In Ireland, a spell of warm weather takes us by surprise. We may have heard the weather forecast promising the heat to reach the dizzy heights of the early to mid twenties, but we really don’t believe it until they hit! A fantastic boost for all of us, positively affecting our mood and general well being.
But what do we do with the baby??
I’ve heard the question being asked by mums over the years, “Is she sick or is it just the heat?” If that question needs to be asked, then baby needs to be made comfortable as soon as possible. A baby can overheat a lot quicker than anyone else as they have not begun to sweat yet, thus unable to regulate their body temperature. An agitated and flushed baby during hot weather may be a warning sign that they are becoming dehydrated or their body temperature is rising too quickly, both scenarios can have detrimental effects.
Here are some points to remember when caring for a baby during our hot spell…
* Clothing – When indoors, dress the baby in similar clothes as yourself. If you are comfortable in a light T-shirt and shorts, baby should be comfortable in similar. When outdoors, have the baby’s arms and legs covered in breathable fabric (e.g. cotton) and their face covered from the sun (hat with rim or peak).
*Hydration – Babies should be offered one and a half times their usual liquid consumption during hot weather(formula/breast milk for under 6 months, water or formula/breast milk for over 6 months old). So, for example, if a baby usually consumes 50 ml formula, she should be offered 75 ml. If breast feeding, offer to nurse her more often than usual.
* Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day – Avoid bringing your baby outdoors between the hours of 11am and 2pm. If this is not possible, keep her covered and in the shade. When using a shade on a buggy or pram, make sure it is ventilated. A sheet covering a buggy is not always suitable during hot weather, as there is not suitable ventilation and the air under that cover can get very warm causing danger to the little one, especially if the buggy is in a stationary position.
* Use sun cream – Apply sun cream to your baby’s whole body. Most sun creams are suitable for babies but if you are unsure, any good chemist will be able to advise you.
* Bring down a temperature – If you need to bring your baby’s body heat down quickly, take her inside, strip her down and sponge her thighs with tepid (not cold) water. Do not let her sleep as it may be difficult to rouse her.
If your baby seems uncomfortable during this hot spell, don’t dismiss it. An overheated baby can lead to trouble quite quickly.