The summer months are almost upon us, which means temperatures will soon be rising. While the first summer with your baby can be a lot of fun, you also need to remember that new born babies and infants can't regulate their body temperatures particularly well, so you'll need to take some precautions to keep them cool and comfortable. Not only will this prevent them from getting irritable, but it will also help to safeguard their health.
Here, we're going to share our top summer baby tips that will help you and your baby to enjoy the coming months as much as possible!
Protect your little one from the sun
Babies’ skin tends to contain very little melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their colour. It also offers protection from the sun. As a result, babies under six months should always be kept out of direct sunlight, and older infants should be kept in the shade as much as possible — particularly between the hours of 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest.
If you absolutely have to take your baby outside in the sun, make sure they’re always protected. You can do this by attaching a parasol or specially designed sunshade to their pushchair. You also need to remember that the sun’s rays can penetrate your car’s windows so, if you’re going to be driving somewhere, it’s a good idea to add shades to nearby windows, or a sunshade to their car seat.
Dressing your baby in a sunhat and light cotton clothing will also help to protect them from the sun and, if they’re more than six months old, you can also add a pair of sunglasses to shield their eyes from the sun’s rays. If you would like more information, make sure you read our guide to baby sun protection.
Keep them hydrated
We all know we should drink more fluids in the warmer months, but you might also need to take some steps to keep your baby hydrated. Healthy new born babies will typically get all of the water they need from breastmilk or formula, even when it's hot outside. So, you don't need to give them any extra — in fact, doing so could decrease their appetite and prevent them from getting all the nutrients they need.
Once your little one is six months of age, it should be safe to introduce them to water. From six to 12 months old, a baby requires at least eight ounces of water every day, on top of their usual breast milk or formula. Allowing them to take sips from a cup throughout the day should help to ensure that they're getting enough fluids, and you don't have to worry about them drinking too much.
When your baby hits the one-year mark, they'll need around four cups of water a day, which is half the recommended amount for adults. This is because they'll rely less on breast milk or formula to get their nutrients and will be eating more solid foods.
Avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke
Babies' bodies aren't able to regulate their temperature as well as ours, which means they're more prone to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If your little one overheats, this can be incredibly dangerous, so it's important that you take precautions to prevent this from happening.
Heat exhaustion occurs when your baby's body temperate rises to 37-40°C. This can cause the levels of water and salt in their body to drop, which can cause nausea, fainting, and heavy sweating. So, it's vital that you look out for early signs of them becoming irritated or overheated and take steps to cool them down as soon as possible.
If your baby's body temperature rises to 40°C, this is classed as heatstroke. In severe cases, this can lead to organ failure, brain damage, and even death, so you must do everything you can to stop it from happening. Keeping your baby in a well-ventilated and air-conditioned room during the hottest hours of the day will help, as will keeping them in the shade if you do go outside.
Take steps to keep them cool at night
We all know how uncomfortable summer nights can be. Fortunately, there are some tricks you can use to keep your little one cool and ensure they still get a good night's sleep.
Firstly, remove any unnecessary bedding and keep pyjamas to a minimum during the summer. A cool muslin sleeping bag will comfort them but also help to keep their body temperature down. If you find your son or daughter is still too warm, allowing them to sleep in just a nappy and vest, or even just their nappy, can be the perfect fix.
Giving them a tepid bath before bed and letting them airdry on a soft towel can cool their skin, and opening a few windows in your house can help to create a soothing breeze. We would also recommend keeping the blinds or curtains of your baby's bedroom closed during the day to keep the sun out and, as long as it's well out of reach, you can leave a fan on in their room all night if necessary.
Now you know some of the best tips and tricks that will help to keep your son or daughter cool and comfortable on even the hottest of days. If you would like more information, we have plenty more baby advice on our blog, which might interest you.