Keeping Perry Warm Outside on Very Cold Days

What a winter this has been in Boston! For Valentine’s Day, we are not only going to have several feet of snow on the ground, but the weather is going to get below zero with wind chills well below zero throughout the day. Adding a two month-old to this equation of snow + cold could result in a whole lot of being stuck inside, especially since our daily lives involve walking without an easy way to pop a baby quickly into a heated car. I spend at least half an hour a day outside with Perry, and here is how I keep him warm:

The first thing you should know is that I carry Perry around in a carrier. More specifically, I wear him in a Baby K’Tan, a type of wrap that goes on quickly and easily, and gives its own insulating layer. If he were older, I would use an Ergo, a type of soft structured carrier that distributes weight better on my hips. I find that wearing him close to me allows him to benefit from my body heat, and I prefer this to putting him in a stroller with a snowsuit and lots of blankets.

baby in cotton outfitI get started with regular old Perry wearing his normal cotton outfits—usually pants and a onesie. If the weather is above 30 degrees, this is usually all I need. I just make sure I have something fairly warm, like fleece booties on his feet. If it is a bit colder, say in the 20’s, I might just go with a fleece one-piece outfit, again making sure his feet have something warm on them. But when it is in the teens or below, I pop him into a fleece suit (not a full snowsuit) before I put him in the wrap. No matter the scenario above, I put a warm winter cap on his head. My favorite is from Hanna Andersson, because itbaby in fleece suit fully covers his ears and head, and then ties under his chin to keep it securely in place no matter how his head moves.

Once he is suited up, I pop him into the wrap, making any adjustments needed to make sure he fits comfortably given the extra bulk. On fleece suit days, I put the hood over his winter hat, and I pay careful attention to make sure his airways are clear.

The last step is to put a coat over both of us. I am very lucky because I own a special coat made precisely to be worn over a baby in a carrier. It has an extra panel that zips into the coat to make room for Perry, and has a little flap that can entirely enclose him in the coat, or be left open. The flap allows breathing room while protecting his face from cold and wind, and the coat is designed so that he can be worn on front or an older baby could be worn on the back during milder cold. That said, I have seen people zip a baby in a carrier inside a generously sized coat. I can, for instance, zip my husband’s coat over me and Perry, no problem.  baby in babywearing coat

Getting back in the exercising game, 2 months post-baby

Well, today I jogged 2 miles on a treadmill. For the second time. I am 2 months postpartum and definitely have the belly to prove it. There are a lot of things I do not like about my body at this moment in time, and even though I want to be kind to myself I do not want that kindness to turn into passive acceptance. This is my second time around, and I definitely never put in the time and effort to restore my body the first time around. I know how much this dragged me down: the time wasted feeling bad about the way I looked, the lack of energy because I was out-of-shape.

My husband–who is the tall, athletic type–had been looking for an endurance event to challenge himself in his own fitness journey. He found an 11 mile trail run and signed up. You may guess where this is going. I have sheepishly signed on,  terrified of my own ability to go from a freshly postpartum mother who hasn’t run in years to someone who can dash of 11 miles through mud and woods in a mere 14 weeks. I have never enjoyed running, finding it tedious and uncomfortable. Heck, I was the statistician on my high school’s cross country team.  Nonetheless, I found a couch to half-marathon plan on a running site dedicated to women. With my husband’s assurance that he would watch the baby while I ran, I began the plan this week.

The overall approach to the plan is to mix walking and running intervals in the early weeks to build up the stamina to do the runs. The first day was a 2 mile walk/run interval and I shocked myself by doing the whole thing at a very slow jog. I mean, 14 minute miles slow. Still, I felt elated. I had never believed that I could actually run 2 miles. I am not sure if I have ever run that far in my life.

Today I repeated that hurculean task. My legs ache the way that a fit person’s might after, say, a half marathon. But I did it. I persisted. I kept with a pace slow enough that I knew the only barrier to completion was in my head. And I persevered.

I am still too uncertain of the outcome to share this publicly. I mean, can I really do it? The mileage cranks up at an incredibly fast pace. Already my next run is supposed to be 3 miles. 3 miles? That is an extra 50% more than I am currently struggling to do. But I have already surprised myself, so maybe I will again. As a sign of my own commitment, I bought expensive running shoes today. I am committed to trying my best to reach this sudden, unexpected goal.