If you just love the outdoors and can’t wait to get fall hiking or winter snowshoeing or cross country skiing, go for it!… and take your babies with you. However, to be sure that you all have a great experience it is extremely important to take your little ones outside in a way that keeps them (and you) safe and warm. First of all, if you are hiking and it’s wet or icy, you need to have good, safe non-slip footwear so you are steady on your feet. Whatever activity you choose, be sure you are comfortably warm enough to be focused on what you are doing.
In terms of keeping your baby warm, here are some suggestions:
● If you are active and moving with your baby in the cold, you must remember that while you are getting warmer by the minute as you move along, your baby is actually stationary and being propelled through space (albeit in a carrier or stroller). He or she is therefore getting colder as you get warmer. So it is essential that you dress your baby with this in mind.
● As with adults, layering is the most effective warmth preserver for babies. The number of layers you need depends, of course, on how cold it is. Use your common sense. Babies do not have the temperature regulating capacity that we have. we have to keep them warm!
● Here is a layering system used by many active parents who spend lots of time outdoors.
● Begin with a base layer such as merino wool. Wool has many wonderful features that naturally keep babies warm and comfortable
● Your base layer should include coverings from head to toe;
○ a close fitting balaclava or wool beanie style head covering,
● All of these are available in merino wool
● Follow with a one piece footed sleeper
● Follow with either
○ a fleece bunting bag or
○ a down bunting suit or
○ an all in one layered waterproof snowsuit. The warmth of a snowsuit is not determined by its thickness. Bulk does not equal warmth. The quality and technical capacity of the materials is more important.
● If you use a fleece or down bunting suit, cover it with a windproof, seam sealed waterproof outer shell.
If you are using down, this is only necessary in wet snow or rain, as down is water repellent, not waterproof.
● Keep your baby’s hands and feet extra warm. For hands, have a base layer mitt followed by a good quality waterproof, fingerless mitt or a snowsuit hand cover.
● Top your baby off with a warm waterproof hat or well insulated hood attached to a one piece snowsuit. Remember to have that close fitting base layer hat or balaclava under this layer.
Sounds kind of complex, but once you get used to layering your baby you will find the combinations of layers that work for each temperature and condition.
When you are out in the cold with your baby be sure to check regularly to see if his or her extremities are still warm. They can’t tell you if they are cold. It’s up to you to make sure they are ok !!!! Some babies cry when they are too cold. Others get very quiet.
Fresh air and exercise are wonderful for everyone, Most babies delight in being outside. Parents who take their babies outdoors with them in the winter have wonderful memories of smiles, giggles and squeals of delight. With the right attention to safety and warmth you too can build those memories for your family.