Baby, it’s cold outside. Keeping my little ones happy, healthy and warm in the colder months is not always easy, even in California (hey, San Francisco is surprisingly chilly in the winter — and all year ‘round, really!). My instinct is to bundle up my two boys, Ansel (two years) and Austin (six months), like crazy, but that’s not always the best solution. It turns out, there are a few essential tips and tricks to keep my kids content without the fuss. I teamed up with JOHNSON’S® to share 10 smart tips every mama (and dada) should have up their sweater sleeves for those blustery winter days, whether they involve snow, fog or just a super chilly gust of wind. Let’s get to it!
1. Be smart about layers. The last thing you want is for your kiddo to get tangled up and flustered in winter clothing (I’m lookin’ at you, endlessly long scarves) — or worse, for him or her to impulsively discard those hats and gloves the *one* second you’re not looking. Pack a thick jacket as necessary, but dress your baby in layers to reduce overheating. Oh — and be sure to stock up on cozy socks!
2. Introduce baby to winter weather. Chances are, your kiddo will be downright delighted by snow if you introduce it to him or her in a smart way. The first time we brought Ansel to Jackson Hole (our go-to winter destination — the skiing is amazing!), we bundled him in a snowsuit onesie, mittens and a hat and sat him straight in the snow to let him check it out. He adored it! This was also key in helping him understand the difference between hot and cold — which later helped in the uphill battle of asking him to keep his mittens on ;)
3. Add winter essentials to your diaper bag. Along with the necessary diapers et al., toss in an extra sweater, a cozy blanket and those smart winter layers I just mentioned up above ;) I’m also careful to *always* have a reserve of DESITIN® Rapid Relief Cream, which is especially key in wintertime. It keeps my little guys protected and dry so they can enjoy playing outdoors and I can have peace of mind. It’s a major lifesaver.
4. Deck out your stroller with winter gear. Speaking of smart winter accessories, I highly suggest investing in a stroller sleeping bag! They’re super easy to install and, best of all, are kick-proof :) That, plus a stroller cover to help protect your little one from the wind, will make the stroller a cozy mobile nap-zone.
5. Keep the kiddos moisturized. In the winter months, I’m especially reliant on JOHNSON’S® HEAD-TO-TOE® extra moisturizing baby wash and JOHNSON’S® HEAD-TO-TOE® extra moisturizing baby cream. Your baby’s skin loses moisture twice as fast as yours, so Ansel and Austin are more prone to dry skin than I am. These products do wonders for both of my sons, and they’re near miracle-workers on those extra-chappy days.
6. Try this Scandinavian parenting technique. In Denmark, mothers often have their babies nap outside in the stroller. Turns out, the cold air actually helps the little ones sleep. Next time you’re going for a run in the brisk weather, bundle baby up in a stroller and take your little one with you!
7. Keep the house well-stocked with indoor activities. Indoor days are inevitable when weather takes a turn for the worse. I like to have a constant stash of toys, books and games for these house-ridden days. Pro Tip: Consider at least one activity that involves getting the wiggles out! Just because they can’t run around outside doesn’t mean they won’t *want* to. Hide and seek, indoor treasure hunts and impromptu dance breaks are my go-to solutions when Ansel and Austin won’t sit still.
8. Brush up on fireplace safety tips. Let’s get serious for a sec — along with installing the very necessary baby gate and kid-proofing the hearth, read up on the dangers of carbon monoxide. Burning coal and wood give off carbon monoxide, and if your fireplace isn’t adequately clean and vented, dangerous levels of the gas can fill the room and put your children (and yourself!) at risk. So be sure to keep that fireplace well-ventilated — and those carbon monoxide alarm batteries fresh — all winter long.
9. Try baby-friendly puréed soup. If your little one is still at the baby food stage, switch up the go-to pea purée for a warm (but not too warm!) puréed soup. Austin, my youngest, just started eating solids and adores puréed broccoli soup. Bonus: It’s equally yummy to us parents too :)
10. Use hand warmers under baby blankets. This tip is especially beneficial for infants at the swaddle stage. For added warmth, tuck hand warmers throughout the layers of the swaddle blanket. We also love to preheat the crib with a hot water bottle or heating pad, removing it before we tuck away our boys for the night.
My husband, Dave, and I are *always* looking for more tips and tricks to keep our little ones happy and healthy, and these 10 hacks have done wonders for our boys in the colder months. Have any additional tips for keeping your kiddos happy in the winter? Share with me on Twitter @brit!
Styling: Maddie Bachelder + Chris Andre
Photography: Chris Andre