Bit sweaty today? Us too. Glorious as the sunshine is, if you’ve got a little one, there’s a whole extra layer of worry and faff to contend with. Here are a few tips to get you through the hottest week of the year so far…
1. Don’t panic
You know what makes you hotter? Freaking out. So try not to. Remember, there are plenty of perfectly content babies in countries way, way hotter than this one. Sure, many of them are better set up for it (they’ve got air con, we’ve got a shagpile carpet and an old fan nicked from our dad’s office in 1993) but still, with a bit of common sense, it will all be FINE.
2. Any excuse for an “ice ice baby” subheading
Lots of people swear by breastmilk ice lollies for teething babies, but they’re a winner in a heatwave too, especially if your baby is recoiling from your big sweaty boobs, which can happen (and make you freak out further when you worry they’re dehydrated). For older kids, making your own ice lollies in general is a fun indoor activity. We got some moulds just the other day from Aldi in the shape of unicorns and penguins (it goes without saying that we’d only gone in for some nappies) and haven’t had to throw money at the ice cream man ever since.
3. Know the facts
If your baby is breastfed, you don’t need to give them water, even when it’s scorchio. Instead, your breast milk will cunningly adapt to be more hydrating than usual, so just keep on boobing. If your baby is formula fed, you can give them a small amount of water if they seem thirstier than usual. And if your baby is over six months, they can have water with food anyway. And try and steal the fruit from your Pimm’s.
4. Go somewhere really boring
Don’t just sit in the house with the curtains shut, fretting about where to go. Summon your inner Californian and go and hang out somewhere aggressively air-conditioned… multiplex cinemas, shopping malls, leisure centres, your dad’s new Nissan Qashqai, car showrooms, the Mush office… all soulless voids, but so cold, so very cold. Bloody freezing actually. You might need a cardi.
5. Keep their pram cool
For years, people have been hanging muslins, or even blankets, over their baby’s pram to keep the sun out. And for years, everyone’s been telling them that this isn’t actually a good idea as it actually makes them hotter. You’re better off investing in a pram parasol (or just pissing about with an umbrella and some sticky tape…) or, best of all, staying out of the sun and sitting under a tree in the park. Ideally with some gin in a tin.
6. Prep their bedroom
It’s night time, specifically the sort of time that babies (theoretically) go to bed that’s the really tough bit in this heat. So, plan ahead. Make sure you keep their curtains shut all day to keep that pesky sunshine out. And come bedtime, try hanging wet towels or sheets around the room to cool it down. And as for what they should wear to bed, when it’s really, really hot, just a nappy will do (although admittedly trickier if your baby’s old enough to try and take it off by themselves. Maybe that’s where “the shit hits the fan” comes from?). Otherwise we find this chart very useful.
7. Get some roll-on sun cream
Little babies shouldn’t wear suncream, they’re best off just staying covered, but these days there are plenty on the market OK from about six months (sensitive skin permitting). But sometimes it’s easier said than done: if your little one tries and hides behind the fridge when they see the dreaded suncream coming out (why are they so convinced we’re trying to kill them when the opposite is true?), the roll-on kind can make life easier – it’s much faster to apply to even the wriggliest of kids. Alternatively you might have a toddler like ours who likes suncream so much that they come up to us 17 times a day asking to be squirted. Safe but expensive.
8. Just chill out and get in the paddling pool with them
And then post photos on social media that make it look like you’re actually enjoying this sweltering hell.