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AIBU to not take 5month old to freezing house for weekend?

(86 Posts)
Camdenstyles Fri 30-Nov-12 00:30:48

We are suppose to be visiting my DH's Aunt and Uncle this weekend in Dorset and taking DD who has just turned 5 months. I get a phone call this evening from the Aunt saying their heating has conked out (since Sat) and they are waiting for the repairman to fix it who may or may not come to fix it on Saturday. They are in the deep countryside and I find their house cold at the best of times. She has warned us but said we can pile on warm clothes and go for walks to warm up! She has no children or her own so has no clue about babies. I don't feel comfortable taking DD there if it's going to be freezing, AIBU?

AThingInYourLife Fri 30-Nov-12 08:29:27

I mean, if the OP was asking whether she should take her baby to the home of an aunt who had had a fall and needed to be looked after, I would be saying that the baby would be fine for a weekend, bring a heater, wrap up warm.

But this is a social visit. Why would you take a baby to an unheated house on a supposedly freezing weekend for fun?


It's baffling.

MariaMandarin Fri 30-Nov-12 08:29:57

There is no way I would be going. It will absolutely miserable. I really, really hate being cold. I am not sure if it's a health hazard or not, but there is definitely some rubbish being talked here. In Russia, for example, people's homes are heated to a very high temperature inside during the winter.

pigletmania Fri 30-Nov-12 08:33:21

This is a choice, you don't have to go. Why subject a young baby to a cold damp house if you dnt have to. Even though the baby will have ayers the house will be cold and damp

FlangelinaBallerina Fri 30-Nov-12 08:37:25

AThing is right about the amount of attention people in cold climates pay to keeping warm. They have state subsidised heating fuel in Russia, or they used to anyway. To listen to some posters here you'd think they left their babies outside in snowstorms! And even in prehistoric winters, people sheltered in caves with a big fire. That can actually get quite toasty. So OP, if your aunt will let you light a bonfire in her living room to keep warm, it will totally be the same thing. Otherwise, it's completely irrelevant.

There are people who manage in that kind of cold because they have to, and don't die. The issue is whether you want to volunteer for it, though. Oh, and in the middle of the countryside this weekend, 'freezing' is optimistic. At night it will probably be below.

honeytea Fri 30-Nov-12 08:44:09

I think it depends on how warm your home usually is.

I grew up with no central heating and it was fine, but now I live in Sweden and they keep their homes very very warm, in apartments they are not allowed to let it get cooler than 20 degrees it is recommended to be at least 22 degrees.

When I go home to my parents house in the UK they have the heating on for a couple of hours a day despite having a hot tub that surely uses more energy than the central heating? it does feel very very cold.

2 years ago we stayed in a hotel made of ice it was -5 in the room we slept in but I actually felt colder at my mum's.

AThingInYourLife Fri 30-Nov-12 09:08:03

I mean, if the OP was asking whether she should take her baby to the home of an aunt who had had a fall and needed to be looked after, I would be saying that the baby would be fine for a weekend, bring a heater, wrap up warm.

But this is a social visit. Why would you take a baby to an unheated house on a supposedly freezing weekend for fun?


It's baffling.

BrianButterfield Fri 30-Nov-12 09:15:28

Quite a lot of us grew up in homes without central heating and yes, we survived, but I bet we can all remember being very cold in bed some nights and not very happy about it! And that was in a situation where there wasn't really another option. Victorian houses have fireplaces in the bedroom for a reason - they weren't heating those room during the day, you know. I just don't know why you would take a baby to an unheated house in literally freezing temperatures for no real reason. It's not necessary and it won't be nice for her, even if she will be OK. It's not the 1970s!

AThingInYourLife Fri 30-Nov-12 09:18:29

"I just don't know why you would take a baby to an unheated house in literally freezing temperatures for no real reason. It's not necessary and it won't be nice for her, even if she will be OK."


LtEveDallas Fri 30-Nov-12 09:24:03

As long as you don't mind not seeing your aunt for 6 months, then don't go. it depends how much she means to you I suppose.

If it is important to you to see her, then there is no obstacle you cannot overcome for the sake of a weekend. Warm clothes, plug in heater (I prefer a radiator rather than a blow heater) and lots of cuddles.

Remember your DD will be a year old the next time your aunt sees her, she may be keen to say goodbye.

Your choice, being in a cold house will not necessarily make your DD sick any more than being in a hot house would.

dreamingbohemian Fri 30-Nov-12 09:29:08

I have Russian friends. They heat the crap out of their homes!

I would not take a 5 month old -- they can't run around to warm up, they can't tell you they're too cold -- if she were used to it, that would be one thing, but it will probably be a bit of a shock and not too pleasant for her.

ISeeThreadPeople Fri 30-Nov-12 09:30:43

If you don't want to go, don't go. But don't blame it on the baby.

I don't bother with heating upstairs at all and never have and just light the woodburner when I feel like it, plus I grew up in a house with no heating. I don't remember being miserable at all, just fond memories of water bottles, eider downs, electric blankets eventually etc.

It's not about reasonable or unreasonable. Either you want to go or you don't and either you'll do it or you won't. Cold house won't harm your baby in any noticeable way if you dress appropriately.

Plenty of other sensible suggestions here such as heaters.

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Fri 30-Nov-12 09:36:07

THIS is possibly the stupidest thing I have read in a long while:

Loveweekends10 Fri 30-Nov-12 02:01:04
No they don't give birth in cold countries do they? Yes it's a shame no one has babies in Russia or Mongolia isn't it?

Loveweekends, do you think people in Russia and Mongolia dont live in houses, or dont have heating? Even my friends from Ulan Bator had central heating! And their relatives who still lived in Yurts had it pretty nice and snug with fires burning, even if the winds are blowing outside.
They dress in fur and sheepskins, to keep the cold out. Babies sleep in ship skin and other skin sleeping bags in those conditions. check out what scandinavian babies snuggle in

You cant compare like that simply because
a) Russia, Mongolia, and indeed the arctic have DRY cold, and Britain has bone-chilling damp cold. The cold is not the biggest problem but the combination of damp and cold make it a lot harder to keep warm.
b) People in the countries you mention (and indeed the arctic where I am from) wear different clothes and shoes. Layers of wool, and down and fur.

A trip to an unheated house in Dorset, cant compare to Russia, Mongolia or Norway and Finland or Spitsbergen at all.

(I know which ones I would prefer wink )

bondigidum Fri 30-Nov-12 09:37:44


Central heating is relatively new. Not so long ago you had one fire in the front room and often people couldn't afford to light it so a lot of people grew up in a freezing house. My mum said they used to leg it downstairs after their bath because the house was too cold to stand around getting dried so they'd run to get in front of the fire.

Also I reckon a lot of people now probably live without the heating because its too expensive. Our boiler bust in January and we had to live a weekend without it, our DC were 22 months&7 months, I was in first trimester as well. We dealt with it, had no other option. Just layered kids up and on a night lots of blankets/sleeping bags.

If it was a week i'd say yanbu just because its really annoying and impractical filling baths up with kettle water but a weekend will be fine.

shellshock7 Fri 30-Nov-12 09:38:04

The radiator in my 8m DSs room is not working properly the last few days, I tried an electric heater (a fan heater would wake him up) but that made him so stuffy, it's really not good for a baby, so he's back in our room till its fixed....I wouldn't sleep in there so why should he smile

Mumsyblouse Fri 30-Nov-12 09:41:04

People are really daft about the cold on MN. In Russia and cold countries, they understand how dangerous the cold is, to the young (who cannot regulate their own body temperatures) and the old, so they spend a vast amount of their time and money heating their homes. In Eastern Europe, I am never cold in winter, they have extremely effective heating delivered centrally to their flats, or if you go into the countryside, they have wood burners/oil fulled heaters, they would never ever suggest leaving a baby in an unheated house! If they have no money, and are poor, they live in one room and sleep in it altogether, for the entire winter. They don't go upstairs, simple.

And, as for all those saying, we didn't have central heating, what, you had no heating whatsoever for the entire winter? If you have even one room downstairs with a coal fire, it heats the upstairs rooms just a tiny bit. That's why I wouldn't go unless they were heating the downstairs rooms, I'd take a fan heater/oil filled heater and have it on.

But you can end up overheating a baby in a cold house by overdressing/using duvets etc, you just have to be sensible and not over-react.

I wouldn't personally go, I hate being cold and would spend the entire weekend shivering and feeling miserable, as I find once the cold sets in, it's hard to get warm again unless they are happy for you to all sit under duvets!

dreamingbohemian Fri 30-Nov-12 09:45:26

That's a good point Mumsy, there's a big difference between hardly ever turning on the heat and being in a house that hasn't had any heat at all for days.

I have to say, I prefer spending winter in properly cold places where they take cold seriously, to sorta-cold places where people try to tough it out.

charleybarley Fri 30-Nov-12 09:47:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Camdenstyles Fri 30-Nov-12 09:47:57

Update: have decided not to go and just found out from my MIL the Aunt has a cold too, which she failed to mention on the phone. I too grew up without central heating and we would sometimes get ice inside the windows but it's not pleasant for anyone. I love the fact that the UK has central heating in most houses, it's lovely smile
She'll probably be offended but I will see her in NZ when we go home to visit this summer.

BrianButterfield Fri 30-Nov-12 09:50:33

When we moved into our house it had been empty for a while. It was March but it had been snowing and even with the electric fire on downstairs and a plug-in heater it was so hideously, unbearably cold. There was no residual warmth in the walls at all.

Mumsyblouse Fri 30-Nov-12 09:50:38

dreaming Not Quint I totally agree, my husband hates spending time at my mum's house in the UK because it is cold and draughty and she has the heating on very low so nothing freezes, but not enough to be able to relax. He's from a country where it is regularly -20 or worse in winter, but they alway heat their homes very heavily, it's not an option there unless you want to die of hypothermia/have a heart attack/stroke in the night (which sadly lots of old people do as they are unable to afford heating).

SugarplumMary Fri 30-Nov-12 09:51:49


But I don't think you'll get people to agree with that.

When our first was under 5 months in December - IL wanted us to visit so we could go to their house and turn the heating on and get basic shopping in so it was all there when they returned of their overseas holiday.

We would have had to travel for over 2 half hours in December carrying all the baby stuff - waiting for buses and trains and then walking 45 minutes in freezing cold to get to a house with no heating on and no food.

We got phone calls from friends and family just round the corner from IL telling us how completely unreasonable we were being hmm and the baby would be fine.

We went few days after when the house was warm and we got a food delivery with baby stuff like nappies all waiting for us there – it was still a long cold hard journey.

I think your options are see if you visit another time – mid week, cut the visit short a day visits for a few hours, met somewhere in middle, have them come to you or wait another 6 months to meet up or find a hotel to stop in.

Janeatthebarre Fri 30-Nov-12 10:13:03

YANBU. Not so much because of the baby who probably won't notice if she's wrapped up in layers but because there's nothing more miserable than a really cold house.
I know years ago people didn't have central heating but when you've become used to it, it's very hard to acclimatise to an unheated house.

naturalbaby Fri 30-Nov-12 10:16:01

I get grumpy and miserable visiting cold houses but no heating would be the tipping point for me!

Taking fan heaters is a good idea - our bedroom is toasty in minutes with ours.

Mumsyblouse Fri 30-Nov-12 10:20:55

People used to heat their houses before central heating in Britain you know! In the 1970's we had two coal fires downstairs which were lovely, and a portable electric heater for if we were ill, or it was very very cold at night, otherwise bedrooms unheated, used to dress downstairs, have bed socks on and make a run for it (then do stars with your arms and legs in the bed to heat it up!)

I even remember a horse and cart coming with the coal I must be ancient

People may not have had central heating, but that's why terraces were great, if your neighbour heated theirs, you benefitted!

FlangelinaBallerina Fri 30-Nov-12 10:22:16

The layers is also a good point, and indeed people living right out in the coldest areas in Mongolia and Russia often wear animal skins, furs. They also did this in prehistoric times. Got any yakskins to hand, OP? Or mammoth hide boots?

I'd pull a sickie if I were you. Tell them you and the baby both have the epic shits. People never want to know details if you have the shits.

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