Tips for healthy summer newborns
Although babies born in the warmer summer months are less likely to get coughs and sniffles in their first few weeks of life, special care needs to be taken in other areas to ensure that your baby is healthy and comfortable.
Newborn babies can't tell you if they are too hot or cold, but there are ways to check. Place your hand across your baby's back underneath their clothes, or on the back of their neck. They should feel warm, not hot or cold. Feeling a baby's hands and feet is not an accurate way of telling whether they are cold or hot, as a baby's hands and feet are usually slightly cooler than the rest of his or her body.
As a general rule, your baby needs one more layer of clothing than you do. For example, if you are wearing a t-shirt, then your baby will need a singlet and t-shirt. In very hot weather, your baby may need less clothing.
Cotton clothing is great for summer newborns, as it is light and breathes well.
Your newborn's skin is soft and raw, and offers no protection from the sun. Use specially designed sun shades, or a cloth nappy or blanket over the car seat or pram to protect your baby from the sun when out and about. When at the beach or park, try to choose a shady area to sit, or take an umbrella or pop-up tent to offer your baby shade.
If you are breastfeeding, then your breast milk contains both foremilk to quench your baby's thirst, and hind milk which is your baby's food. Your baby should not need any fluids other than breast milk, but you may need to give shorter feeds more frequently to keep your baby hydrated.
If you are bottle-feeding, you may need to offer your baby cooled boiled water from a sterilized bottle or teaspoon to ensure that he or she has enough fluids in very hot weather.
On hot, sticky summer days and nights, you may find that your newborn has trouble settling to sleep. Open some windows in baby's bedroom to keep the room cool, but be sure that baby's cot or bassinette is not in a draft. If you can't open windows, you could try using an electric fan in baby's room, once again making sure that it does not create a draft on baby.
If you wrap your baby when he or she is sleeping, remove one layer of clothing before wrapping to ensure that your baby does not get too hot. Muslin is great for wrapping summer babies - it is very light and breathes well. Muslin wraps are available from baby stores, or you can buy plain muslin from a fabric store and make your own.