Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ideas for cool babies on hot days

It's a stinking hot day here in the middle of a very hot summer, so we're all feeling a little bit wilted here. Here's some ways to keep baby cool in the summer.

Seek the cool

If it's wet, shady or has air conditioning, then go there! Visits to air conditioned libraries, shops, a friend's house with air con or anywhere else you can find the cool, especially in the hottest part of the day, can make a big difference. A swim at the beach, a pool or in the bath tub can also be great, especially in the late afternoon while waiting for the cool change to come through.

 Avoid the hot

Super hot days generally aren't the days for a bush walking adventure, playing sport, gardening or sunbaking (eep!). If you don't have air conditioning in your car, then it's crucial that you try to avoid all but the shortest trips if you have a little one. Cars get so hot in the sun, even with the windows down and the parents in the car. If you can't delay a drive across town or on the highway, then see if you can leave bubba with someone else, borrow a car with air conditioning, or leave very early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the sweltering hours. If you find youself with no option but to do a long drive in the middle of a hot day (as we did once) then you'll need to be almost in crisis mode. Do whatever you can to keep bub from being overheated - perhaps someone can sit in the back seat and fan baby, use a window shade (or tea towel) to keep the sun off bubba, wipe baby with a cool washer and keep the baby well hydrated.

Keep hydrated

It's so easy to become dehydrated when the weather's hot. Exclusively breastfed babies don't need to drink water as long as they are frequently offered the breast. More frequent nursing will cause the mother's supply to increase to respond to her baby's increased thirst. Short, frequent feeds also means that bubba will get more thirst quenching, watery foremilk (as opposed to the richer hindmilk) which is perfect for a hot day. Babies should have at least 5 - 6 heavy wet disposable nappies/ diaper, or 6 - 8 cloth nappies in a 24 hour period and urine should be very pale yellow or clear and not have a stong odour. If your bubba dehydrated, then try offering more feeds. Older children and adults should be passing urine every four hours and again it should be pale yellow and not have a strong odour - otherwise increase the fluids and cool down. Of course, if you or your child is very dehydrated and doesn't improve, then seek medical advice.

When it's hot the idea of being snuggled in close to someone to feed seems like a terrible idea, so often babies (and mothers) don't want to nurse when it's hot. Try feeding lying down, so that only you baby's mouth and your breast need to be touching. A tea towel or other cloth between you might also help avoid sticky, sweaty skin. As mention above, short and frequent feeds are generally best in hot weather and may be more bearable.

If you baby has formula and/ or is taking solids, then you may also offer some cooled, boiled water in a bottle or sippy cup. Don't ever water down formula or expressed breast milk - stick to the manufacturer's instructions, but you can offer water separately. Watery solids like runny stewed apple, watermelon, grapes and slushy purees can also help keep your baby hydrated. Water play with a few cups and face washers can also provide opportunities for bubs to stuck on some water.

Don't forget to keep yourself hydrated too. Thirst is a late dehydration sign, so keep drinking before you get thirsty. Lots of water or other cool drinks, watery fruit and seeking the shade are important for the big people as well as the little ones.

Try not to wear the cranky pants

Hot, sticky days usually mean whining, moaning, fidgeting and general crankiness. Your kiddies will probably feel this way too. Try to be sensitive to the decreased tolerance level in your family. Avoid stressful discussions if you can, get some space if you need to and don't try to do anything but the essentials.

Fun (and useful) hot day activities

Water play with a tub, some plastic cups and a few toys might keep bubs and you occupied and cool for a while.
Get a bucket of water and fill up lots of cups with water in the sandpit. Tipping them out will cool bub down and make the sand wet for better sand castles.
Grab a pile of books or pop on a DVD, get some cool drinks and set yourselves up for a lazy day in front of the fan or air conditioner.
A baby in the high chair with some ice cubes on the tray (or a wet washer in the freezer) can be fun to play with for a while.
A swim in a pool or a beach is great - just avoid the sun in the hottest time of the day.
If you've got air con in your car, a hot day is a great day to visit someone on the other side of town (or maybe the next town over...)
Turn the fan up to 11 and sit in front of it. See how it makes your hair go, send small pieces of paper flying across the room, and see what funny noises you can make by talking into the fan. (The kiddies might want to play this game too :) )
Anything air conditioned - movies, the library, ten pin bowling, shopping or a play centre.

For more advice about babies and hot weather look here , and stay cool!

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