Are you going to bring home your baby smack-dab in the middle of the summer heat? Odds are you’ll be spending the last weeks of your pregnancy sitting in front of a blasting AC unit and wishing you were floating constantly in a cool pool.
There are actually perks to having a baby during the summer (like no real respiratory worries!) — but you’ve got to be prepared for the high temps. So, here are 6 ways for you and your newborn to beat the heat during the dog days of summer:
1. DRINK LOTS OF H2O!
Dehydration is a leading cause of premature labor — can you believe that? It also can cause problems with labor. You need to replenish your fluids while you’re pregnant and when/if you’re breastfeeding. So start now and bring a big jug with you everywhere. Drinking water frequently throughout the day is crucial — and even though this means EVEN MORE trips to the bathroom, you’re really going all the time anyway, right?
2. FIND A POOL ASAP!
There is nothing better than feeling weightless when you’re at your highest, um, well…weight. Being buoyant in the water will feel better to you than almost anything else at this late stage in your pregnancy. If you don’t have one in your backyard, buy one — because even an baby pool will become a total oasis for you! Most communities have public pools too, so seek one out if you want more room to move.
FOR YOUR SUMMER BABY…
1. DON’T OVERDRESS YOUR BABY
If you’re going to be indoors, dress your infant in loose-fitting, lightweight garments, preferably made from a natural fiber like cotton, which absorbs his sweat better than synthetic fabrics. A good rule of thumb: dress your baby the way you’re dressed — if you’re wearing shorts and a T-shirt, that will be fine for him too. Don’t think you need to cover him up with hats, mittens, and socks. You really don’t! The only reason to cover him up outdoors in the summer is to shield him from sun, but even then, it’s way better to vigorously seek shade than to overheat your baby by bundling him up.
2. SWADDLE LIGHT
In our book, sleep training means you must swaddle your baby for all his naps. But you do not want your baby to get too hot. Get a lightweight cotton swaddle for the summer. And then you can even use just the swaddle over a diaper for all of his naps.
3. GET A LIGHTWEIGHT CAR-SEAT COVER
You must shade your baby from the sun at all times, as best you can. So invest in a lightweight, cotton car seat cover. Another good tip: put a towel or a sheet over his car seat while it’s in the car so especially the metal parts are less likely to get crazy hot.
4. BECOME A SHADE SEEKER!
It’s not recommended that babies have lots of sunscreen on their skin before 6 months. Having said that, you still will want to protect your baby’s skin, so use baby sunscreen (sparingly) on his exposed parts.
5. KEEP THE NURSERY SUPER COOL
A baby getting overheated is a risk factor for SIDS. On the other hand, if your baby gets too cold, he will likely get fussy, have trouble sleeping, and may have other medical problems, so keeping the nursery cool but not too cold is important to think about when you bring your new baby home in the summer.
Most experts recommend that you keep his nursery at a temperature of between 68 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit. His nursery might seem cold to you, but it’s important that it not get above 75 degrees, for his safety. Buy a window unit for his room if you need to and/or install black-out curtain liners to keep the heat out.
6. BE READY TO TREAT HEAT RASH
There is a rash newborns can get called “prickly heat” which presents as a lot of red raised bumps that sometimes scab. The rash tends to hit hardest in the areas of your baby’s skin that get sweaty. Check with your pediatrician for treatments but oftentimes the best thing to do is to air out your baby’s skin and cool him down with a nice soothing eczema bath treatment.