A you expecting a baby in the Summer? You will probably be wondering what you need to do differently from babies who are born in the Winter. Here’s my top tips for surviving the Summer with your baby in the UK.
A Summer Baby needs to be warm too!
As a first time Mum, I naively assumed that if we were hot, then the baby must be hot too! I remember my first week home from the hospital and my son wasn’t happy at all. Turns out that while we were sweating our whatsits off, his were frozen! Note to self: a summer baby feels the cold.
While you won’t need cosy toes, heavy sleeping bags and pram suits, you will still need the basics that you would buy for any baby:
- baby grows
- hats and scratch mitts
- light jackets or cardigans
My eldest was born at the start of a very warm summer. You know the type where the daylight goes on for half the night! If you don’t have decent blackout blinds in your house (and let’s face it, you have to be an expert in precision engineering to cut those things to the perfect fit), a travel blackout blind is a perfect substitute.
These are more than just for holidays. Ours gets used every year from clock change to clock change. It keeps the room dark and helps to cool it down. You still need to have some origami skills if your window is a different shape but when combined with another blind or curtain over the top, they do the job.
Sun Protection for a Summer Baby
I grew up in Australia where the sun safe message is part of everyday culture. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t seem to be high on the agenda in the UK.
Here are the essentials for newborn sun protection:
- a pram parasol
- a sunshade
- keep them out of the sun
The best way to protect your baby from the sun is to keep them out of it. Sunscreen is not recommended for newborns under the age of 6 months.Sharlene Smith
Please don’t cover your pram with anything other than a specialist pram parasol or sunshade. These are designed to allow air into the pram and stops your baby from overheating. When you use a towel or other cover, these increase the temperature to very dangerous levels.
You can get more trusted guidance here.
These covers are worth the investment and the safest thing you can do (other than avoid the sun completely).
Car Window Shades
But the summer only lasts here for a few days? Well that’s not really true, is it! Car window shades like these help keep the sun off baby and can help keep your car nice and cool.
Can I take them swimming?
Be honest with yourself and don’t rush this one. Once your baby is past the six week mark, it is safe to take them swimming. However, don’t do it until you are really ready. You need to be 100% on your game for this activity for obvious reasons.
Don’t expect them to be happy in the water for hours or immediately love it. Instead, build up slowly.
When you look at the list below you will probably pass out with how much all of the baby swimming kit costs. The good news is that you can safely buy most of this stuff secondhand. Even better, you will find it easy to sell it all when you are done.
Over the years we have swum for hours and hours. Here’s my list of swimming essentials:
(1) Swimming nappy and cover
Think of a very thin disposal nappy followed by shorts which look like there are the bottom half of a wetsuit. These are necessary and most swimming pools won’t let you in without them.
(2) Swimming wrap
Think of these as a mini wetsuit to go around your baby. I didn’t use these with the eldest and battled with a mini wetsuit instead which was much harder.
These are quick to put on your baby and very quick to get off too. The other advantage is they give you something to hold onto when they are in the water.
I could write an entire post about my swimming adventures with my kids. In the meantime (until I have the time), here’s one from the NCT.
How should I dress my summer baby?
Natural fibres (cotton, wool and silk – as if you would!) are best for newborns, no matter what the weather. In Summer, buy 100% cotton clothing to help your baby regulate their body temperatures.
I think the majority of newborn clothing fits the bill here, but it’s always worth checking the label, especially once you end up in ‘outfit’ territory.
When it’s super hot, a nappy and a vest is all they need. Keep the cute outfits for the cooler weather.
Can I take them on holiday?
Don’t assume that having a baby means never leaving the house again. I’ve also heard some new Mums says that they wanted to ask permission from their midwife or health visitor to go on holiday! The answer is yes, you can take your baby on a summer holiday.
Here are a few things to think about before you decide:
(1) have they had their vaccines?
(2) does the airline allow young babies onboard?
(3) allow time to get them a passport and visa if necessary
(4) can you stay somewhere that already is setup for a baby?
(5) take enough nappies and milk for your journey, especially if travelling on a plane.
My kids have been dragged on plenty of holidays, including when I took my son to Australia at 13 weeks (yes I am a bit crazy but he has lived to nine now so it’s clearly not that bad).
Do babies need water?
If you are breastfeeding, then that should be enough for your baby. If you are formula feeding, you can offer cooled boiled water in between feeds if it is really hot. Water should be just an extra and not in the place of milk.
Keeping the bedroom cool
A final word on keeping the bedroom cool. You will probably have a nursery thermometer screaming at you that the room is too hot. Unfortunately, houses in the UK are not designed to cope with hot weather.
Here are some tips for cooling the bedroom down that I have had to learn over the years in my non-air-conditioned and non-open-plan house :-D.
- fans – if you don’t have a ceiling fan, invest in some inexpensive pedestal fans. They don’t cost a lot and can really help the comfort levels on a hot day.
- blackout blinds – I’ve already talked about the benefits of blackout blinds from a darkness perspective, but they help keep the room cool too. Ours stay up all through the warm weather and I just tuck them back to allow air into the bedroom.
- during the day, keep the blinds and curtains closed in the baby’s room. Open as many windows as you can to allow the air to circulate
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