Coping During A Heatwave - Keeping Your Baby Cool Overnight
Summer is officially here in the UK but we are not used to such glorious weather very often!! This heat is fantastic but makes life difficult for the older and younger members of the family. The sun feels glorious during the day but at night the stickiness and heat is no fun for any of us in particular the babies. Even babies who sleep through the night will struggle in this heat. Here are my top tips to help make night times more comfortable for your little one and help them continue to get the sleep they need despite the hot sticky weather.
Keep baby's room as cool as possible
The ideal temperature for a room that your baby is sleeping inis usually between 16-20 degrees but with this current heatwave the temprateure has been above 30 degrees meaning keeping the room at the ideal temprature wont be easy.
- During the day keep blind and curtains closed and keep the windows open to encourage a breeze and circulate the air. Keeping the curtains closed protects the room from direct sunlight heating up the room even further.
- Using a fan can also help to keep the room cool but after a while fans just feel like they're circulating warm air. Freeze some large bottles of water ( 1-2 litre bottle sizes are perfect) and stand them in front of the fan to cool the room even more, as the ice melts the fan will blow air past the bottles and around the room cooling the air even more. My fan and ice from last night. I froze some water in a carrier bag and popped it into a baking tray ( to catch water as it melted) This kept the room lovely and cool and my charge slept very well But be sure not to point the fan directly at or too close to your baby. This fan was on the floor on the other side of the room from where baby was sleeping.
- Keep an eye on the temperature throughout the night as temps overnight can fluctuate. The temp can often drop by 2/3am making your baby feel cold and then rise again as morning approaches.
Keeping Baby as cool as possible
Just the heat and stickiness overnight alone are enough to make your baby more grouchy and sleep more restlessly than normal so try to keep your baby as calm and chilled as possible. An upset or frustrated baby is only going to get more hot in this weather.
- If bathtime is part of your bedtime routine consider having a warm bath instead of a cooler or luke warm tepid bath, this will raise your babies body temperature initally but then the body temparature will drop consideraby after the bath lowering your babies body temperature overall keeping baby cool baby and calm bedfore bed. This temp drop aso encourages the release of melatonin ( the sleepy hormone) along with dimmed light and dark room them as well.
- Dress baby the same way you would dress yourself to sleep in the heat. a sleeveless 100% cotton baby gro or even just letting baby sleep in a nappy will keep him/her cool. Remember that temp can fluctuate overnight so be sure to check that baby doesn't get too cold overnight if sleeping in just a nappy.
- Like adults, babies can get thirsty in this weather, Breastfed babies are usually very well hydrated if feeding regularly however formula fed babies may benefit from sips of cooled boiled water throughout the night if they wake and appear hungry but are not i the habit of having night feeds anymore ( of course if they are hungry then feed them and proper feed)
- If your baby sleeps swaddled use a large muslim to swaddle them and swaddle them naked ( apart from nappy) or in a sleeveless baby grow. Muslins are cool and breathable so baby is less likely to overheat.
- Consider half swaddling instead if your concerned about overheating leave one arm out of the swaddle and leave legs exposed too.
- Instead of a blanket or sheet cover your baby with a muslin instead, they are light and breathable so baby won't overheat under it. ( Aden and Anais sell large muslin sheets perfect for swaddling or to use as a sheet as well as to catch vomit or possits)
- Check baby's tummy or the back of the neck to get a more accurate gage of wether or not your baby is too hot, use a luke warm damp flannel or muslin to cool baby if they become hot and agitated overnight.
- If your babys cot or mattress feels hot try freezing some water in a hot water bottle, wrapping it in a towel and leaving on your baby's mattress for a few moments to cool the surface. Laying in a cool spot will be more soothing than a warm/hot spot when its hot at night.
Key points to remember in a heatwave
- Babies lose heat from their head, hands and feet so leave those uncovered as much as possible to keep them cool.
- Keep an eye on the temp throughout the night as temps fluctuate. The temp can often drop during the night making it quite cold, if your baby sleeps in just a nappy or a onesie without a cover sheet or swaddle they could get very cold
- Formula fed babies may need water overnight.
Charmaine Walters is a mum, night nanny, infant sleep coach and the creator of The Soundly Sleeping Club. Her online resource and members club for sleep deprived parents. To learn more about The Soundly Sleeping Club and how joining can help you not only get more sleep but help you better understand why your little one can struggle with sleep at times (and what you can do about it!) click here