When I was pregnant I just knew I would be a badass, put-together new mom who ran half marathons, was never late, and undoubtably capable of conquering the world with a baby on her hip. As you can imagine, I was wrong. I learned so much about myself in those first few months of motherhood, including how difficult it is to care for a newborn. But that first-time mom postpartum period was nothing compared to the months after I had my second baby. You guys, having a baby in the winter is the worst. By Far. Hands down. Without a doubt. The. Worst.
To be fair, I'm one of those people who thinks everything is worse when it's cold outside. I mean, I absolutely hate being cold. But things are kicked into miserable overdrive when you're trying to keep your baby warm (but not "too" warm!), dressing them and yourself for harsh weather, dealing with holiday stress, and driving in the snow. Everything seems to take more energy and pure unadulterated will to accomplish in the winter, and that definitely includes parenting. And if the weather traps you in the house you feel completely isolated from the outside world, and at a time when you arguably need and crave more adult interaction than ever before.
Of course, that's not to say that the winter months are total trash. When you have a baby the holidays certainly do take on a new meaning, and you absolutely have the best excuse for avoiding any holiday parties or family get togethers. In other words, it's not a total loss. But for me the postpartum months felt even more bleak and overwhelming when I was experiencing them during the winter, which is why I, personally, think having a baby in the winter is the damn worst.
Recovering from childbirth is difficult all on its own and regardless of when you give birth. But feeling like you’re trapped in the house due to horrible weather certainly doesn't help. When I was pregnant I would daydream about taking stroller rides trips to the park, playing in the yard, and quickly losing my pregnancy weight as the result of so much physical activity and exercise. Instead, I injured myself slipping on the ice and spent my baby's first few weeks holed up in my house dreaming about spring.
Breastfeeding in the winter seems way more challenging than it was in the summer. For one, it's cold, so if you want to leave the house with your baby you have to either get creative about dressing in layers or find someplace private, warm place to feed them. Even the most #FreeTheNipple breastfeeding mama is going to be hesitant to de-blouse when it's 10 degrees outside.
If there's anything worse than having a baby in the winter, it's having a baby during the winter holiday season. I absolutely do not recommend recovering form childbirth while you're surrounded by curious family members who give unsolicited advice and ask inappropriate questions.
I suffer from seasonal depression every winter, regardless of whether or not postpartum hormones are in play. So after my son was born you can imagine how intense my depression and anxiety was. My OB-GYN told me she actually sees more patients for postpartum depression during the winter, and I don't doubt her one bit.
Giving Your Baby A Bath
The first time I gave my winter baby a bath his lips turned blue and he started shivering and crying even though the water was a good temperature. It made me feel so guilty.... and trust me, that's the last thing I needed to feel.
I hate driving during the winter months. Icy roads are bad enough when you don't have tiny, precious human in the back seat. Every single time I got behind the wheel I worried that I will be trapped in the car with my kids in a snow storm, or would get in an accident, or something would happen that was beyond my control.
I was also always, always, late.
Dressing Baby For The Weather
Getting your baby ready to leave the house in the winter time takes roughly 20 times longer than it does in the summer. You have to either put them in footie pajamas and risk stares and comments from strangers, or you have to find socks and shoes and manage to keep them on their feet. You want to put them in a coat but you can't strap them into their car seat with their coat on, so you have to take their coat off and put it back on at least 14 times. The entire process is exhausting.
Being a new mom can be isolating and lonely regardless of when you gave birth, but I think the winter makes those lonely feelings even more intense. In the winter fewer people visit you, and leaving the house is overwhelming. I stopped going placed unless I had to, so I went for days without seeing anyone except my kids and my husband.
When my spring baby was born I spent so much time outdoors. I took her on walks, to the park, to the zoo, and pretty much everywhere I wanted to go.
But when my winter baby was born I felt trapped in my house, even after I felt ready to leave. I didn't want him to get too cold, and I didn't want to bundle him up and drive him anywhere. When I felt captive by the winter months it took much, much longer to feel like myself again.
Sure, you can put your baby in their seat before you leave the house, but they weigh about 500 pounds so chances are you're going to throw your back out. You have to either carry them around in it, bring along a stroller, or dress them warmly enough to pop them out of their seat when you reach your destination. Not too warmly, though, because again that interferes with their car seat. After all of that trouble, they are likely to get hungry, need a diaper change, or start crying in the backseat as soon as you pull out of the driveway.