By Jill Tomlin
Newborn babies need to be kept warm. That's why your baby was bundled up in a receiving blanket in the hospital nursery. Your baby doesn't have the ability to adjust her body temperature the way you do, so it's up to you to keep her at the right temperature.
Here are some tips for keeping your baby at the right temperature:
Use your own outfit as a guide. Many doctors will tell you to dress your baby as you are dressed plus one thin layer. If you're wearing a T-shirt and jeans on a nice warm day, then baby will be comfortable if she is similarly covered, perhaps with an added undershirt. If you need a sweater, so will your baby.
Keep your home temperature at 68 to 70 degrees F. That's a comfortable temperature which won't require your baby to be bundled up all the time.
Avoid drafts. Don't place your baby near the draft of an open window, open door, or in front of a hot- or cold-air register that blows air. Even ceiling fans can create a breeze that's too cool.
Go for the layered look. Use undershirts and easy-to-remove tops to layer clothing for warmth.
Put a hat on baby. Keep your baby's head covered in cold weather and when her hair is wet.
Don't overdo it. Babies need to be warm, but not hot. If your baby feels too warm, remove a layer of clothing.
Dressing your baby for a trip outdoors
When you're taking your baby outdoors for a walk, a trip to a relatives, or a quick run to the grocery store, here's how to keep her comfortable:
Dress your baby appropriately for the outdoor temperature.
In cold weather, always cover baby's feet, hands, and head.
In warm weather, you don't need to keep booties on your baby.
For car trips on cold days, warm up the car first before loading your baby inside.
The nurses at the hospital will show you how to properly bundle your baby. The standard method is a lot like making an open-topped burrito. Be careful not to bundle her too tightly and pay close attention to how her arms are positioned. Once she can roll around on her own, she'll want to be bundled less.
For car trips on warm days, you should shield your baby from hot direct sunlight by using a blanket in the window or a shade made especially for car windows.
Topeka, Kansas native Jill Tomlin writes about health issues for Your Baby Today. Her work appears in national publications.
The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.