As the temperature rises there are always worries about how to keep babies cool. Whether you are used to dealing with a winter baby and have it all sorted until the temperature jumps, or your newborn summer baby arrived in a heatwave there are some does and don’t to keep everyone safe and comfortable.
Ideally your baby’s room will have a temperature around 16-18C. Of course this is hard to manage when the temperature is in the 30s all day and not much less overnight.
Keeping blinds and curtains closed during the day will help and if you can get air flowing then opening the window as the air cools a but will hopefully give a breeze. Remember to open a few windows in the house so air flows better.
You might be able to have an air conditioning unit which can be great but isn’t for everyone. More commonly you might want to use a fan. Keep the fan a safe distance from the cot and watch out for trailing cables. Keep it moving rather than aimed at baby all the time and you can even try putting a frozen bottle of water in front of the fan so the cooler air is blown around.
A cool (not cold) bath before bedtime might help your baby settle to sleep.
As a general rule your baby wears a layer more than you but when it’s boiling and you are in a vest top that probably doesn’t need to apply. It’s absolutely fine for your baby to be in a nappy or just a nappy and vest. Keep an eye on their temperature by checking at the back of their neck or top of the chest. This will give a better idea of their temperature than feeling hands or face.
When they are sleeping you might not need any cover or you can buy 0.5 tog sleeping bags which are very thin. You might prefer to just use a sheet or a muslin to have something over them. Your baby is more likely to alert you to being too cold than too warm so if they start the night with a light cover and the temperature drops you can check their skin to see if they are cool and adjust accordingly.
If you are out in the sun it’s best to keep baby in the shade or covered with loose thin clothing. Their skin is very sensitive and under 6 months sun cream is not recommended.
Pushchairs and Prams
I’ve just said shade is the important thing and you will probably be trying to think how to keep your little one shaded in the pram or pushchair as there are times you will find the sun is right on them. You might have a little parasol that attaches to your pram or maybe a hood that comes far over. This is ideal and if you don’t have these you can buy a shade that looks like an extended hood to stretch far over the pushchair.
Please avoid using blankets or cloths to cover the pram completely. It might seem like your little one is safely cocooned with something draped over the hood but it will get warmer inside if the air can’t flow and you won’t be able to see them in there either.
Don't cover prams so air can't circulate
You can buy special mesh covers or shades or parasols to keep your baby safe but still allowing air to flow around them.
What if you want or need to carry your baby? Absolutely you might both end up in a sweaty mess but you can still carry your baby in the heat. If it’s something you do regularly you might want to find a sling that is thinner fabric and designed for warmer weather. Remember that the fabric is an extra layer around your baby so they might need less clothes.
Light cotton clothes for both of you is your best bet and you might want to make sure that your baby has trousers that are long to cover their legs and feet as trousers tend to get pulled up in a sling and you might not be able to see what’s going on down there. Be aware of what skin is exposed and make sure your baby has a sun hat on.
If you use a wrap you can position the fabric to keep as much of your baby covered as possible.
If you are both getting too hot find a shady spot to have a break and take baby out for a cool down.
If you want you could even use an umbrella to keep you both cool!
Feeding / Milk
When it’s hot hydration is really important and as you are drinking more you might be thinking about your baby’s hydration too.
If they are under 6 months and breastfed your baby doesn’t need any extra water. They might want to feed more frequently and your milk will likely be more watery to help with their hydration. Let them feed as often as they want, you might find there are more but shorter feeds as they just need some fluids.
If they are formula fed you can offer a little cooled boiled water in between feeds but remember water will fill their little tummies without any calories so it’s sensible to limit it to ensure it doesn’t interfere with milk feeds.
Once babies are over 6 months you will be offering water with meals and you might encourage a few more sips throughout the day or have the cup available for them. You can also think about offering foods with more fluid in – lovely chunks of watermelon to suck on!
Enjoy your summer!
It might seem a bit daunting navigating the heat at first but it’s a lovely time to have some fun with your baby. Cooler walks to the park in the morning or evenings, playing on grass or sand and even a splash in the paddling pool will bring some lovely new experiences.