Summer care for babies
Dress your baby right
Dress your baby in cool cotton clothes. Avoid synthetic clothes, as they trap heat and are very uncomfortable for your baby. They may even cause prickly heat rashes.
Choose long-sleeved, light clothes.
Get a sun hat for your baby. Make sure it has a wide rim, and that it fits well. It's best to avoid hats with elastic support which may constrict blood circulation.
Stay indoors during the peak heat hours (10am-5pm)
It is best to stay indoors during the hottest hours of the day. If you need to step out in the sun, ensure that your baby is well protected.Take him out for walks early in the morning or late in the evening. Remove any excess padding from the pram as they can get very hot. You can also place a cotton sheet in the pram. Lying on cotton will be less hot for your baby than on the synthetic covering of the pram.
Choose suitable nappies
Disposable nappies will keep your baby much warmer than cotton nappies. The synthetic band of the disposable nappy may give your baby a heat rash . Cotton cloth nappies may help to prevent heat and nappy rash. If you have to use disposable nappies, dress your baby accordingly and try to keep him in a cool environment.
Give your baby more liquids
Make sure your baby drinks more in the summer. You could try lassi, milk shakes, fresh fruit juices and coconut water. These are refreshing and nutritious.
If your baby is younger than six months, and if you are exclusively breastfeeding, you do not need to give him water, even in hot weather. Babies who breastfeed whenever they wish do not get dehydrated. In hot weather, your baby may want to have more frequent, shorter feeds. He will get enough liquid from your breastmilk.
These short feeds will give him more foremilk. This is thinner and more refreshing than the fat rich hindmilk. So let him have as many extra feeds as he wishes. If your baby is formula-fed, you could offer him some boiled, cooled water in hot weather.
Avoid buying food and drinks in the street
Don't give your baby ice-cream, popsicles, water and fruit juices from roadside vendors. These may not be fresh and may make your baby sick.
Try to take food and water for your baby when you go out with him. You may like to buy good, food grade plastic ware (preferably BPA-free) to store your baby's food. Taste your baby's food before you feed him, to ensure that it is not spoilt. This is particularly important in the hot summer months, when stored cooked food spoils very quickly.
Do not use massage oils, petroleum jelly or other creams
In the summer, try to avoid massage oils. They can give your baby a heat rash or red skin if not washed off properly. If you still want to massage him, you can give him a dry massage. If you feel the need to use oil, try cooling oils, like olive oil or coconut oil.Lotions and creams can also irritate your baby's skin in the heat. But while going out in the sun, its important to use a sunscreen recommended by your doctor on your little one. The cream will protect your baby's gentle skin from the harmful sun.
Limit the use of talcum powder to keep your baby cool
Many mothers use a lot of talcum powder on their babies after a bath, thinking that this will keep their babies cool. Powder on wet skin can cake up and cause irritation and discomfort. So it's best to limit its use, especially near the nappy and neck. When using talc on your baby's body, see that he doesn't breathe it in. Use it sparingly and rub it in well.
Simple home remedies for heat rashes
Hot, humid days cause prickly heat rashes on the nape of the neck, shoulder, back, nappy area and in the skin folds. You can help treat this. Use buttermilk or curd mixed with water on the rash. You can also use a paste of multani mitti and rose water. They are cooling and healing. Wash them off after 10 minutes. Calamine lotion is also very good, but check with your doctor before using it on your baby. It is best not to buy powders against prickly heat rashes. They may irritate your baby's skin even more.
Let your baby cool off with some water play
Summers are a good time to let your baby enjoy some water play. You can put your baby in his bathtub or a small inflatable baby pool with a little water and some bath toys. Babies love to splash around, so let him have fun. Never leave your baby alone, even for a second.
Avoid taking your baby to an air-conditioned room right after a bath
Switch on the AC only after your baby is fully clothed and his hair is dry. Dress your baby in thicker cotton clothes and an inner vest if you plan to keep him in the AC all day. Babies can quickly catch a chill or cold if they are not well protected.
Keep your baby away from direct cold air flow
Do not let the cold air from the AC or cooler hit your baby directly. Whenever your baby is sleeping or playing, ensure that the cold air does not flow directly at him.
It's also best not to take your baby into warmer areas just after he has been in an air-conditioned room. Switch off the AC first. Let him adjust to the warmth before taking him out.
Do not use cheap goggles or eye shades for your baby
Some new parents like to use goggles or eye shades for the baby. While opinion on infants using shades is divided, it is best to speak to your doctor.
If you really want to get shades for your baby, buy them from a well-known brand in a reputable shop. Avoid plastic shades that are sold on the roadside or at toy shops. They do not offer proper UV protection and can harm your baby's eyes.
Protect your baby from mosquitoes
Summer also means there are mosquitoes about that spread diseases, like malaria and dengue. Use a mosquito net for your baby, especially if you have many mosquitoes, flies and other insects around your home. If you use an air cooler, regularly clean and change its water. This will prevent the breeding of any insects. Speak to your doctor and see if you can use insect repellent creams on your baby.
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