Tips for keeping babies comfortable in the heat
Experienced Norland nanny and baby expert Louenna shares her top tips on how to beat the heat with babies this summer. From what to dress them in, to her useful baby cooling techniques, her tips will help to make baby feel much more comfortable in the soaring temperatures.
Hydration for babies in summer
On warm days, you may find that your baby sleeps more than usual and wants to feed little and often. Remember to wake them for regular feeds throughout the day to stop them getting dehydrated.
Newborns won’t need any cooled water to drink, just their usual breast or formula milk will be enough. But for babies over five months old, you can offer them cooled boiled water in a bottle. If your baby has fed well during the day and has regular wet nappies, you don't need to wake them anymore than usual during the night for additional feeds.
Once your baby is sitting up and able to hold their own bottle, you can leave a bottle of water in a sippy cup in their bed at nap and night times, which they can sip on during the night if they want.
When feeding your baby, put a muslin in between you both. This helps keep you both cool rather than having skin on skin contact.
Keeping babies comfortable in heat at nap time
If you have some shade in your garden, your baby will enjoy a nap outside in their pram. Remember to use an insect net to stop any bugs biting or wasps stinging them.
Baby-friendly cooling methods
Before bed, give your baby a cooler bath of 36 degrees, to freshen up and cool down before their bedtime feed.
If your baby is hot and bothered during the day, you could also pop them in the bath before their afternoon nap.
Dressing babies for warm weather at night
You can dress your baby in a vest or even just a nappy. Keep an eye on their temperature by checking the back of their neck to make sure they aren't too hot or sweaty.
It is still safe to swaddle your baby in either a lightweight swaddle bag or a single layer of a muslin swaddle. As the night cools, you can add a blanket if needed. The lightest blanket is a single layer of a swaddle blanket, the cotton is very thin but still gives your baby some security if they like the feeling of being tucked in.
For babies over three months old, invest in a 0.5 or 1 tog sleeping bag.
Open the bedroom window during the day, however keep curtains and blinds closed to stop the sun coming in. This will help to keep the room cool.
Creating a cool environment for your baby
Ideally your baby’s room should be kept between 18 and 22 degrees, but in summer months it can creep up. Use a room thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature, and keep their room as cool as possible by opening the window during the day but leaving the curtains closed.
Put a fan near to your baby's bed, but make sure it doesn’t blow directly on them.
You can also freeze big bottles of water and then place them in front of the fan. This helps to circulate cooler air around the room.
Baby sun protection
I don’t put sun cream on baby’s delicate skin until they are at least six months old. Until then, keep them out of the direct sunlight and let them enjoy being outside in the shade.
Babies love looking up at the leaves and seeing the patterns. It’s lovely to park your baby in their pram under a tree and let them gaze up - they find the movement of the leaves mesmerising and it’s a great sensory experience for them!
When they are a bit older and exposed to the sun for short amounts of time in their pram etc, use a factor 50 sun cream formulated for children, and invest in a sun hat that has a tie to make sure it stays on!
Summer baby care out and about
When you are out in the pram, use a sunshade to shield your little one from the bright sun. Don’t put any blankets or muslins over the pram hood to block the sun as it stops the airflow and locks in heat.
You can use a pram fan, and dress your little one in loose fitting cotton clothing.
Dab a little cold water on their wrists and behind their ears, and use a water spray to cool them.
Hot weather baby care in the car seat
To keep your little one cool whilst travelling in their car seat, I would dress them in loose, thin cotton clothing. Make sure you have a shade on the window to protect them from the sun.
Try to park in a shaded area and leave the windows slightly open to keep the car as cool as possible. Always check the buckles before you put your baby in their seat as they can get very hot from the sun and can hurt your little one.
Once the car is moving, close the windows and put the air conditioning on. You can also clip a small fan to your baby’s car seat to keep them cool.
Safe outdoor play in the summer with infants
Water play is perfect for hot weather to cool little ones down. Set up a paddling pool in the shade with cool water inside, not cold. Add bath toys or balls from a ball pool for extra fun. Never leave baby unaccompanied in water and do not allow yourself to get distracted when supervising them.
Cooling strategies for infants on holiday
When travelling with your little ones, the same rules apply as they do at home.
The temperature on airplanes can vary from warm to cold, so I would dress your baby in a onesie and take a blanket or large muslin with you to cover them when it gets cooler. They will be sat on your lap during the flight so will naturally be warmer than if they were sat alone.
If you are planning trips to the beach, I recommend you take a parasol or a pop up tent with you to ensure you have a shady area. Remember to reapply sun cream frequently, especially if your baby is in and out of the water. Sunlight can reflect off the sand and the sea so even in the shade, it’s important to have cream on.
Tackling the heat with a baby can be worrying but with nanny Louenna’s tried and tested cooling techniques you’ll be able to keep baby happy and cool during the summer heat.