Ideas for summer baby care
Yes, finally summer is coming. This a great time to get outdoors and enjoy our lovely weather, but there are a few things to think about around keeping our babies cool.
Out and about
It is important to keep babies under six months out of direct sun as much as possible. Remember that you can get burnt in the shade. You can be burnt from direct sun and also indirect sun, which is when the sun's UV rays are bounced back from surfaces such as concrete.
Try to avoid being out in the heat of the day and if walking, try and do an early morning or late afternoon walk.
Car seats can heat up in warmer temperatures and I suggest that if your car is exposed to the sun, then it is a good idea to cover the seat with a blanket so the buckles don't overheat on your return to the car. Once inside, the back seats of cars may be hotter than the front of the car as it takes longer for the aircon to reach the back.
If you are using a baby carrier, look out for one made from lighter material. A hat on baby is a good idea if they're in a front pack - in my experience I often see babies in carriers with the top of their head exposed to the sun, even though the parent might be wearing glasses and a sun hat. It's a good idea to check your baby when they're in a carrier to make sure they're not overheating.
When out and about it is a good idea to ensure you have adequate head coverage if your baby is exposed to the sun. Encouraging the use of sun glasses from an early age is also a good idea.
I suggest avoiding materials that will encourage overheating and in my experience natural fibres such as cotton are ideal for our hot summer months. Natural fibres such as cotton help with absorption of perspiraton and of course keeps a baby cooler.
For babies in sleeping bags I suggest a 0.5 tog (thermal insulance) weight for daytime naps and a slightly heavier one like a 1.0 or 1.5 tog weight for night time. When putting babies to bed at night I tend to use long sleeved cotton onesies to avoid their arms getting cold overnight.
Babies under six months need just their breast milk. Breastfed babies might feed anywhere from 90 minutes to 4 hourly during the day and again overnight however as long as they are putting on weight and there are no medical conditions you can consider letting them sleep until they wake for a feed overnight.
In New Zealand we have very hot and humid days in summer and many homes do not have aircon. My recommended temperature for a baby's room is around 18 to 20 degrees, however it is also important to consider the outside temperature as well.
Keeping rooms cool is hard and some of my suggestions are as follows:
- Opening all the windows in the house to create cross ventilation.
- Turning off electrial applicances that aren't needed for use at the same time.
- Electric fans, possibly with frozen bottles of ice or a bowl of ice in front of the fan as it melts it helps cool the room down.
If using fans though please remember little fingers and ensure they are out of a toddler's reach.