by Julie Snyder
You were so glad to bring your new baby home in pleasant, warm weather. To be honest, you might been even more delighted to give birth to your tiny heating unit and be cooler yourself!
Little did you know that crazy, hot weather would hit over the next weeks. Babies don't have the best thermostats. They can overheat in a few minutes and don't cool down quickly at all.
Does your home have air conditioning? You're set! The heat gives you a perfect excuse to hunker in and enjoy your wee one.
If you live in an area like the Pacific Northwest, where high temperature only last a couple weeks a year and few families invest in air conditioning, you're probably looking for other alternatives.
How can you keep your child cool and hydrated during a heat wave? We've asked moms and experts alike. Here's what they said.
Go ahead and enjoy some AC. Think of places you can visit to cool off. Hang out at the book store, library or mall in the afternoon. Visit a friend and show off your new family addition.
Sprinkle a little water on your baby's head or wipe your wee babe down with a cool washcloth.
Beth shares her clever tip. She says when it's hot out and no one has air conditioning she, "...gets out the biggest mixing bowl, puts three inches of cool water in it and puts the baby in it, gets water all over her and then dries her on top of a towel." She'll go back and forth throughout the day with that trick!
In the house, a diaper might be all the clothing your new baby needs. When you need to head out, dress your child in loose, lightweight, breathable clothing.
Picking the right time of day will do a lot to keep your baby cool. Go out before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Depending on your area, the peak temperatures are usually between 3 and 4 p.m.
When you carry your baby in a front pack, the combination of your body heat and a tightly woven fabric can cause overheating and rashes. Go for a carrier made of a lightweight fabric such as nylon or linen. If you notice your baby getting flushed, take them out of the carrier right away.
Stacey shares her tip. "I let my little guy lay out on a blanket on the floor of the living room or another safe place. He hasn't been spending time in the car seat, bouncy seat or swing. It's more cramped and can make them get hotter."
Allie suggests, "Clean out all those creases three or four times a day when it's hot. Little rashes crop up if you don't! It's amazing how many crevices and creases a young baby can have."
Watch your baby for these warning signs of dehydration:
✓ Dry mouth or tongue
✓ Not many tears when crying
✓ Less than six wet diapers a day
✓ Dark colored or smelly urine
✓ Sunken eyes, cheeks or "soft spots"
✓ Mottled skin that feels cool to the touch
✓ High fever or listlessness
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you call your pediatrician right away and offer water or an electrolyte-replacement solution like Pedialyte® if you think your baby might be dehydrated.
To help your breastfed baby stay hydrated, drink plenty of water yourself and offer more frequent feedings.
Emaline says, "I keep my baby in a diaper and take a cool washcloth to his body every once in a while. I'm feeding him on demand and he should stay hydrated."
Talk with your pediatrician about your formula-fed baby and hydration. You may be asked to offer more feedings or offer sips of an electrolyte solution.
Did you have a summer baby? How did you keep your new addition comfy and cool?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.