During heatwaves many babies need just a little bit more milk. This means offering more frequently. Watch that you are paying attention to your own hydration levels, if you get dehydrated milk production falls a bit!
The easy remedy is to ensure that our own body is well nourished and hydrated!
Are you hot or feeling a bit sick from the summer heat? Likely time to retreated to a cooling center, a friend's house with AC, or the shade indoors. Your urine should be clear and light colored as an indicator that you are drinking enough. As you get dehydrated your urine takes on a darker tone, and there is less of it. Drinking regular water is enough to stay hydrated, but some people like flavored sports drinks which are also fine.
Breastfeeding infants do not need extra water, they need you (the breastfeeding/chestfeeding parent) to be hydrated. Once they are over 6 months and eating solids they should have access to as much water as they like during solid food meals. With older babies you can offer a small amount of water after breastfeeding if absolutely necessary.
Formula supplements should not be thinned out when you make them because you think its too hot. That can lead to electrolyte imbalances. The real action is to keep baby's away from direct light and too much heat.
WHAT TO OBSERVE FOR in Dehydrated Infants:
Behavioral red flags: children and babies can get more fussy, they seem cranky for no reason, or they can start to look unwell. "Unwell" in an infant is dry skin, a dry mouth, loose or floppy tone, not responding appropriately to contact or stimulation. They may refuse to nurse (older children may refuse to drink). Infants may get a sunken fontanelle (the soft spot). If you see these things and you baby has not had a wet diaper in 6 hours or urine is getting darker please go to urgent care.
Smaller children, toddlers do not show typical signs of dehydration. In the heat they can lose a lot of fluids through sweating. They need to drink regularly, and wear loose fitting light clothes and stay out of the heat.
My Suggestions for Keeping Babies safe During hot Weather:
1.) Offer the breast more frequently.
2.) Keep yourself very hydrated.
3.) Offer a bit of extra water to infants that are solid food eating age, but no water for exclusively breastfeeding infants.
4.) Cover any waterproof mattress covers with cotton or absorbent sheets.
5.) Put your baby down for naps in just a diaper.
6.) Try to make trips outside during the cooler parts of the day.
7.) Use a shade on a car window to protect your baby from direct sunlight.
Emergency heat levels: Use a fan or AC. Don't put the fan directly on the baby, just direct it close by to circulate the air. If you have no AC then use damp handtowels to keep baby cool, but not cold.
DON'TS for Hot Weather:
Do not thin down formula or breastmilk bottles.
Do not leave your baby in a car for any amount of time unattended, not matter the temperature.
Do not leave your baby in a stroller for prolonged times.
Do not cover the stroller with a blanket, that can reduce hot air circulation.
Do not use fluffy mattresses/blankets that baby can sink into.
-Serena Meyer RN IBCLC
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