by Tia

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, explores five tips for establishing healthy routines for babies in winter.

“Caring for a baby is a full-time job, regardless of the season. However, winter can add extra stress for parents and their little ones,” says Murray Hewlett. 

“Establishing a few simple routines into daily life can help families of babies enjoy the colder season with fewer disruptions.” 

1. Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Transitioning to shorter days and longer nights during winter can disrupt your baby’s internal clock, potentially causing challenges like difficulty settling down, irregular sleep schedules, or frequent nighttime awakenings.  

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can physically and mentally prepare your baby for sleep, signalling to their body that it’s time to rest and facilitating a smoother transition into sleep.

Remember to keep your baby’s nursery at a comfortable temperature, around 20-22 degrees Celsius, and minimise the risks associated with heavy winter bedding by using a sleep sack or cotton swaddle to keep your baby warm.

2. Keep The Air Humid

Winter often ushers in challenges like dry skin, increased viral infections, and congested nasal passages. Introducing a humidifier into your baby’s room can boost the moisture content of the air, preventing your baby’s mucous membranes in their nose and throat from drying out.  

Humidifiers are also effective in preventing dry skin and managing eczema. A bonus? The white noise produced by many humidifiers can be soothing for some babies, helping them sleep more soundly.

3. Protect Against Seasonal Illnesses

Winter is often dubbed the cold and flu season for good reason. Babies, whose immune systems are still developing, are at significantly higher risk of catching the common cold—or worse, the flu.

Maintaining excellent hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infections.

Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after handling your baby or their items, such as bottles, toys, and pacifiers. If soap and water are not readily available, using a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol can be an excellent alternative to eliminate germs.

Minimise your baby’s exposure to crowded places where germs spread more quickly. When outings are necessary, try to keep your baby’s interactions with other people to a minimum and avoid anyone who is visibly sick. 

Ensure that your baby receives all the recommended vaccinations on schedule.5 This includes vaccines for influenza, which can be administered annually for babies older than six months to protect against the flu, and others like the RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and pneumococcal vaccine, which safeguard against severe respiratory and bacterial infections.

4. Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces

Babies are eager to explore the world around them, frequently coming into contact with various objects. It’s essential to ensure your baby’s environment is clean and germ-free.

Regularly sanitise items such as cribs, strollers, walkers, and toys. Use child-safe disinfectants or a simple solution of soap and water, followed by air-drying.

5. Spend Some Time Outdoors

While it’s beneficial to stay indoors when it’s very cold, it’s also important to remember that babies still need fresh air and a change of environment, even in winter. Whenever possible, dress your baby warmly and take them outside for short periods. 

Fresh air can help regulate sleep patterns, provide stimulation from a new environment, and reduce cabin fever. Walks in a stroller or simply playing in a safe, enclosed outdoor space can offer physical benefits and sensory experiences different from those found indoors.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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