With the current heatwave in much of Australia, including the southern states, it is timely to mention caring for you and your baby in extreme temperatures. My earlier posts on related topics have more information. Some quick tips:
- Stay indoors, especially if you have air-conditioning.
- Avoid the pool or beach in the heat of the day, unless it is an indoor pool, as a baby's skin can very quickly burn, including from reflected heat from the sand or water. Sunburn is a BURN.
- Keep the curtains or blinds drawn as letting the bright light in also lets the heat in. A darker room is a cooler room
- If you have a breastfed baby or toddler, your child will likely want to go to the breast for more frequent, short drinks. This is normal and helps keep up fluid intake to suit the weather conditions. Your baby will be able to get enough fluid, if allowed unrestricted access to the breast, as the milk adapts during the day to meet fluid needs. More frequent feeds also help stimulate the milk supply to meet demand.
- If you have a baby who is weaned onto infant formula, giving cool boiled water may be necessary, as formula doesn't change during the day to suit the baby's needs. Check that there's still the same number of really wet nappies, with clear urine (not darker).
- Busy mothers sometimes forget to drink enough fluid. (Yes, me too.) So be sure to take a good swig of water any time you feel thirsty (See my earlier blog post on this.)
- In very hot weather, sponging your baby with tap water may be necessary to cool him/her down. Check that the water from the "cold" tap isn't too warm or hot. If it is, you may need to cool it down before sponging your baby's skin.
- Finally, make sure you have fresh batteries in a portable radio, or your mobile device charged up, so that if the electricity goes off you can still listen for weather or fire warnings on the national emergency radio network, which is ABC Local Radio.
All of the above tips are tried and proven. I reared my own children in both the dry Tropics and the coastal Tropics, and I've also provided this advice and support to many mothers since then, whether on an individual basis or as a chapter in one of my books.