Beating the Summer heat if you are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
SUMMER for many is their favourite season of the year...until they get PREGNANT and then it becomes uncomfortable!!! There are a few things to take note of as you brave the heat this summer.
It's not just that it's hotter outside, but pregnant women are hotter too: In the first trimester, the progesterone hormone increases body temperature. Pregnant woman's body temperature is already higher than normal so add in scorching summer temperatures and if you are not careful dehydration or other medical problems could arise.
Dehydration is common in the summer months. Did you also know pregnant woman is more prone to sunburn than non-pregnant woman? Other not so nice side effects of the summer heat is swelling, chaffing,
Surviving the summer heat is necessary if you are pregnant and here are some tips:
1. Avoid direct sunlight.
Do outside activity early in the morning or after the sun sets.
2. Stay hydrated.
Water intake should about eight to 10 glasses per day and should be more if you are exercising. Drink low-sugar electrolyte fluids, especially if you’re going to spend time outside.
3. Dress for the heat.
Wear loose, breathable clothing and a hat to reduce sun exposure.
4. Spritz water often.
Carry a spray bottle with you and spritz yourself with water to cool down your body temperature.
5. Be smart about exercise.
Swimming is a terrific way to exercise and keep your body cool. Or stay inside and work out at the gym or walk laps at the mall.
6. Wear sunscreen.
Be sure to reapply after sweating or swimming. Choose a brand with at least SPF 30 and make sure your face is protected.
Newborn babies need extra care and attention when it becomes hot. Quite often they will want to breastfeed more reguarly, though become agitated due to the sweaty nature of skin to skin so might feed more less time.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association reports the following:
"Most parents worry at some stage that their fully-breastfed baby may not be getting enough to drink in hot weather and they ask if they should give boiled water or fruit juice 'just in case'. The answer in most cases is that extra fluids are not required if your baby is breastfed whenever he needs and this may be more often than usual - just as you are drinking more often.
Breastmilk contains a perfectly balanced ratio of food and water to meet all your baby's needs. It is a living fluid, ever-changing to suit your baby and even in response to the weather! The first milk your baby gets from a full breast has a low fat content and naturally quenches baby's thirst. Once the let-down has occurred, the fat content of the milk gradually increases as the breast softens. This later milk has a creamier appearance and satisfies baby's hunger.
In hot weather a thirsty baby may want to breastfeed more frequently but for shorter periods. In this way he is getting more low-fat milk and so is satisfying his thirst. If you need to be away from your baby, it is preferable that he has your expressed breastmilk (EBM).
An older baby or toddler who is no longer exclusively breastfed may be encouraged to drink water between breastfeeds. You can also offer extra 'snack' breastfeeds to keep him well hydrated. Another refreshing idea for toddlers is to freeze fruit pieces, such as orange quarters, peeled banana or slices of pineapple - cooling and fun, just be prepared for the very sticky mess!
- Some babies become sleepy travelling in hot weather. You may need to stop and wake your baby for feeds.
- The effect of car airconditioners can cause some dehydration - so extra breastfeeds may be necessary on long trips, even if you are cool.
- Prams that are enclosed are airless and can get very hot. An open-weave bassinette, cradle, layback stroller, baby hammock, cot or portable cot is probably cooler for your baby to sleep in."
As a result of Mum needing to feed more often and the heat making her dehydrated she needs to increase her water quantity. Signs of dehydration include irritability, headache, dry mouth, a feeling of thirst, and darker-than-usual urine. Prevent dehydration by carrying a refillable water bottle with you. It is suggested drinking a glass of water every time baby drinks. If water’s not really your thing, eat more high-water-content fruit, like watermelon, as well as frozen fruit and other fresh fruits and vegetables.
Outfits should also be loose, comfortable and made from a performance/breathable fabric. You may also want to carry a bamboo/cotton sheet to place between yourself and the baby during a feed. Our new cotton breastfeeding tshirt is a great idea as the zip allows for easy discrete access and there is material that remains between you and bub.
Stay vigilant and HYDRATED this Summer!