Cool Breastfeeding in Hot Weather

Mother and baby breastfeeding outdoors in summer

Baby’s first summer? When it is hot outside, your baby still needs to breastfeed—probably more often than in cool weather. How can you stay cool while breastfeeding? It’s all about hydration and air flow.

Hydration

When it is hot outside, we sweat more in order to cool off. Because we lose more fluids, we need to take in more fluids.

Breastfeeding is enough to keep your baby hydrated, but a hot, thirsty baby may need to breastfeed more than usual. You may also notice that your baby wants to feed for shorter periods of time, which means more of the thinner foremilk and less of the hindmilk. This gives your baby exactly what is needed during hot weather.

Look for cues that your baby is asking to feed more often. Do not give your baby water or ice cubes. You will probably need to drink a lot more water to meet your needs and your baby’s, but your baby does not need supplemental water even in very hot weather.

If your house is air conditioned, your baby may lose more fluids through the skin, so keep in mind that a cool house doesn’t necessarily mean your baby won’t experience increased fluid needs in warm weather.

Bring your water. Before you sit down to breastfeed, grab your own water. Sip while you feed to keep yourself hydrated.

Air Flow

One of the keys to keeping cool in the summer, whether you are breastfeeding or changing diapers, is maintaining air flow. A breeze helps us feel cooler as it evaporates sweat.

When both you and your baby are hot and sticky, you might not be eager to be skin to skin for hours a day. Your baby might hesitate to feed because of the warmth, so try cooling off before feeding then keep feeding as cool as possible.

Stay Apart. If you lie down to breastfeed, you can put a bit more space between the two of you for air flow.

Cool Off. A quick bath, a dip in the wading pool, or just a splash in the sink and a wipe down can cool off your baby before feeding time. You could also keep a cloth near your diaper changing table and wipe your baby down with each diaper change. If nights are hot and humid with little relief from daytime temperatures, cooling off with water is a good way to calm down and make bedtime more comfortable.

Stay Cool. To keep from warming one another up immediately with skin-to-skin contact, insulate yourselves. Put a cotton prefold or flat diaper between you, or dress your baby in a very lightweight cotton outfit or just a diaper and a T-shirt. If you have a fan or a breeze, make sure that it won’t cool your baby too much during that relaxed, post-feeding state. Don’t sit with your baby directly in front of the fan or air conditioning. Keep the air comfortable.

For more cool tips for hot weather, read about cloth diapering. Next week, Cool Babywearing for Hot Weather.Link to sunscreen for infants

Image © Evgenyatamanenko | Dreamstime.com

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