Editor's Note: This week's post comes from Head Baby Whisperer and Coziness Expert, Suzanne Lee. Suzanne, and our team of postpartum doulas, share their skills of creating warm, inviting spaces for new families across the Triangle.
As the days have grown darker and temperatures have dropped, I find myself delving into comforting activities that make me feel warm, cozy, and distract me from the doldrums of winter.
As I was hanging my fairy lights and looking up a warm hearty dinner to cook for my own family, I realized that this warm snuggly feeling I seek for myself is something we try to create everyday for our clients and their babies. In fact I realized, babies love Hygge!
Its something they seek constantly now that they are on the outside in the world. Hygge is an idea from Denmark, where it’s loosely translated as “coziness” or the creation of a feeling of contentment and comfort in your everyday life.
But really, its more a state of mind or lifestyle for a country that experiences many a long, cold dark day of winter. Savoring a cup of coffee, having a long candlelit talk with a friend, or donning your most comfortable clothes while relaxing at home are some of the things that are considered to be very Hyggeligt!
So how can we translate this state of living, the idea of Hygge into action, for not just babies, but for newly postpartum families?
Keep your baby comfortable during these chilly days and nights. I’m the first to say sleeping at night in a cooler house always makes for better sleep for adults and babies, but being clothed properly is important.
A rule of thumb for dressing your baby is to add one additional layer more than whatever you're wear. So at night, a nice sleeper and a sleep sack are a great way to keep your infant warm and safe. Check for overheating by putting your hand down the back of their neck if they feel too hot, sweaty or flushed, then remove a layer or cool the room down.
And don't forget yourself! If you're anticipating spending days at home with newborn in the winter, go ahead and give yourself permission to purchase a new set of soft pajamas and a fuzzy robe, or new wool-lined house slippers!
When going outside, layers are key (and, to be very clear: going outside during the winter is a MUST for both your baby and for your mood). A warm hat, thin woolen base layers under an outfit or a onesie underneath an outfit can keep your baby warm while you enjoy some fresh air. Babywear your little one under a large coat, or use a tucked blanket or cover while baby is in their carseat. As a reminder: Please, don’t use a coat while baby in strapped into their carseat.
Babies are people too! (Are you tired of hearing us say this yet?) I know I love a warm meal on a cold day, and so does your baby! Feeding your baby a warmed bottle or warm purees or beverages, if they are eating solids, will keep them content and their bellies warm. Make yourself a warm cup of tea to sip as well!
Nothing is better in my opinion than a big family snuggle on a cold morning. Set some time aside daily as a family to be together away from unwanted distractions for a snuggle in bed or on the couch. A good movie, or music playlist can be just what you all need to unwind and reconnect together.
A rule of Hygge is that the ambiance of a space is key. Candlelight, fairy lights, and other soft room lighting really add to the mood of the space you are in. My current set up in my own home includes a couple sets of battery operated pillar candles set on a timer and some fairy lights strung up (switched on via remote, from under a blanket!). At 5:00 p.m., it all switches on and the cozy begins!
Consider adding some small lights to your baby’s room to make nighttime care a little more dreamy. It'll help make care times easier to see and not be as jarring on sleep cycles for you or your baby.
Creating Hygge for your baby and yourselves can help you through these long days of winter and chilly temperatures. Starting now, during your baby's first winter, will hopefully help instill some happiness and cozy memories in winters to come.