We’re heading for a heatwave, baby! How to keep your baby comfortable and keep your cool this summer

Wowsers! The weather forecasts certainly got it right this time. I don’t think I can remember the last time we had it so hot.

Here we are in Hull, two little boys beside themselves with excitement at being unapologetically allowed to eat enough ice creams to have kept every dairy farm in the Humber region in business. Three furry feline friends just being, well, too cool for cats. And me and Chris slowly losing our shizzle as we come up with every possible solution to keep ourselves from leaving puddles of perspiration every time we move!

All I can say is, thank the lord he’s a sparky and has access to every cooling electrical gadget on the market.

How are you finding it though? Difficult to sleep? Feeling tired and restless during the day? Or just plain grumpy?!

At least we can moan about it and say how we feel. But the poor little newborns just get to feel the heat, not really knowing what’s going on. And unless we’re on top form and prepared for it, they’ll struggle (and by default, that means you will too) through the next couple of months feeling very sad and sorry for themselves or becoming ill.

I happened to be thinking about you, my lovely readers, as I was sitting at my desk with the fan on full and dreaming of a human-sized Almond Magnum walking through the door, as I stumbled across some tips from ‘The Sleep Nanny.’ Great minds, eh?! But I also wanted to share some of the information I’ve picked up along the way with my own pregnancies, and over the past couple of years with Jensen – the kid who tells it like it is!

So, why is it so important to be aware of potential overheating in babies and young children? And what can we do to make the summer months more enjoyable for us all?

Overheating in babies

Whilst we all love the summer, with the sounds of the little ones playing in paddling pools and giggling as they make those first wobbly steps into the sea. The bell (or nowadays, really irritating tunes!) of the ice cream van coming round the streets. And the freedom your feet feel in flip flops! The heat can sometimes get to a point where it’s not only uncomfortable for baby and parents, but it can also be risky.

Pregnant and nursing mums should be extra careful to keep your fluid intake up. Babies will keep hydrated with extra breastfeeding, but mum will definitely need more fluids if this is the case.

If you can boil water, allow it to cool and then keep it refrigerated for your little ones, that should help with the hot nights, too.

But overheating in a newborn is even more serious, as they’re unable to regulate their own body temperature, and are therefore more sensitive to heat. They become fidgety and restless. And sleepless nights become something not just us adults suffer with.

A few things to look out for in your newborn as indicators of potential dehydration, heatstroke, or excessive sunburn:

  • A red face, redder than usual.
  • A rash.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing.
  • Moist head and neck area.
  • Lethargy, which could develop to a state of unconsciousness.
  • Sickness and vomiting.
  • Fewer wet nappies than usual, and possibly refusing drinks.

How to keep your baby cool

Daytime, out and about – Your supplies should include a sunhat and sun protection, and long swimmies if you’re heading for the water. And of course, it goes without saying to try and aim for shaded areas when you’re resting. But try to get an area with a good airflow so the air doesn’t just get warm, stale, and recycled. This can cause issues with breathing.

Travelling by car – it might seem an obvious statement, but never leave your baby or toddlers alone in the car. They will overheat more quickly than you may imagine, and it can be fatal.

Try to travel at the coolest times of the day and use window shades where possible.

We’re lucky enough to have air con in most vehicles now. But be conscious that although it’s great for us adults to be ‘cold, cold’ and we can take the extreme temperature change, it’s not quite as pleasant for little ones. Again, the whole regulation of their body temperature doesn’t work quite so well as ours. The same can be said for aiming fans directly at them. Their little bodies will cool down extremely quickly and you run the risk of their body temperature going dangerously the other way, even leading to hyperthermia.

Keeping them cool in buggies – I’m often asked what blankets or coverings are best as protection from the sun. PLEASE DON’T USE ONE is all I will say. The temperature in a buggy or pram can increase by anywhere up to 10 degrees simply by covering it with even the thinnest of coverings. It stops the air circulation, and any breeze which could have cooled the inside area down is stopped in its tracks.

If you want to use any protection from the sunlight or heat, please use a parasol or the hood attachments.

Clothing – opt for lightweight loose clothing and layered fabrics during the day. It’s so nice to be able to take off and add layers back on as and when the temperature changes. Much as it’s a go-to colour for many of us mums, avoid black if you can. Lighter creams, whites, pastel shades are so much more summery but will also keep baby cooler.

Overnight, there’s a few choices, depending on how cool you can keep the room. If it’s warm enough (room temperature around 25 degrees), you could pop them in a nappy and thin cotton vest. Slightly cooler then go for a shortie baby grow, shorts and t-shirt pyjama set (socks will keep their feet warmer and help regulate the body temperature a little more), or just a nappy and 1 tog sleep sack, which Designer Baby absolutely adore!

If bedding is out of the question because of baby’s age and it’s just too hot for a sleep sack, you can get away without any covering if you dress them in clothes for that room temperature. Again, think about mitts and socks, as we all know that awful feeling of a chill after coming through a sweaty night, which is even more important with newborns and very young babies.

It's also a good idea to check in on them before you go to bed, as by that time the room temperature could have dropped, and however they were dressed when you put them to bed might need adapting for the rest of the night. Otherwise, think ahead to save you disturbing them, and dress them appropriately for the whole night.

Mind you, if you’re anything like us, you’ll be popping in and out to check on them all night anyway. The heat is bad enough for us, so we do all we can to make our babies comfortable, don’t we? I couldn’t imagine either of our boys going to sleep and us not checking on them ‘til we hear the dulcet moans and groans in the morning! And like I said, Jensen will let the world know if he’s even in the slightest bit uncomfortable in the night anyway, so a coin toss often decides who’s getting up first!!

Bedding – use cotton sheets and bedding to cover your waterproof mattresses. And avoid mattresses or padding around the cot that baby can sink into. Anything that prevents movement or air circulation is likely to increase body temperature, sweating, and possible heat rash.

Room Temperature - We have a thermometer to keep a check on the boy’s rooms, but always keep a first aid thermometer handy too. I would definitely advise this if you’re ever in doubt. It’ll give you peace of mind, and if you don’t have one, check the back of baby’s neck as an indication.

If you have aircon, set the temperature to around 24-26 degrees, not too cool.

If there is a cooler room available for your newborn to sleep in during the hot weather, it is worth swapping if you can. Closing your curtains, blinds or shutters during the day will keep the heat out but leave windows slightly open to allow the air to circulate still.

And if you have a fan you can use, get this going too. Obviously, keep it out of reach of little inquisitive hands though, and never point it straight at the baby, as I mentioned earlier with car fans and aircon. Even better, if you have some ice or bottles of frozen water you can pop in front of the fan, it will mean the air circulating is even cooler.  

Calming bath – frequent lukewarm baths will regulate baby’s temperature, not cold much as it may be tempting to run cold water. Gently sponge their body with the water, and this will also have a calming influence if you feel they are getting a little tetchy – not surprising with the way the nights have been just lately.

*I mention all the above, with the disclaimer that I’m not medically trained and will never give medical advice. Please just be aware of these signs, and if you are ever in any doubt, contact the Emergency Services. It’s always better to be safe, than sorry, particularly with newborns.

So, there you have it, some tips for getting through the heatwave, and keeping you and your little ones comfortable and safe.

July babies

And speaking of summer heatwaves, I said I would give you some more interesting facts on July babies. You didn’t think I’d forget, did you? How could I forget these little bundles of fun and sunlight?!

Especially lucky, the July baby is blessed not only with a sunny nature and happy mind, but also with the ‘King of Gems,’ the ruby, as their birthstone. And they could stand out from others as there is a higher possibility of them being a leftie. Yep, your little Cancerian (July 1st to 22nd) or Leo (23rd to 31st July) could be a left hander.  

As for occupation, your July baby could become an artist (they do have many creative talents), a train driver or a bricklayer. Hhmm, quite a difference! But whatever profession they follow, know that they will do it with a controlled character, love, and compassion, and although Cancer babies may become a bit emotionally withdrawn, the Leos amongst them will bring confidence and charisma. Just be aware that a Leo gets a little bit stroppy when they’re taken away from the spotlight though!

To finish off, your precious sunny July baby will bring you just as much warmth as the summer itself. Now that's just so cute! I can't guarantee they'll not still have temper toddler tantrums and the terrible twos mind you!!

And on that note, take care out there. Stay cool and stay safe.

With much love, from us all here at Team DB xx