How To Care For Your Newborn
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During The Hot Summer Months
During The Hot Summer Months
Summer in Namibia can be brutal. Unrelenting soaring temperatures can leave you sapped and desperate to cool off. But what about your newborn baby?
If this is your first child, you’ll have many questions. How do you know if your newborn is thirsty? How can you tell if your baby is too hot or too cold? Can you apply sunscreen to your baby? Can you take your baby to the beach?
Grandparents and fellow moms might share conflicting advice, which creates unnecessary confusion. We want to provide a little clarity. Here’s everything you need to know about caring for your newborn during the hot summer months.
10 Tips To Help YouR Newborn Cope With The Heat
- Feeding during the hot summer months
- Stay out of the sun
- Regulate the temperatures indoors
- Should you give your baby water?
- Dressing your newborn
- Don’t leave your baby unattended in a car
- Protect your baby from insect bites
- Check your baby’s skin for a heat rash
- Bath your baby more
- Monitor your baby for heat exhaustion
1. Feeding during the hot summer months
It’s vital that you keep your little one hydrated during the brutally warm Namibian summer. If you’re breastfeeding your baby, your milk is all they need to stay cool and hydrated. Just increase their feeds on scorching days. And be sure to increase the amount of water you drink.
Top Tip: Breastfeeding in the summer can often be uncomfortable when mom and baby are feeding skin-to-skin and sweating, heating one another up even more. To keep you and baby comfortable, place a cotton cloth or receiver in between yourself and your baby. This way you will be comfortable to touch, and still able to keep cool.
If you’re bottle-feeding your baby, you’d also need to increase their feeds. Whatever you do, don’t give your baby water if they’re not yet six months old.
Also, watch out for signs of dehydration. These include but aren’t limited to:
- Flushed face
- Breathing rapidly
- Dry skin
- A lack of tears when baby cries
- Sunken eyes
- Less than six wet nappies/diapers each day
- A hollow spot on your newborn’s head.
If you suspect your baby might be dehydrated, feed them immediately and get them to the hospital for assessment.
2. Stay out of the sun
Your baby’s skin is incredibly sensitive and burns quickly. While you might think sitting under an umbrella at the beach is ample protection from the sun, think again. Stay indoors, especially between 12 and 2 PM, as this is when the sun’s rays are harshest.
If you have to venture outside, cover up your baby’s skin. Dress your little one in a light cotton babygrow that covers their arms and legs or a loose long-sleeved top and bottoms. Also, place a wide-brimmed hat on your baby’s head to protect their face and neck from the sun.
For added protection, you could use a baby sunscreen (no more than SPF 15) on your little one for earlier and later in the day. But we still advise that you keep your precious cherub out of the sun.
3. Regulate the temperatures indoors
You may have heard the saying, “when a mother feels cold, the baby is cold.” Although your little one might appreciate a reprieve from the sweltering heat, you want to keep the room temperature at 25°C. A room that’s too cold isn’t good for your newborn’s health.
If you use a fan, be sure to keep it clean of dust and open the windows to let a cool breeze in. If you’re using an aircon to cool down, avoid placing your newborn directly in front of it.
4. Should you give your baby water?
In the heat of summer, you might be tempted to substitute your newborn’s milk with water. Don’t! Breastmilk is all your baby needs to quench their thirst. Giving your baby unfiltered water could introduce all kinds of harmful bacteria to their little body. If they’re under six months, don’t give them water unless advised by a doctor.
For babies older than six months, we suggest giving them water that has been boiled and cooled or filtered water. If you’re going to give them bottled water, make sure the seal hasn’t been tampered with.
5. Dressing your newborn
What to wear? It can be confusing knowing what to dress your baby in on very hot days. If in doubt, consider what you’re comfortable in and dress your newborn in something similar. When indoors, let your little one wear cool clothing, like a light cotton t-shirt and baby shorts. Loose-fitting is best.
Alternatively, your baby would probably be happiest in just their nappy or nothing at all. Take care to keep your newborn away from windows. Harmful UV rays can penetrate through the window glass and burn your baby’s skin.
6. Don’t leave your baby unattended in a car
We know you’re a busy mom. Going to the shops isn’t as simple as people with older children or no children would think. You’ve got to pack the pram, a feeding bib, bottles just in case, nappies, a change of clothing. You’ve then got to get the pram out of your boot, unbuckle your baby’s car seat and snap it into place, all while trying not to wake your sleeping angel.
But if you’re toying with the idea of leaving your little one to sleep in the car, think again. Babies can quickly become overheated, and being left in a car with little to no ventilation, even if only for a short period, can have disastrous consequences. Instead, ask a friend or family member to watch your baby at home if you need to dash to the shops.
7. Protect your baby from insect bites
One of the downsides of soaring summer temperatures is the increase in insect activity. Mosquitos, flies and bugs are everywhere, and your baby is an easy target. Some babies are incredibly sensitive to insect bites and tend to break out in welt.
Invest in a mosquito net, organic baby mosquito repellent, or a USB mosquito killer lamp. These work well to keep uninvited guests of the insect variety away.
8. Check your baby’s skin for a heat rash
A healthy baby is usually a chubby baby, but in sweltering temperatures, your baby sweats, and that moisture accumulating in the folds of their skin could lead to uncomfortable rashes. You’ll want to keep a close eye on the skin around her groin, at the back of their knees and elbow area. If you notice clusters of small red bumps forming, your baby may have a heat rash.
This can be unpleasant for your little one, so take action quickly. To relieve heat rash, remove your baby’s clothes, especially if they’re damp and sticky, and replace them with light cotton garments. Or take them off entirely, including your baby’s nappy, and place her in a cool, well-ventilated room. Apply corn starch baby powder to the irritated areas to help soothe the rash and provide some much-needed relief.
9. Bath your baby more
You can bathe your baby as often as you’d like as long as the temperature of the water isn’t too cold. While cooling off in a swimming pool in 30-degree temperatures is fine for you, it’s not good for your newborn. Use your elbow to check that the water is at room temperature
10. Monitor your baby for heat exhaustion
If your baby seems cranky, lethargic and doesn’t want to drink or battles to wake up, she may be overheated. Check her skin to see if she feels warmer than usual. If her skin becomes dry and she starts vomiting, your little one may have heat exhaustion. Contact your doctor immediately.
Keep Your Baby Safe In The Harsh Namibian Sun
You want to pay close attention to your baby during the hot summer months. It’s so important that they’re comfortable, well-hydrated, and kept out of the harsh Namibian sun. Remember, they can overheat, and their skin can burn far quicker than adults.
If in doubt, contact your doctor or paediatrician. If you live in the Walvis Bay area, book to speak to a paediatrician at Welwitschia Hospital.
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