The heatwave is upon us and it can be a worrying time for parents to know how to keep their babies (particularly newborns) cool in this heat, especially as we’re not used to this unusually hot weather. The intense temperatures during a heatwave can leave our little ones feeling irritable and uncomfortable.
Here are some useful tips to help you keep your baby cool and comfortable in the heat:
Skin to Skin
Skin to skin can be a great way to regulate babies temperatures, especially newborns. Skin to skin has other benefits such as improving the microbiome (good bacterial count) and settling an unsettled baby. It has also been shown to improve maternal mental wellbeing when skin to skin is undertaken further after work.
Your baby’s feeding patterns may change with the changes in temperature. Continue to feed responsively, either breastfeeding or bottle. Some babies will want to feed more in the day, others will make up for it at night-time. Follow what your baby needs. They will tell you how thirsty they are. For baby’s who are breastfed, your body will produce more milk, which will aid hydration.
To make feeding your baby more comfortable for you both in the heat, place a muslin between yourself and your baby when feeding – this will stop a sticky arm whether your are breast or bottle feeding. You can also do this as an alternative to direct skin to skin by having a thin muslin in between you both – just monitor your baby’s temperature to ensure your baby remains warm enough.
It can be really hard to cool homes over the summer period, but anything you can do to try and cool rooms will help. Keep curtains and blinds shut during the day and only open windows in the evening when the temperature begins to drop.
Try too cool rooms as much as possible. A room thermometer can help guide how many layers your baby will require to sleep in. Ideally you are aiming for 16-20 degrees for your room temperature to reduce the chance of SIDs (sudden infant death) – but this is a real challenge in the summer. What is really important is adapting what you dress your baby in relation to the temperature of the room, especially over the course of the night.
In terms of fans to cool the room, you should have no fans directly on your baby but you can use ice packs in the room in front of fans to cool the room further in the summer.
Checking your Baby’s Temperature
An easy way to check your baby’s temperature is by putting two fingers on their chest or back. This will give you a good indication of how many layers they require. If your baby feels clammy or hot, remove layers and if they are cool to the touch, add layers.
Being a new parent in the summer can be hard. Babies want to be close to us and cuddle us. Ways to keep yourself cool include having a cold foot bath, a cold wet flannel on the back of your neck, and cold drinks or food. You can also put any moisturisers or facial products in the fridge to use and cool yourself. Putting a hot water bottle into the freezer can make a great cold ice pack, which you can wrap in a thin sheet or muslins. You can place your own bedsheets in the freezer to put on your bed before you go to bed to remain cool overnight.
Finally, chocolate in the fridge or ice cream are also refreshing ways to cool yourself and give yourself a treat to enjoy.