New Parent Winter Survival Tips
Congratulations! It's your first winter as a new parent in snowy, cold New England. Whether your baby is brand new or nearing their first birthday here are some tips to enjoy the icy winter and not get stuck in the snow:
1. Get good at wearing that baby!
Even the best stroller is no match for tall, icy snow mounds left behind by plows. No matter the size of your little one there is a baby carrier that is comfortable for both of you. Wearing your baby (especially wrapping both of you in the same coat) and ditching the stroller will ensure you don't get stuck on an icy street corner and actually keeps tiny babies far warmer than the stroller and bunting. Need help finding a carrier that works for both of you? Check out Bay State Babywearers for a local meet-up or come check out our new moms' group and we can talk you through all the pros and cons of each type of carrier and be sure you are wearing yours comfortably.
2. Find something cozy and indoors that is baby and parent friendly.
There is no reason to stay inside alone with a little one. From baby movies, new parents' groups, museums, and coffee shops there are places all over Boston perfect for staying warm and socializing. My favorite tip: any movie during the middle of a weekday is typically so empty any young baby won't bother the one or two other people in the theater. And older kids love music classes and indoor play spaces (where parents are also just hoping to talk to other adults).
3. Beware of over-bundling babies in car seats.
Many new parents don't realize the danger of putting a baby with a thick coat or bunting into a car seat. Any thick clothing that goes between a baby and the car seat back or straps can compress in an accident, making the straps loose and potentially ejecting the baby from the seat. Don't believe me? Try strapping your baby into the seat with the bunting, then take the bunting off and try again, you'll quickly see how loose the straps are. Easy fix? Use a hat, gloves and a warm blanket on top of the baby to keep them warm. That way you can take the blanket off when you get inside so they don't get overheated.
4. Make your home an indoor baby oasis.
There is nothing harder than being stuck inside with an active older infant and a home that can't handle a baby moving around. Find a spot that is self-contained (use a gate or baby fence if you have to) and make it totally safe for baby to roll around, crawl around and explore. I recommend a soft mat or rug, a low, soft piece of furniture, some board books and rattles and stacking cups. Don't forget to put on some fun music both of you will enjoy (children's music not required).
5. Don't forget your flu and TDaP vaccines!
As healthcare providers we know that the winter brings lots of illness. While mild illnesses can be a pain the Flu and Pertussis are two illnesses that tend to increase in the winter and can be devastating for a young child. Everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine, encouraging people around your family to be vaccinated helps protect everyone. And everyone around a new baby should have an updated TDaP vaccine, while infants get their first pertussis vaccine at 2 months old. Don't forget, the first year a child gets the Flu vaccine they needs two doses 1 month apart. Need to get vaccinated? Make an appointment in Pediatrics, Adult Medicine or Family Medicine-we have same day appointments every day!