There are so many lovely things about a summer baby. Parents can laze in the park with little ones, showing them blades of grass, butterflies, and shirtless frisbee players for the very first time in their little lives. Or mom and dad can take long, sunset stroller walks, pausing for an ice cream break and to discuss how they clearly have the cutest baby ever in existence.
The downside of a summer baby? It. Is. Hot. Which leads to all kinds of challenges: avoiding sunburn, keeping the little one hydrated, and of course, keeping baby from overheating in a swaddle. If Junior loves nothing more than being burritoed into a blanket...well, what's a parent to do? How does one keep a baby from overheating in a swaddle during the dog days of summer? Do moms in warmer realms have any special trips or tricks for this?
I reached out to pediatrician and parenting expert Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg for some basics on keeping baby cool in the summer: "Newborns no doubt sleep more comfortably and soundly when swaddled. However with summer and the warmer weather, you want to be sure not to overheat your baby. Keep the room temperature between 68 to 72 degrees F. A fan is also a good way to circulate the air."
As for the swaddle specifically, she suggests dressing the child in just a onesie and a layer of cotton pajamas for sleep, and when swaddling, to def use a thin cotton blanket swaddler instead of a heavier one.
Aden + Anais of course offers some awesome gauzy swaddles. And moms can also take some tips from the site The Sleepstore.com, which compares a whole range of summer swaddles with a handy chart, laying out different features, such as the fabric weight, folding skill level, and "little Houdini resistance." The company is based in New Zealand, so clearly they know a thing or two about sweltering summers. And many of the swaddles they suggest, like the SummerMe Kicksie, can be purchased here in the states. This lightweight swaddle still wraps baby up tight, but keeps his legs exposed and cool.
A peek at Baby Center shows a whole thread dedicated to the summer swaddle, with moms from Texas and Arizona giving high marks to the Miracle Blanket, which is made of 100 percent breathable cotton, and of course comes in dozens of cute designs.
The risks of an overheated baby can range from mild, to extremely dangerous, so if parents are stepping out into soaring temps, it's imperative they watch for signs of overheating. Says Dr. Jen: "You may first notice red flushed cheeks, feeling very warm and clammy to the touch. Excessive heat may make them more irritable or cranky, as well as increases the risk of SIDS."
Another important tip: babies should never wear hats when swaddled. While babies shouldn't be in hats for sleep anyway, due to the risk of it slipping over their faces, a hat can also contribute to overheating. As per HappiestBaby: "Hats are especially problematic because covering the head reduces the baby’s ability to use the head as a little radiator, giving off extra heat."
As with most things baby, a lot of it is common sense. So if it's blazing outside, maybe just skip the park that day. Crank the AC, cuddle up, and breathe in that delicious baby neck smell, which I swear is sweetest in July.