Well summer is here and the temperature is rising. Sometimes though, as much as we LOVE the hot summer days, they can be hard on our children - particularly our babies. Our children often struggle to sleep in the heat (as do adults) and can become a little crankier than normal. Here's a few tips from us to you to help you get through those long hot summer days & nights!
You will need to ensure they are having additional fluids on those super-hot days as they become a lot thirstier. For breastfeed babies under 6 months you do not need to offer additional water but you will need to offer additional breastfeeds. Your breastmilk composition changes to allow for the weather but baby will want to feed more frequently. For formula feed babies, you can offer some cooled boiled water in either their bottle or a sippy cup. And of course, for your older children ensure they have unrestricted access to their water bottles and keep them full!
2. Air Con
If you have Air Conditioning this is your best asset! Set it to your desired temp put it on 'auto' and away you go. Just remember if you have air con running you will need to close all the doors and windows - not the nicest thing to do on a nice summer day but if you want to keep the temperature down inside this is how to do it. Another cool tip is to shut the curtains on the windows that are letting the sun in to avoid that radiated heat getting in.
Where possible stay out of the sun and play in the shade, on really really hot days our kids tend to stay inside mostly anyway. If you can't avoid the sun make sure you protect the kids skin with sunblock, a hat, t-shirts etc. For our little babies, whose skin might not be able to tolerate a harsh sunblock keep them in the buggies with sunshade on or under the trees. Our little one’s skin can burn so quickly and it's our job to protect them!
Make sure they have the appropriate clothing on. Even if your baby has worn singlets since the day they were born if the temps are right up there you might need to take them off. Make sure ALL clothing, bedding, wraps etc are make from natural breathable fibres like merino, cotton, wool etc. DO NOT dress baby in polar fleece EVER, especially on hot hot days!
5. Lots of snack foods
This might just be my kids but in case it's not I'll share this with you too. I find on really hot days when they kids are a bit frustrated and cranky they are much less likely to want to sit down to a decent meal. On these hot days we make sure they have access to lots of little snacks. Things like ice-blocks, frozen fruit or peas, smoothies, sandwiches etc seem to go down much better than bowls of soup or big roast dinner. And of course, if they are eating regularly we can knock back some of the Hangriness making them a little less cranky!
The sleep struggle!
Lots of our little people really struggle to sleep when it's really hot. I remember when my oldest was a newborn we didn't have air con in our house and one day I almost drove to Taupo from Palmerston North just so she would sleep in the car as it was cool in there! Now driving long distance for every sleep is not practical so here's a few ideas that might help:
- Minimal/no clothing, it's ok for them to sleep in only a nappy.
- Use air con to cool the house/their room. If the air con doesn't reach their room for cooling or you don't have air con you can try a fan. If you place frozen bottles of water in front of the fan it cools the air it's blowing around.
- Camp out in the living area - We do this more often now the kids are older. The air con doesn't cool their rooms much so on super-hot nights we cool the living area and have big family sleep overs as everyone sleep much better. If you have a wee baby it might be a day to nap on the couch with them under the air con if you have it.
- Be patient and relaxed around bedtime, it can be frustrating when they won't go to sleep but think about how well you fall asleep when you're really hot. We often delay bedtime till the suns gone down or the temp has dropped slightly - They will probably be awake anyway so why not spend that time doing something fun!
Enjoy summer everyone - even the really hot days ;)
Take Care & Best Wishes
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