How Can I Tell If My Baby Is Cold

How Can I Tell If My Baby is ColdI follow our pediatrician’s recommendation of dressing my baby in one to two additional layers of clothing when going outdoors. However, I am still concerned about being able to tell if my baby is cold.

Since Arya can’t say anything it’s hard to figure out if she is uncomfortable.

Being able to tell if my baby is cold is less important now, but will become far more important when winter comes later this year.

Baby’s are supposed to be fussy whenever they are too cold, but since they can be fussy for other reasons it is not a consistent signal. I have been touching my baby’s skin to check for cold hands or feet. Despite these precautions, with recent weather in Boston, both my wife and I are worried that our baby is cold.

Today’s freak Spring storm over the Northeast caused outdoor temperatures in the low 50s. It was just in the 80s a few days ago. I’d prefer a consistent temperature somewhere in between. The adults in our household are used to the fickle Boston weather, but we were concerned about our five week old baby since she is more sensitive to climate conditions. Unfortunately, no resource can suggest easy way to tell if my baby is cold.

The common recommendation from doctors, nurses, and parenting books is to dress our baby with between zero to two additional layers of clothing depending on temperature. Specifically, we’ve been told to put our baby in the same number of layers as us when it is hot and progressively increase her number of additional layers as the temperature gets colder. The problem with that advice is that there have been times when we suspected our daughter was cold even though she was wearing two more layers than us.

This afternoon we went for our normal family walk to the grocery store passing through Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden. Although temperatures were in the mid 50s as forecast, the combination of leftover rain from earlier this afternoon and strong wind gusts made the temperature feel much colder. Both my wife and I were wearing two layers on the top (including a big jacket each) and one on the bottom.

How Can I Tell If My Baby is Cold - Covered StrollerOur baby girl was wearing a onesie and a white jacket on the top and pants on the bottom. In addition to being dressed in the same number of layers as us, our baby also had two blankets pushed around her — our standard low-budget method of ensuring she is snug in the stroller — an extra hat, socks, and protection from the wind with our cheap stroller cover.

While our daughter was sheltered from the wind by the multiple layers of covering on her stroller, I was still concerned that she might be cold. I have yet to hear her cry directly due to colder temperatures.

Deciding if my baby is cold is difficult once we go outside. Neither I nor my wife can use our own comfort level as a gauge because we are exposed to wind chill and have elevated heart rates from activity. Having my newborn in a covered stroller also makes it difficult to check the temperature of her hands and feet.

I suspect our baby is warmer than I am whenever we go outdoors since she is secure in her covered stroller and protected from the wind. However, my baby is not moving (so her heart rate is not elevated) and the air temperature inside the stroller is still the same as it is outside. This afternoon, once we stopped moving in a spot secluded from the wind inside the Public Garden I became a little cold and I was worried that my baby would be cold as well.

For now we have been relying on the simple method of biasing ourselves towards making our baby too hot to ensure that she is not too cold. This system is not ideal because overheating is a risk factor for SIDS. But since Arya cries right away whenever she gets hot, we are beginning to trust her ability to moderate her own body temperature. Our technique works for now, but I am still concerned that my baby is too cold and have yet to find a more precise way of identifying the ideal temperature for my newborn.