Summer time is all about family fun and enjoying the outdoors, but sometimes you might find yourself frustrated from the unrelenting heat. Keeping your children comfortable, hydrated, and cool can be a top a priority, but for breastfeeding moms, it can be more of a challenge. The hot temperatures can be compounded by the close skin contact between mom and baby, so it's important to know how to keep a baby from overheating while breastfeeding.
Babies can have a tough time adjusting to the heat, so it's important to take precautions. According to the Mayo Clinic, babies don't have the ability to regulate their internal temperature like adults, so excessive heat can put them at risk for heat exhaustion.
One of the primary things you can do is to avoid going out on really hot days. The Women's and Children's Health Network suggested staying at home or in a cool place on days that you know the temperatures are going to soar. You should also avoid hot cars and try to feed in an area with good air circulation, like a fan or air conditioning.
To eliminate some of the heat transfer from skin-to-skin contact while breastfeeding, the Australian Breastfeeding Association recommended placing a towel, pillowcase, or even a cool damp cloth between you and the baby to make skin contact more comfortable. They also suggested lying down to nurse, because it can allow you to nurse with some space between you and the baby.
Hydration is also key in preventing overheating. Parents explained that to prevent dehydration from the heat, babies should drink at least 50 percent more milk in the summer time, so nursing more frequently will help in replenishing any lost fluids. The article noted that even though you may not see your baby sweating, warm skin, a flushed red face, restlessness, and rapid breathing can be signs of dehydration. Just remember that infants under the age of 6 months should not be given water. Kelly Mom noted that breastfed babies only need breast milk to get the hydration they need, even in extreme heat.
Keeping your baby in the lightest clothing possible can help maximize sweat evaporation and prevent overheating, too. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggested on their Healthy Children website that keeping your baby in a single layer of lightweight and light-colored clothing can make it easier for their bodies to cool down.
If you see signs that your baby is overheating, which includes fatigue, fever, vomiting, or decreased urination, the AAP recommended calling your pediatrician immediately to make sure they are evaluated and treated properly.