Surviving Winter With A Baby

This post is about all of the wonderful mom hacks and awesome products that I have discovered after having a baby in January, in Canada. If you were hoping for ideas on what to do to avoid going stir-crazy, I’ve recently compiled a list of the top 10 kid-friendly indoor things to do in Ottawa during the winter so that you can adventure out into the wild without worrying about hanging out in the frigid Canadian cold. If you prefer to stay inside and avoid the cold altogether, scroll to the end of the post–I got you! Let’s start with that list of gear.

Keeping Baby Warm

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Let me first state the obvious of layers. Lots and lots of layers. Short sleeve onesie + sleeper is perfect for most Canadian homes (using a sleep sack for nap time and overnight), and you can add an extra long-sleeve shirt and pants under the sleeper if you plan on going outside. If you plan on going for a walk or spending significant amounts of time outdoors (aka more than 5 minutes), then you also want to consider something more than just putting a blanket over top of baby as you run from the house to the car.

The first thing we bought was a shower-cap style car seat cover (because it goes OVER the whole thing and doesn’t interfere with the harness), but found that it got very warm in there for our newborn once it was in the car and we had to struggle from the front seat to take it off mid-ride and somehow put it back on before opening the doors. Not ideal, but it would work great for stroller walks if winter walks outdoors are your thing.

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Next, we upgraded to the fleece coat that also goes OVER the harness. We used this from when our daughter was two months old and we are still using it to this day and she is almost a year old (how did thaaat happen!?) since she is on the petite side, just like her mama. It’s great for spring and fall weather, and quick house-to-car trips in the winter. Plus the popular jersey cotton cover to keep the wind and precipitation off baby’s face, and you’ve got a winning combination.

However, with how much our kiddo has started kicking and moving around these past several weeks, and her wanting to explore in the snow, we needed to find something else as winter sets in again this year. We looked into getting a fleece one-piece since that seemed to keep baby warm just fine last year, and because it is a fitted garment it wouldn’t need to be removed prior to putting baby in the car seat. But we would still need a snowsuit for her to play in the snow (as minimal as that would likely be this season), ugh. Story of parenthood!

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BUT then we discovered the perfect solution: the “road coat“. Keeping in mind that normally putting anything in between baby and the harness other than thin clothing layers is usually unsafe, this snowsuit was created with that in mind. The layers open up and allow for the harness to safely pass through and snug up to baby’s chest so that they are installed as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. This means that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REMOVE THIS SNOWSUIT BEFORE PUTTING BABY IN THE CAR SEAT! Yaaaassssss!!!!! Seriously; they’ve done the crash testing, it’s been CPST-approved, and trust me when I say that safety always comes first around here! I would NOT be putting my daughter’s life at risk over anything. We got the 6-12 months size because it fits a little big, and we’ve got our fingers crossed it will last all the way through to May (when Canada’s winter officially ends most years). It’s got the folder-over mitts AND footies with furry inside, a nice fleece collar against baby’s neck, and a removable hood (it even has a storage bag with the size on the outside so if you’ve got more than one kiddo you don’t accidentally grab the wrong one!). We’ve only had it for a short while now but we love it!

Indoor Activities With Baby

Now I do have a long list of the top 10 kid-friendly indoor things to do in Ottawa during the winter for those who want to escape the house. For those who don’t want step out into the cold just yet and simply need a little inspiration to fight off cabin-fever, here it is! Of course, the activities will vary based on your baby’s age, so for the purpose of this post, we will say somewhere in between holding their heads up and walking.

tummy time water play with bath toys
  • – Never overlook the simplicity of sitting down with baby and singing songs. Make it more interesting for both of you by choosing interactive melodies and sing along with your hands with baby sign.
  • – Especially if your baby loves bath time, go ahead and set up a water-play station that also helps with tummy time. Put a few bath toys or various textured items like a rolled-up sock into a baking sheet that has a thin layer of water (enough to splash around, not enough to flood your room!) and place baby on a soft surface like a blanket or playmat.
  • – Playing find-the-marble is also a fun game to play with little ones because they will watch you intently as you move the cups around. They likely won’t guess under which cup the item (avoid choking hazards) is hidden, but it keeps them occupied for a bit.
  • – Dancing with baby is always fun, and can also act as an exercise for mama–especially if you are wearing baby (for those who cannot stand). The best part about this one is that you can play YOUR music in order to enjoy it a little more.

And because sometimes we want a break of fully interactive activities WITH baby, here are a few ideas to entertain baby while you enjoy a HOT beverage while you supervise that you can actually use long-term.

latches and locks activity board from Melissa & Doug mounted to the wall with command strips (at standing level)
  • – Simple but effective, blocks will occupy babies for quite a long time. Make sure they are colourful and different shapes to keep their attention, and big enough that they cannot be swallowed. We love our block-walker because baby can play with the blocks now, and use it to learn to walk later and then continue to play with the blocks into childhood.
  • – Sensory bins are a great way to incorporate a little more education into independent play. There are all kinds of types of bins you can make or buy, but for young babies it can be as simple as putting a handful of different textured toys in a bin and letting them explore them. And yes, they will explore with their mouths so make sure they aren’t too small!
  • – Grab a busy board or an activity board or “puzzle” and mount it to the wall to encourage baby to sit or stand up (change the height as they grow). Most of the time the recommended age is a little older, but it just means that it will get more use in many different ways in the meantime. Just make sure you get one with no detachable pieces.

Got any other ideas? I’d love to hear about them so I can share with everyone. Go ahead and let me know in the comments.


stephanie de montigny SdeM handrawn initials ottawa blogger
Yes, there are a few affiliate links in the post, but they are to things I would have linked to anyway and figured this way I could make a few extra cents towards the cost of motherhood—it ain’t cheap! Thank you for any support you can offer, even if it is simply sharing the post with others.