Breastfeeding in the summer heat
The sun’s out – YAY, but you have to breastfeed in the heat – BOO. Summer might put most people in a good mood, but for breastfeeding mamas, rising mercury can cause stress. Breastfeeding alone can already come with a whole host of difficulties, so we’ve put together some breastfeeding tips that will help you deal with the heat, so you can focus on the important business of enjoying your summer.
How the summer heat can affect breastfeeding
- Risk of dehydration – We probably sound like a broken record, but staying hydrated when you’re breastfeeding is so important. So top up your water bottle and get slurping. This is even more important in the heat as your breast milk will often become more ‘watery’ to keep your child hydrated.
- Routine? What routine? – It’s more likely that you’ll have time off work, or you’ll be spending more time outside during the summer, so your normal breastfeeding routines might change.
- Your baby’s needs - Your baby’s feeding habits might change. For example, they may want to feed in the middle of the day or feed more regularly but for shorter periods.
Keeping yourself and your baby cool
- If you’re breastfeeding outside, find a shaded area, cover yourself with a wide brim sun hat (practical, and you’ll look like a movie star), and use a light muslin square to cover your little one if you don’t have much shade.
- Dress your baby in loose-fitting clothes (cotton is lovely and breathable) or even just a nappy if it’s scorching. Of course, lighter colors reflect the sun better than dark colors, which will absorb the rays, but this shouldn’t matter too much as long as the clothing is baggy and breathable.
- Lifehack! If you’re inside and finding that the room is sweltering, hang up some damp towels, which will help cool down the room.
- If you plan on going out and about, generally try and avoid going out during the peak heat hours (11 am - 3 pm). When you’re going out, make sure to bring a wide brim hat and a muslin square.
Other top tips for breastfeeding in the heat
- Stay hydrated – We’re banging on about drinking water again. Drinking lots of fluids is critical for general hydration, so when the temperature rises, don’t leave home without a water bottle. This will also help with keeping your baby hydrated. There’s no need to feed your baby water as long as you stay hydrated and breastfeed often. On the subject of dehydration, here are some giveaways that you probably need more fluids:
- Feeling thirsty
- Dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Feeling tired
- A dry mouth, lips, and eyes
- Peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day
- Be cautious with sunscreen – If you’re using sunscreen and applying it to the breast, the residue can cause your nipple to taste different (and pretty nasty). If your baby is under the age of six months, it’s not advised to use sunscreen on them due to their sensitive skin. However, you can apply small amounts on the sun-exposed areas. It’s advised to use mineral sunscreen rather than chemical sunscreen in this scenario. Sunscreen should have instructions regarding use on children, so make sure to follow those.
It’s getting hot in here
New moms and breastfeeding mamas should be able to enjoy the summer just like everyone else, so try not to stress yourself out about breastfeeding in the heat. Keep hydrated (we’ll give it a rest now) and try and make sure your little one is kept in the shade. Now pour yourself a tipple and enjoy the rest of your summer. 😎