of energy to stay warm – for instance, if a baby’s core body temperature drops one degree below what it should be, the baby will use 10 percent more oxygen.


The greatest risk, is when your baby is wet, so after a little bath they should be dried immediately and given skin-to-skin contact.  If your baby is poorly, then they will be kept warm in an incubator or an open bed with a radiant warmer, which intelligently adjusts the heat according to the body temperature it senses.


In terms of clothing, a little hat can be helpful, as babies tend to lose large amounts of heat through their heads.


If you’re not sure whether your baby is too hot or too cold, one of the best things you can do is check whether the baby’s hand feels cold or whether the skin is blotchy; the blotchiness indicates a core temperature being too low as it is a visual sign linked with circulation.  


The fundamental challenge, of course, is that babies can’t tell you if they are too hot or cold – which means you need to keep this in constant check.


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