Take the baby out in the snow? How to keep your little ones warm on winter outings


The temptation to stay indoors increases as the mercury drops, especially when young children with needs such as diaper changes and baby bottles enter the equation – but winter doesn’t have to come. translate to hibernation.

While a snow season outing requires more planning and gear than its summer counterpart, on the right day the rewards outweigh the rigmarole, especially if you aspire to prepare your little ones for an appreciation to life of winter as a season to embrace, not to endure.

“Like anything, the more positive exposure they get, the more likely they are to have fun doing it and want to keep doing it,” says Erika Kercher Halm, outreach and access coordinator for non-profit recreation Methow Trails and the mother of a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old.

With a hearty snowpack and plenty of freezing temperatures this winter, there have been plenty of opportunities to bundle up a baby and get outside. As the calendar turns to February, there are still a few months to refine winter adventures with toddlers, whether based on your own trial and error or pro tips from seasoned parents like Halm.

What goes for adults braving the cold also goes for the little ones: dress in layers. Although my wife and I did not have seal fur clothing for our 8 month old daughter, Lena, like the ones I have seen wrapping Inupiaq babies a reporting trip to Alaskan arcticwe’ve put together a winter kit of hats and gloves hand-knit by family and friends, plus baby shower gifts, thrift items and the Madison Valley Kids’ Clothing Consignment Store Piece of sugar.

Adults dress for the cold but also anticipate warming up through body movement. For a baby, remember that not only will their little body retain less heat, but they will also be immobile and therefore need even more diapers than adults.

On a December day in the Methow Valley, when the thermometer hovered at single digits, that meant gloves and socks under a jumpsuit under a jumper and trousers under a down jacket under a snowsuit, topped with a hat with a integrated neck warmer. Needless to say, there’s a diaper change to take care of before transforming your little one into a miniature version of the Michelin Man, where it takes three zippers and a set of snaps to reach bare skin.

Once we got out for a short walk or on snowshoes, the cold was breathtaking. Our nostril hairs have frozen over and the three of us – my wife, myself and Lena’s grandmother – frequently check each other and especially Lena for white patches on the skin that signal the onset of frostbite. Infants generally don’t like anything that covers their nose or mouth, so the baby-sized hood we bought was of no use. While our little one gasped against the freezing cold, she never cried. In the end, we threw in the towel before her.

A reason? Body heat. For walks on snowshoes and on foot, strap your little one into an ergonomic baby carrier on your chest. Then either attach a fleece blanket or zip in a maternity parka. As the saying goes, keep them warm like a bug in a rug.

On a day when the temperatures warmed up in the more manageable teenagers, we rented a cross-country ski pulka at $30 per day from Winthrop mountain sports. The model, a Thule Chariot (MSRP $1,575), breaks down into several parts and fits easily in a trunk. At the Chickadee Trailhead, I found it fairly intuitive to pull up the pulka, which is a small, enclosed cabin on two skis that attaches to a harness via long poles. While the added weight of carrying your child feels like a boat anchor dragging on your gear as skate skiers pass you by, the harness can also help improve your form.

If your child is cradled by a car seat, the pulka is likely to do the same. This propensity is both a blessing and a curse for Halm, the coordinator and mother of Methow Trails. She has to be careful when she goes skiing with her family, lest she mess up nap times.

“If you have the resources to get a Chariot, you can slip them into a little bunting and they’re comfortable,” said Halm, who bought hers used. “And if you don’t, there are cheaper options. You can get a plastic pulka or I’ve seen homemade versions.

With built-in storage pockets, the Chariot makes it easy to pack Halm’s suggested kids’ outing essentials like treats, hot chocolate, hand warmers and extra gloves, though she keeps as much as possible in one. hip bag to avoid coming off the pulka more than necessary.

She swears by a foam pad for trailside diaper changes and to keep toddlers from sitting directly on the snow during breaks, which can quickly lead to wet snowsuits.

But Halm, who spent 10 years as an instructor and director at Northwest Outward Bound Schooldidn’t wait for her first child to grow to the size of a hen.

“She was born in November and we went skiing when she was 6 weeks old,” Halm said. “She was in a carrier on my chest zipped inside my jacket, and her whole first winter, that’s what we did.”

The eldest from Halm has since graduated to skiing alone, but the pulka is a practical hybrid day: she can ski solo and, when she gets tired, she can hang on to the back of the pulka with a strap of towing.

“Any age you can ski with them,” Halm said.

As for outdoor-loving parents preparing for their first winter adventures with baby on board, Halm has one final piece of advice: “Set your expectations lower than you think you need for distance and speed. . But it gets easier the more you do it.


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