Being pregnant in the heat of the summer can be a sweaty old time with “cankles” and chaffing thrown in for good measure! But once your baby is born things become a whole lot trickier; newborns aren’t very good at regulating their temperature, they can’t move themselves or take clothes off to cool down, and in the early days, as you are getting to know them, it may be hard to read their signals when they are trying to tell you that they’re hot or thirsty. Let’s have a look at some tips on how to look after your newborn in the summer heat.
We all feel thirstier in hot weather and so will your baby, so it’s important to give them more fluids to prevent them from getting dehydrated. If you are breastfeeding extra breastfeeds will quench their thirst; the foremilk (the first part of any breastfeed) is more watery for this reason. So if your baby is showing signs that they want more frequent breastfeeds it may not be because they are hungry; they can just want a feed because they feel thirsty.
If you are bottle feeding artificial formula you can give your baby cooled boiled water throughout the day in between their milk feeds. If they wake in the night they will probably want milk but if they’ve recently had their usual feed then try the cooled boiled water as well.
Watch the temperature
Investing in a room thermometer is one the best pieces of kit for life with a newborn; it helps to remind you whether the room is too hot (or too cold) and prompts you to take action accordingly. If it is a really hot day consider keeping blinds or curtains closed to keep the rooms cool by blocking out the heat of the sun and use fans to circulate the air in the room (but don’t put the baby in the draft of the fan). Otherwise, try to cool your room by opening windows to let the air in.
Always think about your baby’s clothing in relation to what you’re wearing – if you are walking around the house in shorts and a vest top and breaking a sweat then your little one is not going to be comfortable in the traditional newborn outfit of vest, babygrow and cardigan! So strip them down to their vests and bear in mind that they will also extra warm when they are being cuddled and fed, so you may need to undress them further just to a nappy when breastfeeding. Avoid using breastfeeding pillows or lying baby on anything soft as these will also act as insulation and make them warmer.
Stay in the shade
Babies under 6 months of age should not be exposed to direct sunlight, therefore your newborn needs to stay indoors or be in the shade if taken outdoors for a walk. Use only a purpose made parasol or canopy on your pram to give them some protection; don’t drape a towel or blanket over the pram to create shade because this traps heat inside the pram and your baby can quickly overheat. If you prefer to carry your baby in a sling pop a sunhat on them and remember their position and your body heat will also make them warmer and it’s important for you to stay in the shade because their little arms & legs may be exposed. Make sure you follow the TICKS rule for safe babywearing so you can keep an eye on them.
Thanks for reading.
Jane – The Midwife x
For more blogs on pregnancy, birth and life as a new mum please visit www.naturalbirthingcompany.com/blogs/news
If you are unsure about anything or have any worries about your baby please speak to your Midwife or Doctor. If you have urgent concerns about your baby you should call the NHS helpline 111 without delay.