I live in Hawaii and, contrary to popular belief, it does get cold here. Maybe not freezing and snow on the ground cold, but when it's in the fifties and your windows don't close, the wind blows through your dozens of only-screen windows and all you have is t-shirts and shorts to wear, you definitely end up huddling under the covers and shivering at night. :)
It has been pretty cold the last few nights and I have a 2 week old. I've been putting him in footies with socks and then putting him in a fleece sleepsack with a hat and he's still cold. He can't sleep at all when he's chilly. Last night it was really cold and I put him under my down blanket with me. Even with all that, he kept waking up with his hands cold as ice. I lay him with his lower body against me and his head and chest three inches away or so. I tucked the blanket behind me and wore it at breast-level, then spread it over baby under his arms, put his arms over the blanket and tucked the end of it under him on his other side. I slept with my hand on his chest as an added precaution against the blanket somehow making its way up to his face (though I had it tucked in nice and tight, so I don't know how it could. I'm still a paranoid mama at this stage.)
Is there a safer way to keep him warm? We can't have any kind of heater because the windows don't close so we couldn't hold the heat in the room even if we could afford to run a heater, which we can't.
Have you ever had to keep a newborn warm in a cold room and how did you do it?
ETA: And how on EARTH do you keep a hat on them? I've tried dozens and he just rubs them right off. I know he loses a lot of heat through his little head at night. I'm scared he'll be strangled if I put one of those on him that ties under the chin.
Our DS2 arrived in the middle of the night in our drafty old house in the dead of winter in upstate NY, so I actually spent a fair amount of time thinking about this . We do have heat, but in the depths of winter our house averages something around 55 degrees at night and 62 during the day, more or less, depending on which room you are in. (The north side of the house is colder.) I would dress DS2 in a t-shirt, fleece footie sleepers with sleeves you could fold back over the hands like little mittens, and a hat. (I never had any problem with him pulling the hat off - but if yours does, have you considered a hoodie? I know I've seen infant fleece ones out there.)
Beyond that, as you've already discovered, the key is making the most of your own body heat! During the day, I wore DS2 a lot in a fleece pouch - a Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece Pouch, unfortunately no longer made (I bought it back in 2005 for DS1), and he would sit in there froggy-style perched against my chest while I worked around the house. He once took a 3-hour nap in the fleece pouch while zipped completely inside my Kindercoat, while I was on a winter hike with DS1's cub scout troop! But I don't think you need a fleece pouch, per se - just find a way to wear your baby that is comfortable for you, then while he is perched against your chest, zip a fleece jacket or hoodie sweatshirt around both of you and he should stay toasty warm. (For this you would want to select a baby carrier that allows him to face you, rather than facing out - facing out being a chillier option.) For when he had to nap on his own, I would pop DS2 into a fleece sleepsack, position him so he was facing away from any known draft, and cover him with a light quilt. This seemed to work just fine, though I confess he's always been a good sleeper so I'm not sure if your little guy would need more. Once before we figured out optimal placement for his crib, my mom realized that a draft was whistling through a nearby windowframe and basically straight onto him; she took clothespins and clipped a blanked along the window-facing side of his crib so that the breeze wouldn't hit him and that worked great. If you have or use a crib, that might work. If not, is there any way to affix blankets over the windows to block all breezes? I get that this would block light as well, but I mean it as a temporary measure, not a permanent fixture!
For my boys I used to put them in a long sleeve onsie then long sleeve flannel pajamas and then in a sleep sack that was padded like a duvet. I never really put hats on them. I would suggest lots of layers - onsie, then long sleeve tshirt then pajamas with socks then booties on top of them and then inside a sleep sack. You can also get stretch and grows that have mittens that fold down to keep hands warm.
I kept DS in a wool Tee-shirt pretty much from birth until summer because at the time we didn't have central heat in our house. Started with short sleeve (during the fall), then long sleeve (winter). Put that under your fleece footies. It provides insulation, prevents overheating, prevents being soaked in sweat. If you're using cotton footies, then put something over that, either a wool or fleece sleep sack, and a light jacket/sweater. As for covering the head, try a hoodie instead of a hat. My guy wouldn't keep a hat on for anything, but he didn't mind hoods so much, probably because they weren't snug. They don't have to be snug to provide some protection from heat loss.
Are you swaddling? That can also help, prevents the arms from being out in the cool air. Or you can get those mittens that are used to prevent the baby from scratching themselves. Socks on the hands work in a pinch also.
A few more weeks and baby won't be so cold, as he's better able to regulate his own body temperature.
Oh, and you didn't say what YOU have on during the night. Skin contact, which can be difficult to manage when it's cold really helps them to regulate their temperature. Sleeping in a button down that's closed at the neck and open from the bottom makes this easier.
Cristeen ~ Always remembering our warrior ~ Our is 3, how'd that happen?!?!
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Actually, I can't afford wool, not even used.
I mixed up the advice I got here and found something that works well for us and he's slept great the last two nights. I put him in socks with a footie with foldover mittens, then inside a fleece sleeper with a hat (which falls off after probably an hour, but at least it's an hour of added warmth). Then I lay on my back and rest him on his back in the crook of my arm with his head on my shoulder like a pillow. This has actually been helping his reflux a lot! He's secure, he can't roll over, I can't roll on him and there's no way his face can be blocked by anything. I can't breastfeed him like this, but that's okay. I keep him warm and he keeps me super toasty. Last night was awesome. My face ends up gravitating to his head anyway, so my cheek and warm breath probably keep his little head warm enough.
Man, this brings me back! When our DS was a couple of months old we moved into a yurt with no insulation and cracks in the plywood floor. It was soooooo cold! Like Cristeen said "wool"! We had one hand-me-down wool onesie and one pair of wool leggings, he wore those every night layered with all kinds of other clothes. Then I would stick him inside of one of my wool sweaters and wrap the arms around him. Then I would take cloth diapers and warm them on the wood stove and stick them in the bed to take the chill out before we got in at night. I also spent the whole night snuggled around him wearing half of my wardrobe and under every cover we owned. It was soooooo cold that winter! Oh, and cutting the drafts is key as well, like Caryliz said. We talked about putting some sort of tapestry or something around the bed to cut the drafts (we never did b/c we didn't want to cut out our heat supply from the stove). Good luck!
Could you put something heavy over the windows, maybe? Just temporarily?
I have noticed that running a warm mist vaporizer in my son's room warms it up noticeably from the rest of the house, at least a few degrees. Maybe that would help.
Okay, by "windows" I should probably have mentioned that I mean "walls covered in screen instead of actual walls. It's more like a treehouse or a screened porch. I'd need a LOT of really huge blankets. :)