How to cope in the heatwave with a baby
Now those of you who know me well will be very aware I am all for alternative, non medical therapies, I’ll happily admit that I’m the first to insert a garlic clove into my vagina to help treat thrush, a practice I have been doing since working as a midwife at Leicester General Hospital, where my ward manager first introduced me to this revelation. I find it works a charm but please use it overnight and wrap a decent length of cotton around the clove so that you can easily retrieve it. And make sure you pierce the clove with the thread so that the garlic releases the anti- fungal allicin The reason I advocate overnight use it that you absolutely HUM of garlic in the morning but at least I keep those vampires at bay ;-) And do not use if pregnant, as garlic is an anti-coagulant which means you’ll have less clotting factors if you bleed and your vagina becomes even more vascular in pregnancy.
There was an American gynaecologist who wrote an article a couple of years back saying not to do this but her argument was that there could be bacterium from the soil on the garlic but you take the skin off the clove anyway, so that’s never stopped me! Here’s the links to both The Midwifery Today article on this practice and said gynaecologist if you’d like to take a look and make up your own mind:
Anyway I’ve digressed slightly, what I really wanted to speak of in this article is what to do with your little babies during this hot weather:
-Keep them in the shade between 10-4.
-High factor sunblock 50+ if they are in the sun and reapply regularly.
-Cover your babies arms and legs if in the sun, dress them in clothes made from closet woven fabric made of natural fibres. Bamboo is a personal favourite as it has thermoregulating properties.
-Dress them in just a nappy and vest (ideally keep them in the shade so that you don’t need to use long sleeves or trousers to cover their legs and arms.) The NHS reccomends keeping all babies under six months out of direct sunlight.
-Wide rimmed hat that covers the neck and face.
-A parasol on your buggy is preferential to covering your pram with a blanket as will let fresh air and a slight breeze through
-It is normal for your baby to be demanding the breast more in warmer weather and may be having shorter feeds just to obtain the watery milk. Your body will be compensating for the warmer weather and altering your breastmilk to make it more thirst quenching to suit your babies needs.
-Remember to take on plenty of fluids yourself as breastmilk is 88% water and remember you need an extra 500 calories per day when breastfeeding.
-I would also advocate breastfeeding your baby in just their nappy because you will be radiating heat from each other due to the closeness.
-If formula feeding, babies can be given small amounts of cool boiled water but DO NOT dilute their formula feeds, you should still make the milk up as per the guidelines on the tin. Babies under 6 months old should not be allowed to consume large amounts of water as it can lead to water intoxication.
-You might find it useful to split their feeds however so they are getting regular hydration, for example if they are having 60mls four hourly, you could offer 30mls every two hours instead.
-Pyjamas and bedclothes should be kept to a minimum, and if a baby kicks off its bedcovers during the night then they could sleep in just a nappy - babies sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16C (61F) and 20C (68F).
-Black out blinds are great for blocking out sunlight to help not disrupt your little one’s circadian rhythm and help with their sleep patterns, however have these open in the daytime otherwise they will create an oven effect. If you just have curtains however, keep these closed during the day to block the sunlight and keep the bedroom that little bit cooler.
-I wouldn’t be tempted to have a fan directly on a baby at night time, because even though it is better for a baby to be cooler rather than too hot (a baby will cry when it is cold but when they are too hot they become unable to alert you due to being unrousable) a cold breeze might make it difficult for them to sleep, especially for newborns as we worry about them becoming cold from things like air conditioning on the labour suite, or drafts from open windows on the postnatal wards etc.
-If you are weaning offer your baby water throughout the day (preferably from a cup without a spout as you want to encouraging sipping rather than suckling) but not mineral water as this is too concentrated in minerals for your baby’s immature kidneys to process.
-Also offer your babies foods that are high in water. All of the following foods contain over 90% water, I have excluded celery as it has quite a potent/ strong taste but if your baby likes it- then go for it!
-Strawberries -Broccoli -Cauliflower -Watermelon -Cantaloupe melon -Cucumber -Tomatoes (but not whole as these pose a choking risk) -Iceberg lettuce -Green peppers-Spinach -Star fruit -Baby carrots
Signs of dehydration include: -Few wet nappies -Severely/ noticeably sunken anterior fontanelle -Drowsiness -Glazed eyes and a dry mouth or tongue.If babies exhibit these signs go straight to A&E.
Hopefully this was helpful, any questions on the above feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org and remember to have fun and enjoy the sun safely.
Ps. Remember that babies/ toddlers are little people too, I have heard plenty of adults moaning about the heat this last few days and complaining that they cannot sleep, so don’t be surprised if you have a little one that is struggling too.