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Dr Virginia Thorley, OAM, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant


Sleepy baby in hot weather

Posted on January 5, 2020 at 2:04 AM Comments comments (3)
In very hot weather, if your baby isn't wanting to breastfeed as vigorously as usual, it may be that she is overheated or overdressed.
 Some tips:
- Those new clothes look lovely, but they are holding her body heat in. If you don't have air-conditioning, she is more comfortable if dressed in just a nappy (diaper). Perhaps a very, very thin little cotton top, at most.
- Feeding cues may be less obvious. If your baby is stirring, it helps to sponge her down with a wet face cloth, enough to wet her skin. 
- (Careful! The water from the "cold" tap may actually be hot - as it was at my place the other day - and need cooling down.)  
- About halfway through the feed, perhaps when you usually change sides or change her nappy, she may feel hot from being against your body. So this is another good time to sponge her face, head, chest and back. Chances are, she will feel more comfortable and feed better after that. 
- She may want short feeds more often to keep her fluids up. Your milk gives her the fluid she needs, as well as being food.
- Electric fans are helpful, and if you have an air-conditioner in even one room, this can help keep your baby cool in the hottest part of the day.
- Look at my older posts on this blog for more ideas.
NB. If your baby doesn't wake and feed and becomes lethargic, and her urine (pee) is darker, seek medical advice immediately.

Latest heatwave

Posted on January 5, 2018 at 9:41 PM Comments comments (9)
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.