A new baby coming into your life brings a lot of joy, but for many parents, there can also be some worry, perhaps some anxiety, and lots of questions. Many of those questions deal with baby’s health. Are they sleeping enough, eating enough, and developing at the typical rate? Are they crying too much or too little? Is their crying related to hunger or some form of distress?
Some questions may be less urgent, but still important. Are they warm enough in cooler months? Are they too warm in hot months? Choosing the right baby clothing will help keep your child comfortable all year round, so keep reading if you have ever asked yourself “how should I dress my newborn in summer?”
Dressing Your Baby in the Summer
Many of us have experienced sunburn at some point in our lives, whether as kids playing outside or as adults falling asleep on the warm sand at the beach. Skin becomes red and painful, generating heat and not wanting to be touched, even by the softest clothing.
Babies, especially newborns, have skin that is much more sensitive than that of an adult and they may experience a bad sunburn in a fraction of the time than their parents or an older child would. Sometimes 5 to 10 minutes unprotected in the sun is all that is needed. With older kids, parents will reach for the sunblock. But what about babies?
The guidelines from Health Canada state that sunscreen should not be used on babies under 6 months of age without asking your pediatrician first, so that leaves covering them up as the safest method of protecting their delicate skin.
Covered But Cool
The style of baby clothing will be a personal choice, but when it comes to safety, there are some practical guidelines. You want to protect them, but at the same time, you want to keep them cool. Some guidelines to consider:
Dress Them in Layers During the Day.
If you know that you will be in and out of the sun, you can bring a light hoodie for them to wear while outside, which can then be removed in the shade or when you go back indoors. Babies can generally handle an extra layer compared to an adult, but you also don’t want to overdo it. Keep extra clothes in your diaper bag. Shorts and long pants, along with short-sleeved and long-sleeved tops are good to have on hand if you are going from hot sun to air-conditioning and back again.
Don’t Use Layers at Night.
Wearing an extra layer could pose a hazard if the loose clothing moves to cover the face. Stick with a light bodysuit and try to keep the temperature of their room comfortable and as stable as possible.
Protect Them From The Sun.
Keep your little one’s skin covered and protected from the sun. Some sunlight is fine but avoid prolonged or intense exposure. If you will be out somewhere that you can’t avoid the sun, keep them covered from head to toe. If you are using a stroller or car seat, avoid covering it with a blanket, which can cause overheating or breathing issues.
Use Light, Loose, Breathable Fabrics.
Avoid lycra in favour of cotton. A light onesie, or loose pants and tops are good choices. Having them be a little cool (they’ll cry if they get cold) is better than overheating.
Use a UV-protected Hat.
Protect the head, neck, and shoulders with a UV-protected hat with a wide brim and under-chin strap. As with additional layers, do not let your little one sleep with the hat.
How to Tell if Your Baby is Too Hot
On very hot days or evenings, you can watch for signs that your baby is too hot. Don’t let them overheat so that they can stay safe and comfortable. Some signs to look for include:
- Being warm to the touch
- Skin that is flushed or red
- A rapid heartbeat
- Fast breathing
- Acting lethargic or unresponsive
- Damp hair and/or sweaty neck
- Heat rash
- Restlessness and inability to sleep
- Rectal temperature of 38° C/ 100.4° F or higher
As with just about everything designed for newborns, baby clothing is adorable, and most parents enjoy seeing their little ones in cute outfits. Just remember to dress your baby appropriately for the seasons to ensure they stay comfortable.
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