Motherhood: Worrying about my son in the sun!
I used to look forward to our rare hot sunny days in England. Until I had a baby.
I was lucky to be heavily pregnant in winter, and my son was actually born when we had loads of snow. If it was cold, I just added layers. But when it’s boiling and your baby is already only wearing a nappy, you can’t really remove much more!
We naturally head outside when it’s warm and soak up the rays. But for babies, their delicate skin is very susceptible to sunburn and under 6 months, the advice is to keep them out of the sun altogether rather than apply suncream. I used to enjoy my garden. Now I stare longingly at it from inside whilst my son and I sit in front of a fan.
You’d think being on maternity leave would equal a great tan in this weather but I think I’d give Casper a run for his money.
When we do venture outside, I spend the whole day chasing the shade. My son is over 6 months so I bought a paddling pool with a canopy and at least it’s stopped me constantly moving the pool to the shaded areas. My little one loves being in there - once I make sure the water is warmed first! I still put on waterproof baby suncream with a 5* UVA rating and a little hat that has ended up in the water more times than I care to mention. He doesn’t like wearing sunglasses yet (does any baby?!) but I’m hoping he’ll get used to them soon to protect his little eyes - and so I can get a good pic for Instagram!
But it’s not just sunburn and UV rays you have to think about - it’s overheating in general too. My dad put a muslin over my son’s pram the other day thinking he was doing the right thing to protect him from the UV rays - but of course it causes a baby to then overheat. Instead I try to dress my son in light cotton clothing and try to keep him in the shade wherever possible and we use our pram’s parasol. I definitely avoid heading out in the hottest part of the day where possible. His car seat is so padded for safety that it just holds the heat and makes him sweaty. Without air-con in our car we’d have no chance! I’m actually glad the baby classes have ended for summer so that I don’t have to melt in a church hall, even if it does mean I go most of the day without seeing another adult!
I think because SIDS awareness makes us hyper-vigilant about overheating, you then worry day and night about the rising temperatures. And nighttimes can just be unbearable. I feel like a sweaty mess and I think my son feels the same! The guidance is to try and ensure the room temperature is below 20degrees, but with all our bedroom windows open and a fan, we struggle to keep it below 25. The other night it was 29degrees and I woke up needing a shower. God knows how the baby felt as they can’t regulate their temperatures!
And then there’s the worry about dehydration. There was a local Mum whose baby was hospitalised recently and so whilst there is no way I WANT a baby on my boob when it’s this hot, I worry he’s not getting enough fluids so I’m usually the one pushing the feeds! My friend was worried she’d given too much water to her formula fed baby as she went over the 2oz in 24hours rule that she didn’t read until AFTER she’d given him way more than that. It’s so hard to know if you’re doing everything right in such unprecedented heat!
In short, I am over this heatwave. But in typical British fashion, I’m moaning it’s too wet and cold again now that we’ve had a storm and the temperatures have dropped!
Comment with your top tips for staying cool in the sun!