We are seeing some very warm temperatures currently and with lockdown caging us in it can be extra frustrating and difficult for our little ones to keep cool.
I have noticed some changes in Isaac this week. This may be due to us approaching the dreaded Leap 4 (see the amazing book ‘Wonder Weeks’ for more info on this!) but I also think the hot weather has affected him – just like it does us adults!
How the heat affects our little ones
Tragically, overheating can increase a baby’s chance of cot death, a parent’s absolute worst nightmare and a worry that keeps me up at night even if Isaac isn’t.
However, there are also far less devastating but more common effects of the heat on babies, which can be avoidable.
An overheated baby may:
- be more irritable and fussy
- feel warm and clammy to the touch
- show signs of dehydration with fewer wet nappies
- develop a fever but not sweat
- seem dizzy or confused
- have a rapid heartbeat
- have red skin
A simple way to check if your baby is too warm is to touch the nape of their neck or chest or use a thermometer under their armpit.
What you can do to keep baby cool
I have found that the simplest way to keep my baby cool is to focus on the room temperature/ house temperature throughout the day. Far too often my husband and I have found that the house is too hot in the evenings as we had not prepared enough during the day! It is all about opening the correct windows (and keeping others closed) depending on the location of the sun throughout the day. We now keep blinds and curtains closed on a very hot day – it is a bit depressing shutting out the sun but it is more than worth it for a cool night’s sleep! In the evening we can then open everything up and let a flow of air through the house.
We seem to have an overly ‘hot’ house; possibly because it is a terraced 3 storey town house so the top floor (where our bedroom and nursery are) can get stifling. Last year, during my early pregnancy stage, we suffered with a clunky old fan chucking around hot air so this summer we have bought a new room fan which is lovely and quiet while being very efficient at keeping the room cool. It is small, portable and inexpensive at less than £25.
On top of keeping the house cool there are steps you can take to keep your baby cool and calm:
- Dress baby appropriately, ideally just in a vest or short sleeved body suit. (This is easier said than done when baby scratches his face to bits and loose mittens fall off! I have finally found some long sleeved but leg-less bodysuits with integrated scratch mittens which I hope should solve this problem!)
- Ensure your baby has a low-tog sleeping bag (if cool enough for bedding). At the moment he is using a 1 tog gro-bag.
- If baby is bottle-fed breast milk (like mine) then use the bottles straight from the fridge. This is perfectly fine and cools them down as they drink. *Please note – in the heat babies may drink more so make sure you do too or your milk supply will quickly dwindle when they need it the most!
- Give baby a cool bath or even just a cool washcloth instead of a bath. I recommend Johnson’s baby washcloths.
I hope these recommendations and my first-hand experience helps you to keep your house and baby cool and get a good night’s sleep (well, as good as you reasonably can with a small baby!)