How To Tell If A Newborn Is Cold: 5 Vital Baby Cues To Watch Out For

The early days of parenthood can be quite difficult. Sure, you just got a new and cute addition to the family, but taking care of a newborn can be nerve-wracking. Their coos and gurgles are cute but ineffective in passing important messages along. Like when they’re feeling cold, for instance. So, you may wonder how to tell if a newborn is cold.

Newborns can’t control their body temperatures as well as adults. They can’t shiver (at least until about six months of age). They have little fat under their skin, and a larger body surface area relative to their weight. These factors make them lose heat faster than adults.

For these reasons, you have to keep your baby properly clothed when they are cold. “How to tell if a newborn is cold?” you ask. You simply have to look out for a few baby cues your child gives.

Let’s get to them, shall we?

5 Cues Indicating A Cold Newborn

1. Your newborn’s skin feels cold

One of the most direct indicators of a cold newborn is the temperature of their skin, particularly their hands, feet, and ears. These extremities are usually the most exposed and are the major culprits of heat loss.

Gently touch these areas to check for coolness. If your baby’s extremities feel notably cooler than the rest of their body, it could mean that they are not adequately dressed for the surrounding temperature.

You can also touch the back of your baby’s neck to check the temperature. If it feels cold too, then toss an extra layer on.

2. Changes in skin color

Observing changes in your newborn’s skin color is another crucial cue. If your baby’s skin looks pale or has a bluish tint, that can indicate that the baby’s body is working to conserve heat.

During the cold, blood circulation is reduced in peripheral areas like the hands and feet to maintain internal warmth. So, inspect your baby’s skin regularly to detect any color changes. Ensure to do this in well-lit conditions.

3. Crying and fussiness

Of course, newborns cry when they are cold. They also cry when they feel hot, hungry, tired, and at many other times.

Deciphering a baby’s cries can be challenging, but understanding the context can provide valuable insights. If your baby is cold, their cries may sound different from hunger or discomfort cries.

A cold baby might cry more insistently or sound fussier. Pay attention to the tone and intensity of the cries to identify whether temperature discomfort is a factor.

4. Decreased activity and lethargy

Feeling cold can impact a newborn’s energy levels. If you notice a significant decrease in your baby’s usual activity, it might be a signal that they are feeling cold.

Things like reduced kicking, arm movements, or overall responsiveness can indicate a low body temperature. This is an important cue that shouldn’t be ignored and you can easily alleviate this heat loss by wrapping a blanket around them or doing skin-to-skin.

Skin-to-skin or kangaroo care entails placing your nearly naked baby on your bare chest with a blanket wrapping both of you. Your body becomes an incubator, heating up or cooling to regulate your baby’s temperature.

5. Poor feeding or sucking

Cold temperatures can affect a baby’s ability to feed comfortably. If you observe that your baby is having difficulty latching onto the breast, bottle, or pacifier, it could be due to the discomfort of feeling cold. Your baby’s feeding is one aspect that your watchful eyes are always on, so it’s unlikely that you’ll miss this cue.

Bonus Tip on How to Tell If a Newborn Is Cold: Difficulty Sleeping

Everyone loves it when newborns are asleep. You can finally relax and maybe read a few pages of your favorite book. A well-rested baby is also easy to handle, but feeling cold can disrupt their sleep patterns.

If your newborn is finding it difficult to settle into a deep and restful sleep, it may be because of the discomfort of the surrounding temperature. Keep an eye on changes in your baby’s sleep patterns as potential indicators of feeling cold. These signs could include increased restlessness or frequent waking.


Deciphering your baby’s little signs can be a full-time job. However, with these tips, you can be sure you’ve got the cold newborn cues down.

Recognizing these cues that your newborn might be feeling cold is a fundamental aspect of providing attentive and loving care. By understanding these cues and responding promptly, you can ensure the comfort and overall happiness of your newest family member.

Now that you’ve got this knowledge, you’re better equipped to create a safe and nurturing environment for your precious newborn.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some questions that new parents like you may need clarification on.

How can I ensure the room temperature is suitable for my newborn?

The easiest way to do this would be with a thermostat. Many household heating systems have that functionality nowadays. Ensure to keep the room temperature between 68°F to 72°F (20°C to 22°C). Some babies like it warmer while others prefer it cooler, so note any cues for cold or overheating from your baby and adjust the temperature and clothing accordingly.

If you don’t have a thermostat, you can employ a reliable thermometer, dress your baby in adaptable layers, and use climate control devices like fans or heaters based on seasonal needs.

How do I dress my newborn to prevent them from getting too cold?

The best clothing choices involve layering. Start with a onesie and add or remove layers as needed. You can add footed sleepers, hats for outdoor ventures, and mittens, as they can keep your child warm. Always monitor your newborn for signs of overheating and adjust the clothing accordingly.

When should I seek medical advice if I suspect my newborn is cold?

You can manage minor cold discomfort easily at home. However, sometimes you may need to consult a healthcare professional.

You can try that if the cold symptoms persist, your baby’s breathing becomes labored, or there are temperature irregularities. The most important thing is to trust your instincts as a parent and seek timely guidance when it is needed.

See the best baby carriers for newborns to keep them close.

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