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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?

BigBirdisSaved Fri 30-Nov-12 14:30:56

We don't heat our house apart from a few days a year. Now we live in an extremely mild climate but it does still get down to about 9 degrees at night in winter. We do this because DS#1 and I have asthma and all of us have allergies and we have found that we are wayyyy healthier if we keep the house cold. It makes such a huge difference. When DS#2 was tiny we had a hot air blower for nappy changes and bath time but otherwise just layered. I always used the one more layer than I had rule and he was fine. Even when we went up to the snow he didn't need that much bulk, just plenty of light layers. We have always had warm pjs, hot water bottles and good duvets.

Now saying that, I wouldn't go if the cold makes you miserable unless I took a heater and told my hosts that I planned to bring it.

rotavirusrita Fri 30-Nov-12 12:47:40

oh and fwiw the only reason i know it was over 3 yrs agop was that it broke shortly before I gave birth to DS3 3 yrs ago! He disnt seem to get poorly more than other babies

rotavirusrita Fri 30-Nov-12 12:45:44

lol is this a good thread to admit we havent had functioning central heating for over 3 yrs? we have a solid fuel fire thing, 2 fan heaters if needed and hot water bottles and 3 children under 8.

I actually hate being cold..... but find it works fine without central heating. put on some extra layers and you'll be fine.

LaCiccolina Fri 30-Nov-12 12:45:11

Why don't you just ask her? Say I'm a bit worried that young baby will get cold/ill therefore I'm thinking we might leave it this weekend. Have you already been shopping? Understand we can't see you til X date, which is sad but we think this poss for best. Sincerely hope fixed for you....

If she's been shopping it's harder to say no and would be more u.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Fri 30-Nov-12 12:42:41

take a heater with you?

HazleNutt Fri 30-Nov-12 12:39:23

YANBU, I would not go myself, even without a baby. And would move to a hotel if the heating broke in my own house. Nothing makes me as miserable as being cold.

BrianButterfield Fri 30-Nov-12 11:29:22

If the aunt's that bothered, the roads run both ways...

LtEveDallas Fri 30-Nov-12 11:12:34

Does OP say all the heating is gone? Don't most centrally heated houses have a secondary heat source?

I feel a little sorry for the Aunt TBH. There she was looking forward to seeing her nephew and his daughter and now through no fault of her own (unless she took an axe to her boiler) she won't see them for 6 months. Aww.

I can't help but think this is far more to do with the OP than the baby smile

pigletmania Fri 30-Nov-12 10:33:11

Your baby comes first and I would not take my 5 month baby to an unheated house, not just for a day but a few. It won't be pleasant for anyone. Op you are doing the right thing

CheerfulYank Fri 30-Nov-12 10:24:48

*turn it down at night, I mean.

CheerfulYank Fri 30-Nov-12 10:24:29

It is all what you're used to as well...we turn our thermostat down to 14 in the winter (though our bedrooms are upstairs and small and stuffy, so they probably stay a bit warmer) but we're used to it. Also have lots of duvets, flannel sheets, wool socks, etc. Even then the first few weeks of winter are always takes awhile to toughen back up! smile

Glad you've come to a decision OP...if you were going to be miserable there's no point in a visit anyway, I suppose.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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!

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

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.

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 )

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