The Big Question
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Q I’m taking my nine-monthold abroad for the first time. How can I keep her cool? Linda Cawthorne, Cumbria
Babies and hot weather don’t go well together, but as long as you’re well prepared, your daughter will be both safe and comfortable. The first thing is to ensure she’s kept well hydrated, since she can’t tell you when she’s thirsty. Offer cooled, boiled water as well as her formula if you’re bottle-feeding. And if you’re breastfeeding, let her feed more often if she wants to, and make sure you stay well hydrated too. Signs of dehydration are a dry mouth and tongue, fewer wet nappies (less than six a day) and dark yellow wee. She may have fewer tears if she cries, and may also be generally listless. But don’t let her get to this point – encourage her to drink more than normal, keep an eye on those nappies, and renew your efforts at the slightest indication.
Avoid the direct sun, especially around midday. Lunchtime is an ideal time for her to take a nap, indoors and in an air-conditioned room. Many parents find a different holiday rhythm, going out to explore early and late in the day, returning to their accommodation for an extended siesta in the middle of the day.
Kit her out with a sun hat, sunglasses, light UV-protective clothing, and sunscreen. If you’re going to the beach, take a pop-up anti-UV baby beach tent, so you can put her in the shade. Take frequent dips in the sea, the swimming pool or a paddling pool. If you’re going to be using a hotel crèche, talk to the hotel in advance about how they keep babies under their watch cool, too.
Nighttimes can be tricky. Air-conditioning is invaluable, but you can also cool the air by hanging wet towels over windows or chairs, and keep the curtains closed in the daytime to ensure you don’t come home to a muggy room. Keep bedding to a minimum, too, and let your daughter sleep in just a nappy if needs be.
You can help her cool down at any point by giving her a tepid bath and then letting her air-dry on a towel, as the evaporation of the water will help bring her temperature down further. Have a wonderful holiday! RC
THE BIG QUESTION