Winter Wear and Carseats

If you are living somewhere with four seasons, one of them a lengthy winter, you know that when winter really hits and you are facing temperatures as low as -40 Celsius, you know there is nothing more important than bundling your little one. However, if you’ve taken a moment to read through your car seat manual, you know you’re not supposed to put your child in the car seat in their winter jackets or snow gear as most manuals say it impairs the effectiveness of the belts.

So what to do?

Last winter we were mostly in the infant seat and my daughter was small enough to wear a coverall Sherpa suit which was lightweight. The infant seat is a blessing in so many ways because you can use the winter covers, your baby never leaves the seat outside and the click-in base means you can completely cover them and not have to worry about a thing. Once you switch to a convertible seat, things become a little more tricky.

Here in Canada, our winters can get intense. This means that our little ones need to be wearing something to get them from the house to the car that is warm and can fend off those frigid winds. My first choice, of course, was another Sherpa coverall, but it seems like they only make them to the 9-month sizes then they switch to jacket styles. Winters here typically mean thick winter jackets, hats, scarves, mittens, snow pants, and heavy-duty boots for our kids, add in a car seat and even if you decide to disregard the manual, it can be hard to get all that bulk in those belts.

Insert dramatic eye roll and sigh here.

Did I mention how easy last winter was?

After searching for the coverall Sherpa suits with no luck, I was out shopping and came across the character onesies.

As most parents know, these things are warm. Really warm. Too warm to even sleep in despite the fact they are sold as PJs. Most of our kids will wear these around the house, happy to be a shark, unicorn, cat, monkey, even dinosaur, but when they are tucked into bed they complain they are too hot and it gets stripped right off.

That got me thinking.

Are these onesies really that much thicker than the Sherpa suits?

Not by much.

I had finally found a warm, and cute solution. So long as my plans for the day mostly involve my toddler being in the car and stroller (it’s definitely not warm enough to play outside in) that was warm and cute. We bought her a handful of these PJs and would put them over her clothes for outdoor wear.

Sometimes being a parent means you have to use a little creativity to find solutions. She still, of course, has her heavy-duty snowsuit for days she wants to play in the snow, but for the most part, my one-year-old will be snug as a bug in a car seat in her PJ onesies.

Cold Weather and Your Child

For any moms that live somewhere that has four seasons (or at least rumours having four distinct seasons) you’ve likely said your goodbyes to summer come September and should be enjoying the wonders of Autumn/Fall. Here in Toronto, Fall has felt short-lived. Sure, our leaves are still changing colours, the pumpkins and other gourds were out and we are surrounded by Pumpkin Spice everything, but the cold has crept in quickly. I know a lot of people who have been wearing their winter coats for the past two months and will likely, keep them on until May.

As parents, we find this in-between season a struggle when it comes to dressing our little ones. Although a lot of days at hitting between 1-12 degrees Celsius, there are those random days that will surprise us with a little more sun and a little more heat. Is it time for our little ones to don their hats and scarves, to keep their little fingers covered?

My opinion on this will always be: YES.

Nothing makes me more annoyed than when I pass by someone pushing a stroller who is wearing a hat, scarf, mitts and a warm jacket and you look at the baby/toddler they are pushing and they have their hands out, bright pink from the cold.

If you, as an adult, need mitts or gloves, then those tiny little fingers definitely do. If you have your ears covered than your baby/toddler needs their little ears covered. If you have your winter coat on, please don’t have your baby/toddler wearing just a sweater. What makes you think their tiny little body is more capable of keeping warm than yours?

I’ve heard a lot of excuses for this. “My baby/toddler gets hot.” “My baby/toddler doesn’t like wearing a hat or gloves.”

Its always better to have your baby bundled, even if they get hot. It’s better to have them a little too warm than cold, especially since there is no visual way of knowing if they are too cold. How the body works when it is cold, is to protect its core first, which means if your child is not wearing gloves, the body will not work extremely hard to push blood into their fingers or hands, and will instead protect/work to warm the torso. Extremities such as fingertips are highly susceptible to frostbite when there isn’t blood being pushed into them.

How likely is it that your child will get frostbite? You’re just out for a stroll.

Frostbite or frostnip can occur in children under 0 degrees Celsius, which is a common winter temperature for us here in Canada. It is also more common when there are winds because winds cool the skin faster. One of the most common causes of frostbite in small children is not dressing warm enough for the weather. With that being said, it’s definitely better to be safe rather than sorry.

As parents, we are going to come across a lot of things our children don’t like to do. When we were kids ourselves, the idea that we didn’t like something didn’t really cross our minds. Once our parents told us something, that was kind of it. In this age of parenting, we are more likely to take our children’s feelings into consideration in a lot of our planning, but being safe and prepared for the weather really shouldn’t be one of them.

As winter approaches, please take all the necessary precautions for your children when it comes to combatting the winter weather!

Winter Weather Blues

New parents have a lot on their plates. When you have made the decision to stay home with your new little one for the first year or so, a lot of people think that is a blessing. You get to stay in your PJs, you get to binge-watch your favourite shows, you get to avoid the bad weather if you have your baby right before the winter. 

I will admit, those are big pluses. 

On the other hand, when your partner is back at work, or you are doing it alone, staying at home with your baby can be isolating. With the temperature dropping outside, the sky remaining that bleak grey, and they fear of your little one contracting something during the flu season, you are more likely to stay inside. 

It’s easy to fall into a routine of nothingness. You wake up, spend most of your day in the same clothes, feeding your baby, entertaining her and changing her. The small naps she takes you tell yourself you will use to get things done, but chances are you use that time to catch up on some of the rest you went without the night before. 

Days of the week start to all blend together, and without people coming in and out for visits, they don’t really matter. 

It’s really hard to get motivated. I am trying to add working out at home to my daily routine to at least do a little something for myself, but it is hard not to fall into winter weather blues. 

My husband is at work typically all day. He has an unusual work schedule so I typically see him for an hour or so in the mornings and then not until after 11:00pm. That means that most of my day is spent with my beautiful daughter and our fur baby, but neither provide me with the stimulating conversation I crave. 

With us being a one vehicle family, spur of the moment outings are off the table because my husband typically takes the car to work unless I tell him I would like it for the day, which usually, I have no plans. 

So what can you do? 

Besides texting out constant SOS messages to anyone who will answer, I think it’s important, even in bad weather (so long as there isn’t a blizzard taking place outside) to go out and get some fresh air each day. For me, it’s easy because I have to go out to walk my dog anyway. I have to kick myself in the butt lately to actually go for long walks as opposed to just taking him out to do his business and retreating back into the warmth of our apartment. 

We have the Bugaboo stroller which has the large bicycle tires on the back to make it easy to get out in any weather. If you live somewhere with all four seasons, like me here in Canada, I would definitely invest in a stroller with big, capable tires. 

It’s also important to make plans to incorporate different people in your days each week. Seeing the same three faces, although you love your little family, every day can leave you feeling like a bit of a hermit. I try and see my mother, sister, brothers and nephew at least once a week. Usually we do Sunday dinners, but I also try and get together with my sister when I can. 

Do something every day just for you. 

Don’t set big unattainable goals that will depress you when you don’t complete them. Keep them simple. Maybe something as simple as getting up, putting make-up on and getting dressed every day. The routine can make you feel like your old self. 

I have been going without make-up since I started staying home from work in August. Without that routine I had before working in the morning, it is really hard to get myself going. I used to get up, make a cup a coffee (decaf unfortunately) bring that into the bathroom with me while I put make-up on and did my hair for work. Then I would get dressed and be ready to start my day. 

Now, as a new mom, that routine is almost impossible to stick to. Your baby wants your love and attention, so spending thirty-minutes in the bathroom by yourself is a no-go. 

I’ve changed this routine a little bit to include her. Now, I put some music on and put my daughter in her carrier on my chest. I have her with me in the bathroom as I dance around, wash my face, brush my hair… just make myself look a little less like a sleepless cave-woman and more like myself. I find the music keeps my daughter in a good mood while I do things like pluck my unruly eyebrows or moisturize. 

When I leave the bathroom, I feel more refreshed and less like I am a zombie just stumbling through the day. 

Despite my lack of appetite in the morning, I still get myself a bowl of cereal and eat it while I breastfeed. It’s like I am not eating alone and makes me feel great. 

Normally after breakfast my daughter will doze for a bit. This is the perfect time to put her in her swing while I do a 7 minute workout using my 7 minute women’s workout app on my phone. (I love this app!) 

Lately I have been using it just to guide me through stretches and easier workouts. Nothing overly taxing as I can’t necessarily wind down afterwards depending on my daughter’s mood. 

Reading this you may be thinking that none of this will work for you. That’s fine, we are all different. The point is, because the weather restricts what you can do outside of your house, it’s important to make your home comforting to you. A place that doesn’t feel like a binding prison but like it’s full of opportunities for you throughout the day. 

Maybe it’s reading a book. Maybe it’s taking time to do some journalling. Find what makes you feel good and do it every day to help you keep your winter weather blues at bay. 

Your mental health is as important as your physical health, especially as a new parent!