You might be surprised to hear, but in many countries across the world, it is perfectly normal to see newborns having a nap outdoors. Even during the winter months, parents take their newborns outside, wrapped thoroughly in warm prams.
This practice has been a common practice in the Nordic countries for a long time, but recently, the interest about the benefits of outdoor napping has risen in many other parts of the world. For example, certain childcare centers have stared with this practice recently, after learning the scientific explanation why outdoor napping might be crucial for the development of the newborns.
Health Benefits of Outdoor Napping
The theory is that by letting newborns take naps in the outdoors, you will help their development. How? Well, through several ways. The first one is by exposing the baby to fresh air. This is something that can be very beneficial for those living in big cities, where pollution levels are dangerously high.
The other way of helping your baby to develop properly via outdoor naps is that breathing fresh air, rich in oxygen, will help your baby sleep well. This means that if you take your newborn to veranda right after breastfeeding (or formula), the baby will fall asleep in a moment’s time.
Finally, the exposure to fresh air, even if it’s cold, is good for the babies as it helps boosting their immune system. Some studies have shown that outdoor napping can help with reducing the risk of respiratory infections. In fact, this is the main reason why state-run childcare centers in Scandinavia have made this practice a common thing. Rather than letting the children breathe the warm recycled air, these childcare facilities expose them to the fresh air in the outdoors.
How Safe is This Practice?
Although the truth is that there are much more germs and viruses flying through the warm air in your house than in the open space, there are still some health concerns about outdoor napping. The obvious one is the temperature. As every pediatrician would tell you, the ideal room temperature for the baby to sleep in is between 68–72°F (20–22.2°C).
Surely, during the cold winter months, the temperatures are bound to drop much lower than that. However, this does not mean that you ought to keep your baby indoors all the time. On the contrary, outdoor napping is possible even in the middle of winter – you just need to dress your baby appropriately.
How to Dress Your Baby?
If you’re planning to take the crib outdoors, make sure to use a flannel-fitted sheet, which will provide your baby with warmth. When it comes to the baby’s clothes, it all depends on how old the baby is. If you have an infant, swaddling is the right choice. But, we advise you to dress the newborn in a one-piece sleeper, as well as warm socks, before swaddling.
If you’re not swaddling your baby anymore, a heavier onesie would do the job. Of course, this is not the end. You also need to put a warm hat on your baby’s head, while using a blanket to cover the baby up to the neck. This way, your baby will feel warm, even if the air outside is cold.
So, Should You Give Outdoor Napping a Try?
This practice does seem interesting, but before you start taking your baby outdoors for a nap, make sure to consult your pediatrician. Bear in mind that each baby has its own needs. That is why for some children this practice might not be good, while for some babies, it can do wonders.