Last winter, my American friend traveled with her family to Copenhagen for a holiday. When she returned, she told of her initial shock at seeing unattended baby strollers – with babies in them! - lined up on the sidewalks outside cafés and restaurants while their parents were inside eating.
A daily nap outside is a common part of the daily routine for babies and toddlers throughout Scandinavia, even when temperatures reach as low as 20F (yes, 20 Fahrenheit!).
All year round child care centers take the children outside to nap; at home, parents put their babies in the garden, on the balcony or porch for their nap, so if you visit anywhere in Scandinavia, this will be a very common sight:
Scandinavian parents say their children get sick less and sleep longer when they nap outdoors because the air outside is clean and fresh and preferable to the inside air that can be stale and in public places, thick with germs from other people coughing and sneezing into it.
The trick is that they dress their little ones in next to skin merino wool base layers. (As well as mid layers, a down sleeping bag and usually a sheepskin at the bottom of stroller).
So while I don’t suggest leaving your babies in their strollers on the sidewalk while you nip into the cafe here in America (unless you fancy being arrested), I do recommend following the Scandinavian lead on winterizing because they have it down!
Fine Merino wool is a wonder-fabric as a next to skin base layer for babies. It is super soft on sensitive skin and not only will it keep them very warm but it is eco-friendly, moisture regulating, odor-resistant, naturally flame retardant, machine washable and can absorb 1/3 of its own weight in water before it feels wet. See, wonder-fabric! Take a look at some of the new Ella’s Wool Fine Merino Wool Base Layers for babies that we have in stock:
Photo: Katherine Slingluff
Photo: Amelia Mayer
Not only do we want our babies to fill their lungs with fresh air (more oxygen in the cells means a clearer, happier brain!) but as they get a little older and start moving around more, outside play is crucial to the development of their motor skills. We want them running freely and jumping and climbing, to learn how to throw and catch and kick a ball, to dig and build and swing from the monkey bars, and we want them to explore and use their imaginations in new ways, to make new friends and learn to interact socially; all the things they can’t do while sitting inside for six months of cold weather. So we’ve made Ella’s Wool Fine Merino Wool Base Layers for bigger kids too:
Photo: Ashley Scheider
Photo: Ashley Scheider
Fine Merino Wool base layers have been tested by millions of Scandinavians who wore them while doing the hard work of snoozing and playing out in subzero temperatures for years and the results are in! Now all that is left for us to do is follow their lead and get our little ones into some soft merino base layers for winter play and outside naps (only, of course, if you are right there beside them!).