A blog by Dr Lin Day

GUEST POST - Baby, it’s cold outside!

January has a lot to answer for – the post-Christmas blues, Dry January madness, wobbly bellies that can no longer be excused for ‘mum tums’ thanks to all those Quality Streets, and people going on a diet everywhere you turn. There’s also something else that’s very miserable about January. The weather.


While I’d normally avoid the bitter winds and nasty rain by staying indoors, it’s a different story when you’ve got a baby. Try as you might not to leave the house, it is totally unavoidable… with the freezing weather bringing even more challenges when it comes to motherhood. Thanks, btw.


- Facing the frost


I remember in the hazy first few months of Moo’s* life I spent all the time walking around. I must’ve trampled miles every day, with my worn-out legs going for hours in an attempt to get her to nap.


To be fair, it was probably really good for me – exercise and fresh air and all that. But boy am I glad a lot of time spent outside was when the frost was beginning to thaw and spring was coming to life.


Having said that, Moo was a February baby so, like every winter mum knows, there were many days braving the freezing chills to take her for a walk so she’d sleep. In fact, you’d recognise other mums on their own little ambles around the area, wrapped head to toe in thermals and a snood so far up their face, you can only see their eyes.


Sometimes the struggle to get out of the house at the crack of dawn when it was icy outside was enough to convince you to stay in instead – but then when those tired screams start and there’s no way they’re going to nap in their moses basket / swing / bouncer / sling / lying on your arm like a damn tiger, that’s when you deeply regret your decision to choose warmth over walking.


- Wrapping up


There are so many guidelines when it comes to wrapping your baby that when we first took Moo out, we were at a complete loss. Presented with vests (both short and long-sleeved), sleepsuits, mittens, cardigans, snowsuits, hats and blankets, we didn’t know if we should just pile them all on or if this would cause her to overheat, which is really dangerous for a newborn.


As someone who always feels the cold, I favoured the layer-on approach, whereas my husband – who can happily wear shorts in October – was the opposite. Eventually, we worked out what was right for our little angel – and as long as she slept snugly in her carrycot, we were all happy.


- Getting ready to go out


Getting ready to leave the house has always been a challenge, although a constantly changing one. At the beginning, there were the “let’s get out of the house to stop her crying even though we haven’t showered or eaten yet” conversations, then it involved trying to squeeze her into a snowsuit when she just wanted to roll around, and now it is a game of chasing my almost two-year-old around the house while bargaining with her to put on her shoes, coat, gloves and hat.


As a summer girl, I hate all the paraphernalia that comes with dressing for winter and can’t wait till I can shove all the hats, coats, gloves, scarfs and wellies away for the year, but it’s even worse when you’ve got a baby.


Not only do you need to add extra time when leaving the house, you have to constantly undress when you arrive anywhere. This is particularly the case when they’re little and you have a relentless fear of not wanting them to overheat, while also not wishing to wake your soundly sleeping baby up.


For me, by the time I’ve wrestled on outerwear for the fourth time that day, it’s time to call it quits and have a cup of tea inside instead – Pa, if only!


- Toddler fun


The only thing more challenging than wrapping up a baby for the winter – with the long frosty walks and endless concerns about temperature control – is dealing with a toddler in the freezing cold weather.


I’ve already mentioned the difficulties of getting ready, but at this stage, you can forget about layering up – she takes it all off when we get out of the house anyway. I assume she takes after her dad when it comes to not feeling the cold.


What’s more, thanks to Peppa Pig, my little girl is a big fan of splashing in muddle puddles, and while I encourage her active and adventurous nature, it doesn’t make it any easier when she then has to spend the day in wet tights.


Only the other day, she got covered head to toe in mud at the park and, even though I should know better by now, I forgot to bring her splash suit or any replacement clothes for her to change into. Doh.


So whether they’re a newborn or an energetic toddler, winter is no easy time for parents. Roll on summer, I say. At least then you only have to remember sun hats, sunglasses, shades, parasols, suncream, aftersun, water, more water….


*Moo is a affectionate nickname of our daughter.