Stepping out in the sun with your baby

For the first few months, it’s hard to take a baby out – their neck muscles are not strong enough to hold their head, they are really delicate, and they need to nurse often and sleep plenty! And moms and dads are exhausted and sleep-deprived too!! And moms and dads are exhausted and sleep-deprived too! But if you must take a baby out, or want to make the most of the summer, here’s some things to keep in mind:

Dress them right

No matter what the season, a thumb rule is to add one additional layer to their outfit, than what you need. Their skin is quite thin and they don’t perspire very effectively, which means they can react to extreme temperatures far sooner than an adult can. Choose cotton, preferably long sleeved and full length clothes so that their skin is not exposed. A cap with a brim is good to shield their faces from the sun.

Carriers, slings, wraps

A newborn doesn’t perspire very well and can feel quite hot in a carrier. Fabric slings and wraps are increasingly popular because they come without the fuss of buckles and clips. Also, they are mostly made from cotton fabric which is a great choice – it’s breathable, soft, and less likely to cause rashes and irritation to baby.

Choose lightweight nylon carriers, preferably back carrying, during summer.

Sunscreens

Since a newborn’s skin is so delicate, there’s always some concern about applying skincare products, including sunscreen. The American Academy of Pediatrics says, When adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) on infants under 6 months, to small areas such as the infant’s face and back of the hands. Remember it takes 30 minutes to be effective. If an infant gets sunburn, you must apply cool compresses to the affected area.

When to step out

The morning hours, between 10 am and 2 pm have the harshest sunlight, so avoid that if possible. But if you have to be out, seek out shade, choose a tent or a canopy if you are on a beach or in an outdoor cafe. And make sure the baby is hydrated by nursing them more or offering more formula.

Heat rash and sunburn

If a newborn gets a heat rash or a sunburn, it’s best to have it checked by their doctor. A heat rash shows up as tiny red bumps and can be relieved easier than a sunburn. A sunburn can be very uncomfortable. The affected part can become hot, red and swollen. Blisters can form but it’s advised not to pop them as that may lead to infections.

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