Thanks to all the climatic changes, mercury is soaring this summer, even in the historically cool places. If you have an infant to take care of, then you might be full of questions on how to ensure the little one does not bear the brunt of this harsh summer. We have answered some of the most commonly asked questions for new mommies below:
- How Often Should We Use Air Conditioner In Baby’s Room?
- How Often Should I Bathe The Baby In Summers?
- Should I Use Any Powder For My Baby To Avoid Prickly Heat?
- Can I Continue Giving Oil Massage To The Baby During Summers?
- What Kind Of Clothes Should I Use – During The Day And For The Night?
- Is It Alright To Use Sun Screen If I Am Stepping Out With My Baby?
- How Can I Ensure My Baby Does Not Fall Sick During Summers?
- How Do I Find Out If My Baby Is Feeling Very Hot?
- How Can I Keep My Baby Cool In Summers?
- How Can I Protect My Baby From Mosquitoes?
How Often Should We Use Air Conditioner In Baby’s Room?
It is safer to put your child in an A/C room than in a hot and humid environment. This is because your infant cannot yet regulate his body temperature based on the outside temperature like we adults do. Their systems are still a ‘work-in-progress’ kind of a thing. So, if the child is in a hot room, then he is more susceptible to heat-related problems like rashes, dehydration and tiredness.
Air conditioners regulate the room temperature well. No harm in using them at a 24°C-25°C temperature. That said, fresh air and air circulation are important too. So why don’t you use the fan to circulate air during play time and A/C to regulate temperature during the baby’s sleep time? That should give a good balance. Read more on using air conditioners and your baby here.
How Often Should I Bathe The Baby In Summers?
As adults, we feel like taking bath 2-3 times a day due to the heat and sweat, so daily bathing can definitely be considered. The little one is going through the same. So if your baby enjoys water time, why not! Bathing is a great way to keep his body cool. That said, bathing an infant is not an easy task. If your baby does not like his bath, then you need not increase the frequency. You should, however, ensure that the baby is clean and dry all the time, so that the sweat wouldn’t cause rashes. Also ensure that you change your baby’s diapers often and do give him considerable diaper-free time.
When you do give bath, use only mildly warm water and not cold water despite it being hot outside. 36°C-38°C is ideal water temperature as it is close to our body temperature and hence would be comfortable for the child. Wash areas that trap sweat– like folds of the skin, under arms, neck etc. – and dry the baby properly afterwards. If you are giving multiple baths throughout the day, then you do not have to use soap every time. You also need not wash the hair every time as the baby might catch cold.
Should I Use Any Powder For My Baby To Avoid Prickly Heat?
This is a much debated topic. Some doctors advise parents to use baby powder on the child as they believe it will help prevent and reduce rashes. Other doctors advice against the use of powder on baby skin as the powder can clog the sweat pores and hence cause or worsen rashes. Quite the contradiction, as you can see. What we do suggest you do is follow a watch and proceed approach. Use powder if you feel it is required. But if is causing rash, making baby uncomfortable or worsening rash, then stop it. Also, ensure that you apply it correctly and the baby does not inhale it at all. Simple way is to use a powder puff and touch it gently on the neck, underarms, diaper area and back. More on using baby powders here.
Can I Continue Giving Oil Massage To The Baby During Summers?
There is no harm in continuing oil massage for your baby. There are two things you need to remember.
- Some oils are heat generating in nature. For instance, mustard oil is warming. This can increase body temperature and cause discomfort during summer time. Some oils, like sesame oil, have a cooling effect. Understand the nature of the oil before using them on your baby
- If not washed off properly, oil can clog the skin pores and cause rashes. So ensure you wash it off well with soap and dry it, again, especially focusing on areas like underarms and neck
What Kind Of Clothes Should I Use – During The Day And For The Night?
Cotton is the savior! Loose fitting cotton clothes are the best for this summer. Make sure you change baby’s clothes often as infants might sweat. Even during night, you do not have to overdress the child. A simple cotton onesie will keep the little one snug and warm during summers.
Also, do not put your child directly on plastic mats as that can result in them sweating more. Always keep a layer of cotton sheet between baby’s skin and any synthetic material. Read more in dressing your baby in summers.
Is It Alright To Use Sun Screen If I Am Stepping Out With My Baby?
If your baby is below 6 months, then ideally she should not be out in direct sun. If your baby is above 6 months, then you can use a good sunscreen on her – talk to your doctor about suggesting a good brand that will suit your child’s sensitive skin.
How Can I Ensure My Baby Does Not Fall Sick During Summers?
There are four key illness, you need to watch out for:
- Dehydration: Babies can get dehydrated in summer. If your baby is being exclusively breast fed, then feed her on demand. That is, if she asks more, give her more. You do not need to consciously increase the frequency. If she is on formula feed, then you might want to give a teaspoon of boiled and cooled water. Make sure you do not increase the water quantity in the feed though
- Rashes: Rashes are a direct result of sweat glands being blocked, which more often than not is caused due to over dressing. Loose cotton clothes and airy rooms can prevent rashes to a certain extent
- Viral Infections: Breastfeeding is the best way to build up your baby’s immunity. Keeping them in heat regulated air conditioned areas also will help
- Heat stroke: More fluids, loose fitting light clothes that help the skin breathe, and always ensuring the child is not too hot will ensure they do not get heat stroke
- Avoid the sun: Infants less than 6 months should not be taken out in the sun. For older babies too, sun is best avoided. If you have to go out in the sun, make sure your baby is wearing a protective layer of infant sunscreen and a hat with a wide brim. Carry him under an umbrella to avoid direct sunlight
How Do I Find Out If My Baby Is Feeling Very Hot?
If the baby is too hot, her cheeks will redden, hair will be damp, breathing might become fast and you will see visible signs of sweating.
Feeling your baby’s skin will also make you know if she is feeling hot. The baby will also appear lethargic, and may cry out loud. A temperature of over 103 F can be a sign of a heat stroke in the baby and needs immediate medical attention.
How Can I Keep My Baby Cool In Summers?
Hit the pool! The pool can work as a wonderful escape from the sun and your baby is likely to enjoy splashing water. Running him a bath before bedtime will also keep your baby cool. During the day keep your baby’s room cool by using dark colored thick curtains or blinds. Do not dress your baby in many layers, keep nightwear to the minimum. Cool, cotton clothes in light shade and no embellishments can be a good choice.
How Can I Protect My Baby From Mosquitoes?
Summers also bring along mosquito bred diseases like dengue, malaria etc. Keeping your house clean and making sure that mosquitoes stay away from your baby is very important. You can use a mosquito net for your baby when she is sleeping, and use some home remedies to ward off these pesky creatures. Though mosquito repellents may be your obvious choice, they are not considered safe for newborn babies. Should your little one get bitten by mosquitoes, you may like to know more about treating mosquito bites.
While there is little you can do to escape the summer heat fully, a well ventilated house, light, airy clothes and lots of fluids can all make a difference. If you feel hot and sweaty, you might be irritable and that might impact the way you take care of the little one. So relax, bite into a watermelon, and face the season!