Navigating Winter As An African Mum In The UK


The reality for many African mothers is adjusting to life in the UK’s cold weather. In this article, we explore the challenges and triumphs of navigating winter, from mastering layers to embracing cozy traditions, all through the lens of an African mama’s resilience and resourcefulness. 



Essentials for babies in the winter

Keeping your baby warm and cozy during winter is crucial, and it’s excellent you’re preparing! Here are some essential items to consider:


Layering pieces: Opt for comfortable layers like long-sleeved bodysuits, onesies, leggings, sweaters, and fleecy pyjamas. Choose natural fabrics like cotton and wool for warmth and breathability. Avoid layering too much to prevent overheating.


Warm socks and booties: Keep those tiny toes warm with cozy socks and booties. Wool or fleece-lined options are great. For extra warmth, layer booties over footed pyjamas.


Hats and mittens: Babies lose a lot of heat through their heads and hands. Choose snug-fitting hats and mittens made from warm materials like wool or fleece. Consider mittens with velcro closures for better stay-put power.


Coats and jackets: Choose warm and windproof outerwear based on your climate. For milder days, a cosy cardigan or fleece jacket might suffice. A padded or quilted coat with a hood is essential for cold days.


Stroller blanket: Keep a warm blanket handy for covering your baby in the stroller during walks.


Thermometer: Monitor your baby’s and room temperatures to ensure they are comfortable.



Essentials for African mums in the winter


Being a mum in winter comes with challenges, but it can also be a cosy and magical time. To make things easier and more enjoyable, here are some essentials for you to consider:


Outerwear: A long, warm coat with a hood and waterproof material is vital. Consider puffer jackets, parkas, or wool options, depending on your climate. Gloves, hats, and scarves are also crucial for keeping snug.


Layering: Invest in good thermals, cosy sweaters, and leggings for warmth under your clothes. Wool socks and comfortable boots are essential for keeping feet warm and dry.


Home comforts: A blanket scarf or shawl for quick warmth indoors, fuzzy slippers, and a hot water bottle are great. Humidifiers can help combat dry winter air and ease congestion.


Vitamins and supplements: Consult your doctor about vitamin D supplements for the lack of sunshine. Boosting immunity with vitamin C and other supplements can also be helpful.


Moisturisers: The cold weather can dry out skin, so invest in a good moisturiser for both face and body. Lip balm is essential for preventing chapped lips.


Sun protection: Even on cloudy days, UV rays can still be harmful. Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, especially on exposed areas.


First-aid kit: Be prepared for minor injuries and illnesses with a well-stocked first-aid kit. Include cold and flu medications, pain relievers, bandages, and other essentials.


Waterproof boots and snow gear: For snowy climates, having good boots and snow pants makes getting around easier and more comfortable.


Car maintenance: Ensure your car is winter-ready with proper tires, antifreeze, and emergency supplies.


Planning and prep: Plan meals in advance to avoid last-minute grocery runs in the cold. Stock up on pantry staples and keep warm beverages like tea and hot chocolate readily available.



What to do if your baby has a cold

While colds can't be cured (they run their course in 7-10 days), you can help your baby feel better:


Keep them hydrated: Offer frequent breastmilk/formula and water (for babies over 6 months). 


Clear their nose: Use saline drops and a bulb syringe to clear mucus. 


Add moisture: Use a humidifier or sit in a steamy bathroom. 


Ease discomfort: Tylenol/Motrin (check age guidelines) for fever. 


Plenty of rest: Let your baby sleep it off.


When to see a doctor 


See a doctor if:

  1.  Fever lasts over 3 days or surpasses 104°F.
  1. Baby is difficult to wake up or looks pretty lethargic.
  1. Fast or laboured breathing.
  1. Refusing fluids for more than 24 hours.



While the cold may bite and days shorten, a resilient African mama’s spirit finds warmth in the community. Stay safe and protect yourself and your baby in the winter. 



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)


 Can I give my baby cold medication if they have a cold?

No, cold medications are not safe for babies. Instead, consult your paediatrician for age-appropriate remedies and tips to comfort your little one.


Can I steam my baby during the winter?

Directly exposing your baby to steam is unsafe. However, using a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room can safely loosen congestion during winter. If concerned, always consult a healthcare professional for personalised advice.


Is it safe to bathe my baby once during the winter?

 While daily baths aren’t necessary for most babies, even in winter, limit them to every other day to avoid overly drying their delicate skin. Opt for sponge baths if your baby’s umbilical cord hasn’t fallen off yet.

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