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Navigating outdoors with the Newborn (Winter edition)

Walking outside with your newborn can be a great way to get fresh air and bond with your baby, but it's important to take precautions to keep them safe and warm during the winter months.

Benefits of walking outside with newborn in winter

  1. Vitamin D: Sunshine is a major source of Vitamin D, which is essential for us, adults, but also for the baby's bone and immune system development. Even on cloudy days, exposure to natural light can increase the baby's Vitamin D levels. Although we are quite limited in sunlight during the winter months, it's still worth getting outside when it's daylight.

  2. Fresh air: Spending time outside provides the baby with fresh air, which can help to improve their lung function and overall health. It can also help to reduce exposure to indoor pollutants that can be harmful to their health.

  3. Improved sleep: Walking can help to soothe a fussy baby and promote better sleep. The rhythmic motion and fresh air can be calming for the baby and can help them to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.

  4. Exercise: Walking provides gentle exercise for the parent, helping to improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and increase flexibility.

  5. Mental health: Spending time outside can help to reduce stress and improve mental health. The natural beauty and peacefulness of the winter landscape can be a great source of relaxation and peace of mind.

  6. Bonding: Walking with a newborn provides an opportunity for the parent and baby to bond and develop a close relationship.

Drawbacks of walking outside with a newborn in winter

  1. Cold weather: The cold weather can be harsh on a newborn, who has yet to develop a strong immune system. Newborns are susceptible to colds and other respiratory infections, and walking outside in the winter can put them at risk.

  2. Bundling up: Keeping a newborn warm while walking in the winter can be a challenge. The many layers of clothing needed to protect them from the cold can make it difficult to move around freely and comfortably.

  3. Stroller compatibility: Strollers may have trouble navigating snow and ice-covered sidewalks, making it more difficult to take a walk. Additionally, attaching a warm cover to a stroller to protect the baby from the elements can be cumbersome and restrictive.

  4. Limited mobility: Snow and ice can also limit the places you can walk with a stroller, making it difficult to find safe, accessible routes for walking.

Tips on going outside with newborn in winter

Dress your newborn appropriately

When it comes to dressing your newborn for the winter, it's important to dress them in layers.

Start with a thin, long-sleeved onesie or undershirt, followed by a thicker layer like a sweater or fleece suit.

Add a hat, mittens, and socks to keep your baby's extremities warm. Make sure the clothing fits well but is not too tight so that your baby can move and wiggle comfortably. A snowsuit or bunting bag can also be useful for extra warmth. Here is a review of the Travel Bags (Åkpåse) from Bäst i Test. You could have an extra blanket in case you think your baby might get cold.

Check the temperature before going out

Before heading out with your newborn, check the temperature outside. If it's particularly cold, you may want to limit the amount of time you spend outside (for example, Healthline recommends limiting walking outdoors to 15 min if the temperature is lower than -9 C and guide recommends staying indoors with newborn if it is windy and very cold, the definition of very cold is subjective though ).

If you do need to be outside for an extended period, consider using a baby carrier or stroller with a cover to protect your baby from the wind and cold. If you going out with the baby carrier keep in mind the parts of the body that stick out can get quickly cold so might need extra protection. Here I found some really good tips on how to dress, carry and even breastfeed a baby in the carrier during the cold winter months.

Know the signs of hypothermia in newborns

Hypothermia is a serious condition that occurs when a baby's body loses heat faster than it can produce it. Signs of hypothermia in newborns include lethargy, pale or bluish skin, cold hands and feet, and low body temperature. If you suspect your baby has hypothermia, seek medical attention immediately.

Avoid staying outside for too long

In general, it's best to avoid spending extended periods of time outside in the cold with your newborn. If you do need to be outside, keep the time as short as possible and keep your baby covered with warm blankets or a baby carrier or stroller cover.

Tips on going outside with newborn all year round:

  • 🧘 B.R.E.A.T.H.E.: Don't stress too much. It's going to be okay.

Going outside with a newborn can be overwhelming, especially for first-time parents. It's important to remember to take a deep breath and relax.

  • 👚 Always have a spare diaper and a set of clothes. Accidents can happen, and it's best to be prepared.

It's always a good idea to pack a spare set of clothes for your baby, just in case of a diaper leak or spill. Having a spare set of clothes for yourself is also a good idea, as your baby may burp on you unexpectedly.

  • 🧑‍🍼 If you BF/Bottle feed, plan ahead and find a place where you can feed your baby comfortably.

If you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, plan ahead and find a comfortable and private place to feed your baby. Many cafes and restaurants will warm up a bottle or food if needed, so don't hesitate to ask. You can also read more about breastfeeding/bottle-feeding-friendly places in this blog post: Breastfeeding-friendly places in Stockholm.

  • 🤱 Breastfeeding in public spaces is allowed.

Breastfeeding in public spaces is legal and acceptable in many countries, including Sweden. If you feel uncomfortable, you can use a nursing cover or find a private space, such as a mother's room or a changing room (see the link to the blog post above, you can also check Stroll In App to filter venues with dedicated Breastfeeding space).

  • 🎨 You can still enjoy cultural activities, such as visiting museums or galleries, as many are stroller-friendly and have conveniences like changing tables and feeding rooms.

Just because you have a baby doesn't mean you have to give up on cultural activities. Many museums and galleries are stroller-friendly and have convenient amenities, like changing tables and feeding rooms, to make your visit more enjoyable. Stroll In App can help you find places around Stockholm that have such conveniences as Changing Table, Microvawe and Feeding Room and more.

  • 👐 You can find friendly and compassionate people at Open Preschool.

Open Preschool is a network of public spaces where you can find supportive and understanding educators who are happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. There are also various activities hosted on regular basis, including, but not limited to Singing time, Drawing, Reading, etc. You can check Stockholm Stad Website to find more information about Open Preschools. Stroll In website also has a Calendar section where you can filter events by age and find suitable activities.

  • 🙏 Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Going outside with a newborn can be challenging, and it's okay to ask for help. Don't hesitate to ask a friend, family member, or passerby for assistance. Although it does seem sometimes (to me at least) that people are cold and unfriendly in Stockholm, it is unlikely they will decline offering to help you if you ask for it.

  • 🍌 Bring extra snacks for yourself or your baby.

It's always a good idea to bring extra snacks, whether for yourself or your baby. You never know when hunger strikes and how far away will you be from the nearest cafe or restaurant. Extra snacks will help keep your energy levels up and ensure that you have something to munch on if you need it.

  • 🫶 Plan the entertainment for yourself.

Most likely, the newborn will be blissfully sleeping during the outside walk. This is the perfect opportunity to have a little bit of "me-time". You could catch up on some reading (or audiobook listening), listen to a walking meditation or get a hot beverage. If the weather and your physical condition, and your energy levels permit you could take a long walk around Stockholm. Book "Kul på Hjul" has a number of great itineraries.

  • 🏆 Remember, you are doing great!

Finally, remember that you are doing a great job. Whether you're a first-time parent or a seasoned pro, taking care of a newborn can be challenging. I hope the tips presented in this blog post can make your outing as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

Do you have more tips? Do not hesitate to share in the comments below!

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