Mothers with small babies and young children dread the coming of the hot weather. Excessive heat often makes the youngsters irritable, peevish and tearful. But if precautions are taken against baby becoming overheated; if his food supply is kept free from all contamination and his clothes are such as to permit freedom and comfort, then there is no reason why the hot days should not pass in peace and contentment for both mother and child.
The greatest factor in keeping baby well during the hot weather is suitable feeding. In this respect infants who are breastfed have many advantages over those who are fed artificially. It is a well-known fact that a majority of summer ailments occur among the latter. Those who are obtaining a natural supply of milk being comparatively free from attack.
Clean, Cool and Covered
If baby is on artificial food special care must be taken regarding its preparation. Whoever undertakes the task should have scrupulously clean hands; milk must be obtained from a reliable source, and after being sterilized, should be kept in a cool place where there is no risk of infection.
All vessels used in the preparation of the food must be scalded also, then allowed to stand in the same water (which should completely cover them) until they are cool. Do not allow cold water to be poured over the vessels, as this defeats the purpose of the sterilization. Do not allow the vessels to stand about where flies and dust can lob on them once they have been sterilised.
Even while the food is being mixed everything not in actual use must be kept covered because of the menace of flies which is so much greater In hot weather than in winter.
In very hot weather it is advisable to reduce the fat content of baby’s diet and if his food does not seem to be agreeing with him, seek the advice of your nearest Infant Health Centre.
Plenty to Drink
A question which is often raised by perplexed mothers is, “Can I give baby frequent drinks of water?” The answer is an emphatic “yes.” Baby, like everyone else, is using up a great deal of the moisture from his little body which must be replaced.
He becomes more thirsty too as the temperature rises and will be thankful for all the cold, boiled water he can get but be sure that it has been boiled and is kept covered. His supply of fruit juice could be increased also.
Another problem which worries inexperienced mothers is how often baby may be bathed. In warm weather this is one of the most simple methods of keeping him cool and comfortable. When he becomes restless and fretful for no other apparent reason, sponge him down or give him a tepid bath. You will find he will probably sleep peacefully when returned to his cot, but be sure he is thoroughly dried or his tender skin will chafe. This is a danger you must watch for carefully during the summer months as he is more apt to get moist than in the winter.
The Clothes Question
Like his elders, baby will want to discard some of his clothing. While at home in his cot there is no reason why, if the weather is VERY hot, he should not lie without even his little singlet. When taking him out put on a singlet that is loose fitting of light, smooth, soft texture so that it will not irritate his tender skin. Add a frock of voile and he will be cool and happy. Don’t forget, this is important to take an extra wrap for him and watch carefully for any cool change in the weather.
While it is essential that baby, even in summer, spends as much time as possible in the open air, care should be taken to keep his cot or pram out of the direct heat of the sun. Place it in some cool, shady spot in the garden and cover securely with a green mosquito net. This, which should not be too close to his face, protects him from flies and other animals, falling leaves or berries, while the colour saves his eyes from glare.
Toddlers . . . and Others
If baby has passed beyond the stage of infancy, the same rules, more or less, may be applied. Do not force children to eat in hot weather, but make their meals as appetising as possible in order to tempt them. Much more cold food should be served than is usually the case. A hot meal on a hot day is sufficient to banish appetite, particularly that of a very young child. Cold soup, for instance, would be more acceptable than a bowl of steaming broth; jellied vegetables on crisp lettuce; iced custards – all these things are nourishing and acceptable.
Give the children an unlimited supply of cold, boiled water and frequent fruit drinks. Fresh fruit should be included in their diet, but select it carefully, making sure it is firm, without being over-ripe. Avoid fatty foods and vary your methods of serving their milk diet.
Playing with Water
Allow toddlers to run about in a minimum of clothing, but be sure they do not get sunburnt. If the skin is inclined to rash be sure to avoid putting anything with wool in it next to the skin. When the temperature soars into the century it is a good plan to dress the children in bathers over a long sleeved jumper to protect them from sunburn, and allow them to play with water, such as a hose on the lawn. Provided they are watched for the slightest sign of chilliness no harm will result. Another plan is to put them into bathers and let them play with toy boats in a bath. During the great heat of the day endeavour to interest them in toys which will keep them from running about and becoming overheated.
Nancy is a mom blogger, having 10 years of experience in Parenting. She loves writing articles about ways to prevent accidental poisoning, and sharing tips on how to take care of baby’s skin problems (infantile eczema, impetigo, and heat rash etc.)