With the days becoming longer and warmer, we thought it might be a good time to talk about breastfeeding your baby in the hot weather.
One of the most asked questions during hot weather is whether or not to give your baby water. While this does sound logical and tempting, there is no need to give babies water for them to stay hydrated.
Giving your baby water will fill him or her up on empty calories. It is of no benefit while they are breastfeeding, as breast milk has enough nutrients to hydrate well as nourish babies.
Baby may want to feed more often and for shorter periods in hot weather. This is because the first milk baby drinks (the foremilk) is lighter in fat and able to quench baby’s thirst. They may just want a quick feed (5 to 10 minutes) to quench their thirst, settle and be awake wanting a feed at the usual time, or just feed more frequently. This is totally normal. It does not mean your baby is not being satisfied with the amount of milk you are producing.
Keeping cool is also important so as not to overheat mum or baby. Make sure you have plenty of cool water to drink during the day and have it with you when you breastfeed, as this will lessen the risk of you becoming dehydrated.
Air conditioning feels wonderful in hot weather, but baby may lose more fluids through his or her skin, so in this case, being cool does not necessarily mean baby will not be thirstier and want to feed more.
Holding baby in hot weather can be uncomfortable, to say the least. No one wants to be close to another body when they are feeling hot and both mum and baby can become hot, sweaty and frazzled in the heat while breastfeeding. Things you could try include cooling your baby with a luke warm cloth or bath before feeding, as this may cool him down and make him less irritable and more willing to feed. Also, feeding baby lying on your side or placing a towel, nappy or light cloth between you and babe stops the skin to skin contact, reducing heat transference and perspiration.
While being skin to skin is extremely important in the first few weeks of baby’s life ‘on the outside’, gently talking, smiling & ‘cooing’ to your baby also maintains closeness and bonding.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at The Nest if we can help you with breastfeeding issues, or alternatively, the Australian Breastfeeding Association is an excellent resource.
Ange, Clare and Marnie would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy 2017.
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