Keeping Baby Warm – and Cool

When you first bring your new baby home from the hospital it is important to keep him warm. The hospital may have had really warm heating turned on and so baby was quite comfortable in a vest and nappy, with just a light cotton wrap over him. But most homes are not so warm.

New babies cannot make their own body heat, that is why they should be kept dressed and wrapped warmly especially at night. When we are cold in the night, we often pull the blanket up without even knowing, but baby will not be able to do this. He depends on you for warmth and nurture and must be placed into a sleeping bag or suit if he kicks off his blankets or wriggles out of them.

That said, a baby should not be kept too warm. Being too warm can cause dehydration and heat rash may develop. Using natural products made from pure cotton or even cotton blends will help baby to stay warm without overheating. Polyester may look beautiful, but most of it will not breathe and so there is the danger of baby overheating.

The same goes for polyester bedding. It will make baby sweat and be in danger of dehydration especially in the summer months. Children who have polyester blankets and sheets frequently wake up in the night hours crying for a drink of water. If the blankets are of pure wool or cotton, this rarely happens.

It is just as important to keep baby cool in hot weather if you are not fortunate enough to have air-conditioning in your home. On hot days baby will be comfortable in just a vest and nappy. All in one outfits should be kept for the cooler night or day as they are very warm, even if made from pure cotton.

During a heat wave, baby can be kept cool by dampening his face and hands with cool water. Having a fan in the same room blow on a damp cloth or a tray of ice will also help cool down the atmosphere. Remove cot bumpers to allow the air to circulate around the cot and let him sleep in just a nappy if the nights are really hot.

Wet towels hung over the chairs or curtain rails will help to cool the air too. If there is a waterproof sheet on the cot, it could be replaced with several towels to make a cooler surface. But don’t forget that some hot nights change quickly to cooler mornings and so you may need to get up and dress baby more warmly if he is not to be chilled.

When taking baby outside, care should be taken that he is not exposed to sunlight for more than a few minutes. Much damage can be done to baby’s delicate skin if he gets sunburned. Likewise, when going in the car care should be taken that baby does not get too hot. Never leave a baby or toddler alone in a car – mostly because of the heat factor, but also because toddlers can get into mischief and cause damage that might endanger the car and themselves.