How to keep your baby cool in hot weather.
With the warm weather here and summer around the corner, you might start to think about how to keep your little one safe in the sun and heat. Babies are vulnerable to very high temperatures, so in hot weather you'll need to take extra care to protect your baby from overheating and sun exposure.
Keeping your baby cool in hot weather is really a lot about using your common sense however. Avoid direct sunlight where possible. Best is to stay in the shade, and stay inside during the hottest part of the day, around 11am to 3pm.
Dress your baby in thin layers and in breathable natural fibres, like cotton, linen or bamboo and use a sun hat with big rim to keep the sun out of the face. You may also want to consider leaving your baby without any socks as a lot of heat is lost through the feet. In this case, don’t forget to cream them in with a high factor sunscreen.
Babies can become dehydrated very quickly in hot weather, so keep a good supply of liquids at hand.
Breastfed babies need more breast milk in hot weather, and bottle fed babies will benefit from small amounts of cooled boiled water in between their feeds. If you are breastfeeding, remember to drink more yourself also to compensate for the double loss of fluid due to heat and added feeds.
Sleep is also difficult in the heat. You can prepare for this earlier in the day already by keeping the blinds drawn in your baby’s bedroom during the day, so the sun doesn’t shine into it. And just before bedtime, give your baby a cool bath to lower their body temperature, which will help them sleep better. If your babies’ room is upstairs and s/he has trouble sleeping because of the heat, let them sleep downstairs if possible, as this will generally be cooler.
On the go, at home or holidays, baby carriers are a great way to move about and get to places, but of course, a carrier will add to the layers you wear. So can you use a baby carrier in the heat?
Yes, you can. Even though a baby carrier or sling is added layer of clothing, it will not get too hot for your baby if you take the right precautions. Think about certain cultures in Africa and Asia, where parents have been using a cloth carrier for generations. There are however certain things you can do to make carrying in the heat more comfortable for you both.
Dress yourself and your baby for this and choose a light carrier with no padding. A buckle carrier will allow for more air flow than a wrap. Natural fibres like cotton, linen or bamboo will also help you to stay cooler, so opt for these, especially if you decide to use a baby wrap. If your baby is old enough, has head control and sits up, try hip or back carries, which will be much cooler for the both of you.
And when you carry your baby, remember the bare feet! Having your baby in a carrier is a great opportunity to keep off those socks.
You can also consider using a cool gel pack near your babies’ tummy or chest, but not on bare skin, which will help to stay cooler for some time, or hold it against baby's skin from time to time. Alternatives are cool damp muslin between you and your baby, or a dry muslin to wick away sweat.
Other things you can consider using are hand held fans, and a parasol will offer relieve to you both.
Finally, do take regular breaks from the baby carrier. Be in the shade where both you and baby can cool down a little and refresh yourselves.