Having a newborn in summer - Curiosities
You're worried that the high summer temperatures might cause your newborn baby to become dehydrated, or how to tell if he's hot, and how to dress him in summer.
And at the same time, you wonder if you can go out somewhere for a few days' holiday. We answer all your questions.
Summer is a good time to give birth
If your little one has decided to be born in the summer, rejoice. Firstly, because you're spared from spending the hottest months with a big belly and, secondly, because now it's much easier to dress him and you can give him a bath or a massage without fear of him getting cold. Also, as the days are longer and the temperature is warmer, you'll be able to walk around with him in the afternoon for quite a while or even sit on a quiet terrace with your partner or friends.
Your newborn baby will also get an extra dose of vitamin D from the sunlight and is less at risk of jaundice (a yellowish colouring caused by an excess of bilirubin in the blood that his very young liver is unable to assimilate), as light is the best remedy for this condition.
However, be aware of other risks such as dehydration, sun exposure and gastrointestinal infections.
How to know if your baby is hot
It is true that babies regulate their body temperature very poorly and that they tend to be cold, but that doesn't mean that you should overdress them or, on the contrary, keep them half naked. As always, use your common sense. Newborns should be dressed in cool clothing, such as short-sleeved cotton T-shirts.
Babies regulate their temperature by sweating through their heads. Therefore, if you notice a sweaty neck, it means that your little one is getting hot, even if their hands and feet seem cold (as these are the extremities, it's easy to find them this way).
Preventing baby dehydration
Dehydration, i.e. excessive loss of body water due to heat, is the main risk of high summer temperatures or spending a lot of time in places where heat is concentrated, such as in a car or under a beach umbrella.
The symptoms are very clear: fontanelles and eyes appear sunken, lips are dry and skin appears wrinkled when pinched. If you notice these warning signs, act immediately:
How to care for a newborn in a heatwave
- Take your child urgently to a medical centre and give him or her a teaspoon of oral rehydration solution every three minutes.
- But to prevent heatwaves, as well as avoiding hot places, it is essential to make sure your baby is well hydrated.
- If the baby is breastfed, it is not necessary to give extra fluids.
- Babies who drink formula milk, if the bottle is prepared according to the amounts of liquid and powder indicated by the manufacturer, do not usually need to drink water either.
- But if it is very hot, try offering water in a bottle; if he refuses, don't worry.
In the summer you have to be very careful with gastrointestinal infections, as the heat activates the bacteria that cause them and one of their symptoms, diarrhoea or vomiting, causes rapid dehydration. The best thing to do is to prevent them.
- If you breastfeed your child there is less chance of them suffering from these infections, but don't forget to maintain good hygiene: wash your hands thoroughly before each feed.
- If you bottle-feed your baby during these months, it is better than ever to use boiled water, and sterilise the bottle, teat, thread and lid before each feeding.
- If you decide to prepare a bottle in advance, keep it in the fridge until you give it to your baby.
Can I take my baby on holiday?
Caring for a baby on holiday
Doctors usually advise that newborns should not be taken on holiday until they are at least one month old. As for the holiday destination, it can be the mountains, the countryside or the sea, depending on the preferences of each family. If the family is comfortable, the baby will adapt to any place:
- The most important thing is to avoid dehydration and never expose the baby to the sun.
- If you go to the coast, don't take him to the beach or put him in the water, because it is too cold for him and contains impurities that can harm him.
- If you opt for the mountains, don't forget that the sun is just as harmful and that at altitudes above 1,200 m oxygen levels drop.
- When travelling by car, be very careful because the sun's rays are more powerful through the windows. Even if you have the air conditioning on and it is not hot, the strength of the sun's rays reach you just the same.
- Put sunscreen on the windows, and again, don't forget to put a hat on the child's head. It is a good idea to have someone in the back of the car with the baby so that they can look after them and know if the air is too strong or the sun is shining on them.
- If you get caught in a traffic jam or caravan, it is best to pull off the road, as a stationary car at low speed can concentrate high temperatures.
How to protect your baby from bites
Mosquito bites can be very annoying for your baby. To avoid getting bitten, here are a few tips on what to do and what not to do:
- Install mosquito nets on the windows in their room.
- Cover the pram with a net (available in specialist childcare shops).
- Do not spray their room with insecticides.
- You can also use electronic mosquito repellents.
- In pharmacies you will find specific repellent creams for babies. In this case, be careful not to apply the lotion to your baby's hands, so that he/she doesn't suck on it.
Tips for safe walks
Take your baby for a walk in the cooler hours of the day
In summer you can go for a walk with your baby, but not during the hottest hours of the day. Make the most of the early hours of the morning, up to 12 noon at the latest. If you prefer the afternoons, go out from six or seven in the evening, when the sun is already less strong. Pay attention to his body temperature, even if he is uncovered, as he may feel suffocated because the bonnet of the cuckoos concentrates a lot of heat.
If you decide to take it off and put the sunshade on, don't forget that he should go outside with his hat on. Bear in mind that as soon as you change direction, if he is not wearing a hat, the sun will shine on his little head. You should also apply full sunscreen to his thin skin, which prevents the absorption of ultraviolet rays. Always wear it whenever you go outside, even if you go out with an umbrella, if you plan to walk in the shade or if the day is cloudy.