With this recent heat wave how can you keep baby cool? It can be difficult enough for adults, so how do you make sure your little ones are not overheating?
Seek the shade – As sunscreen is unsuitable for babies under 6 months, keep them out of direct sunlight. Use a parasol in the garden, sit in the shade of a tree in the park and find the shady spot outside the café. For older babies use a 15+ sunscreen (a natural one containing a sunblock such as zinc oxide is preferable to a chemical sunscreen) and try to avoid the peak of the sunshine and heat between 11pm and 3pm. Recent research suggests the common practice of covering a baby’s pram with a blanket or muslin can significantly increase the temperature around a baby and should be avoided. A parasol or sunscreen attached to their pram or buggy is a better solution.
Stay Fluid – If your baby is breastfed they will not need extra water but may want to feed more frequently. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids to cope with the demand. Bottle fed babies can be given cooled boiled water in addition to their usual milk feeds. For babies over 6 months ice lollies made with fruit juice can be fun as well as cooling and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet will up their fluid intake.
Dress Less – Choose loose clothing and lightweight, breathable materials such as cotton for your baby. Even with sunscreen it is a good idea to keep the vulnerable shoulder area covered and a wide brimmed hat with a neck flap can protect these easily burnt areas and keep baby cool. If you are using a sling for your baby, consider this as a layer and adjust their clothing to compensate.
Hot Summer Nights – Aim for a room temperature between 16 – 20C to keep your baby comfortable. Having the blinds down and curtains partially drawn during the day and windows open to allow a through breeze will stop the temperature from rising too high in their room. If you have a fan, use this before they go to sleep to bring the temperature down.
Before bedtime a tepid bath can help to cool your baby. Let them to enjoy a kick on a towel afterwards to air dry and allow excess heat to evaporate.
At bedtime the rule of one extra layer than you have can be a helpful guide. A nappy and thin well fitted sheet or a nappy and cotton vest may be sufficient on the hottest nights, if the temperature of the room is above 27C. Keep a check during the night by feeling their tummy or back of the neck with your hand and checking the thermometer – add or remove layers in response to this.
I hope these tips helps to keep baby cool and happy so you can relax and enjoy the summer sun!
Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre’ and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at nomnomskincare.com