Agħfas hawn biex taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti
During the winter period, parents are often unsure about the amount of layers their babies and young children need to keep warm. FRANICA PULIS spoke to a midwife to find out how best to dress newborns and babies, depending on the situation
For such a warm country, as soon as we feel a bit of a breeze, we tend to bring out our jackets and quilts. But how many clothes should babies wear and how can we know if they are wearing too much or too little?
One has to keep in mind that babies will cry when they feel uncomfortable and usually they cry out more when they feel hot rather than cold. In addition overdressing children can have worse consequences than under-dressing them, especially since our winters are not extraordinarily cold.
Too much heat can lead to heat stress which may cause cot death. Babies can become dehydrated and their sugar levels may drop substantially
“When babies are too hot their necks are covered in sweat and their cheeks get red. Too much heat can lead to heat stress which may cause cot death. Babies can become dehydrated and their sugar levels may drop substantially,” explained the midwife.
She added that even though it is true that babies should be dressed in an additional layer of clothes, when compared to us adults, “by that extra layer we are referring to the blanket that we use to cover babies”. If they are older and active or move a lot, use an extra layer of clothing such as a fleecy onesie instead of the blanket so they can move freely.
With regards the baby cap, the midwife emphasized that this must be worn at least for the first month, always depending on the weather and how warm it is. “If it is warm don’t put it on the baby, but if you have the AC on inside, put it on. If it’s winter, keep putting it on every time you take out the baby,” said the midwife. This applies when babies are awake not when they are asleep, it is recommended that babies’ heads must remain uncovered while they’re asleep.
Babies lose heat mainly from their heads, which is why caps should be kept on in cold weather when the baby is awake. Indoors, where the temperature can be controlled, it’s important to keep the baby’s head uncovered to avoid overheating
The midwife added that when babies feel cold, their hands will be very cold and when you check their temperature it will be low. They will probably also cry because they are uncomfortable. If you pick them up, they will calm down because of your body warmth and then cry again as soon as you put them down in the cot. Here the probability is that they are cold.
A GUIDELINE FOR CLOTHES
It is better if you dress the baby with layers of clothing rather than just one very warm onesie which might to be too much for a warm place. A warm blanket might be the most practical solution in this case.
Babies in hospital
It is recommended that newborns wear a vest with long sleeves, socks, mittens, a baby-grow, a cap and a blanket. Usually mittens are difficult to keep in place. Long socks might be a better solution or else baby-grows with built-in mittens which cover the hands completely. The hands can be uncovered when needed.
Babies’ first month
A comfortable tracksuit on top of a long-sleeved vest and a cap. If you are not using a fleecy onesie on top of everything, make sure to put on warm trousers and booties on top of the socks or else use a pair of tights underneath light trousers. Make sure to cover the baby with an extra jacket or warm zipper. Cover the baby with a blanket or footmuff.
For the night:
Ideally babies are dressed lightly in a vest with long sleeves and a babygrow with integrated mittens and put in a sleeping bag so they remain covered and do not risk covering their faces with the blanket. Ideally the linen is made of cotton to avoid allergies. Babies covered with a blanket should be kept at the bottom of the cot and the blanket should be wrapped well below the mattress.