Leaving the safety of your own home for the first time, with your newborn baby can be very stressful. No doubt by now, you’ve second guessed yourself a thousand times over and the worry of your baby overheating is too much. I’ve learnt from experience, a few basic things you can do to reduce the chances of your baby becoming dehydrated. And that is the main issue you need to watch out for, in newborns and very young babies it can be very dangerous.
BUY A FAN
Sounds silly but it makes sense when you think about. Babies can warm themselves up but can’t cool themselves down. We picked up a portable, USB charged fan for £8 ($11) on eBay. It can clip onto any type of shape of pram and has 3 different settings so you can adjust depending on the heat or how hot your baby is getting. If you are worried about how many layers you baby is wearing, take a second to look at what you are wearing. Normally your baby is wearing one more layer than you, however in a hot climate one layer is enough. With another for the evening or early morning, when it is ‘fresher’.
They come in different colours if you to colour co-ordinate with your pram or stroller. You can also clip them onto your baby carrier, high chair or car seat. Small and versatile. Cheap and practical. And the best part is that it will clip onto any model or shape of pram, stroller, cot or crib. So if you want to avoid using air conditioning at night, (which often gives you a dry mouth and a cough) this is perfect to clip onto your sleeping area for baby.
So many options available to parents with varying degrees of price. We opted for a sunshade, not a parasol. Most parasols tend to be size specific to fit your brand of pram. Therefore when your baby outgrows their current pram, you may not be able to use it again. Each to their own. But you will need either a shade or parasol to keep your baby from being exposed to direct sunlight/sunshine for long periods of time.
Sweating helps to regulate your body’s temperature but if you lose too much water (from sweating or not drinking enough) you can suffer from dehydration. If you can get your little one to drink sterilised bottled water in between feeds this will help keep them hydrated.
If your baby will not drink the water then try and steadily increase the amount of milk/formula to at each feed to compensate. George would not drink sterilised water but, increased from 9oz of milk to 13oz at feeds to replenish his fluids. Once home he returned to 9oz.
LESS IS MORE
Less layers of clothes will assist your baby in not overheating but be warned, they must always wear sunscreen and should not be in direct sunlight. You must regularly apply sunscreen and change their nappy, as the sweat can cause nappy rash. A vest or t-shirt is perfectly acceptable. In your nursing bag carry a wet cloth in a zip sealed bag and when you feel your baby is looking flushed, give them a wipe down or place it on their head. Next time you use the bathroom, rinse and re-dampen the cloth, ready for next time.
STAY INSIDE IN PEAK HEAT
Stay in the shade and use a sunhat for your baby that covers their neck. For feeds, we always try to find a restaurant, cafe or bar with air con for everyone to cool down for an hour or so. You all need a break from the heat. Late afternoon and early morning are great times to explore your new surroundings or to lounge by the pool.
If you can’t avoid being in peak heat then follow all the steps above. Take breaks often. If you are using the pram as the baby’s primary mode of transport, take them out regularly as the pram itself may not get any breeze and can become a heat trap.
One of the best pieces of advice I can share with you is to try things out at home prior to embarking on your journey. Try giving your baby sterilised water as it may take a couple of days for them to become accustomed to it. Spray your chosen sunscreen on your baby’s arm and wait 12 hours to check that they do not have a reaction. If they do see your Doctor and try a different brand. The last thing you want is to experience problems
Remember, If you feel hot then your baby will be hot. Trust your instincts, check their chest regularly and take ‘shade’ breaks every few hours or find some air conditioning. A little sun won’t hurt your baby provided they wear sunscreen and take advantage of cooler evenings!