Sun safety for your baby
We’re having some beautiful weather here in the South West this week, so this post is all about how to keep your baby safe and comfortable in the heat. You might have already seen my video on this topic, but if not, you can find it here.
It’s really important to remember that babies, especially newborns, cannot regulate their temperature on their own yet, so need our help to keep cool or warm up. When it’s hot and sunny outside, it can seem a shame to stay inside in the shade, but actually that’s probably the best thing you can do to keep your baby safe from the heat, especially in the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak.
If you are outside, then try to keep baby in the shade. This could be under a tree, setting up a sun umbrella, in a tent… Wherever you fancy really! Do remember though that as the sun moves through the sky, the shade is going to move too, so while it’s tempting to pop baby in the shade for a nap and leave them to it, please stay alert and check on them regularly to make sure they are still in the shade every 10 minutes or so.
If baby is in their pushchair, pram, carry cot, moses basket, car seat etc, it might seem like a good idea to pop a muslin or blanket over the top to provide shade, but this can actually increase the temperature as there is no air flow. There are other ways to keep baby cool, like buying a fan you can attach to the side of the buggy, or a mini parasol.
We all (hopefully) know that it’s important to wear sun cream to protect our skin from the sun, but did you know that it’s not generally suitable for babies under six months? The advice from the NHS is to keep tiny babies out of the sun altogether, which I agree with. Once baby is a bit older, there are plenty of suncreams to choose from. I love this sensitive skin suncream from Childs Farm. For children it’s best to use at least SPF 30, but we tend to go for factor 50, just to be safe.
Wondering what to dress baby in? Think about what you would wear in this weather - if you wouldn't be wearing long sleeves, baby doesn't need to either. A vest and nappy is usually fine if it's very hot, but if you come back into a cool room you may need to add a layer. I wouldn't recommend swaddling baby in the heat, and if you notice baby getting a bit sweaty at any point, whatever they're wearing, it's probably time to cool down. At night if your room is very warm, dress baby in light clothes - if they get too hot or cold they'll let you know! So don't worry too much...
Lastly, and probably most importantly, do ensure your baby stays hydrated. For babies under 6 months there is no need to supplement with water if they are drinking milk regularly. By regularly I mean at least a good feed every 2-3 hours. If you are breastfeeding, make sure you’re also drinking enough water through the day. Another fun way of getting baby to hydrate is to make mini ice lollies or ice poles by freezing breastmilk for baby to suck on! Make sure you let the ice melt a little before giving it to baby to avoid any potential injury. The cold can still be a bit of a shock though so watch out for some funny faces... Check out these lolly moulds here and here.
For more pregnancy, birth and baby advice, head over to our Facebook group for new and expectant parents!
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