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Preparing Your Baby For Summer

With Sharleen Poole

Preparing Your Baby For Summer

Summer time is approaching and it's good to be aware of some simple tips that can help you care for your baby over this time.  Parents often ask me how they should dress their babies over summer; how their babies should sleep; and how they should travel with their baby to visit family over the Christmas holidays. Small babies make great travellers if you ensure their needs are met and, as the Christmas holidays approach, there are some essential tools that can make the time spent relaxing with family and friends more achievable and enjoyable!

Our summer temperatures fluctuate so much in most parts of NZ that we need to be prepared when taking small babies out and about. 

Dressing a baby in comfortable cool clothing is essential, especially when they are in capsules or buggies, which can get quite hot. 

Layering their clothing is the wisest plan. Never leave the house without a cardigan, hat and socks in your bag on a hot day as often you can get caught out by a cool shady spot or cool breeze.

If your baby is old enough to use sunblock and is on the move, cover them 20 minutes before going outside and remember to reapply if they get wet!  Try to stay out the of sun as much as possible, however, as their skin is sensitive and filtered sun under umbrellas or sun shades is best for them.

Offer babies plenty of fluid while you are out to ensure they are well hydrated, particularly after sitting in the car on hot days.

It can be quite stressful preparing to go away. What with packing all the 'stuff' that is needed for just a few days and being anxious about a change of routine, the best bit of advice I can offer you is to try you best to relax! The more we worry about the 'what if's' the more a baby will pick up on that anxiety and the more likely they will become unsettled. 
When a parent projects calmness and confidence and tries to keep consistency in their day, most babies will adapt to any environment that you put them in.  Happy parent, happy baby!

However there are a few pointers that can help make the holiday an easier experience.

The Baby Whisperer's tips:
- Dress your baby in layers, our summer temperatures fluctuate and you need to have options covered.
- Light cotton long sleeve tops, like kaftans are ideal for keeping the sun off your baby while keeping them cool.
- Find a sun hat that ties under a baby's chin comfortably or secures to their head slightly.
- Keep babies out of the sun as much as possible - the hours between 11 am and 4pm at the height of summer are very warm for most parts of NZ. 
- When travelling, think about the time of day that you leave (if driving) as if you drive over their usual awake time and fall asleep they may be a bit thrown by the change of pattern to the day.
- When travelling a long distance, try driving in the evening when your baby is going down for their longer sleep& this will save having to face driving in the heat of the day and will keep baby 'in routine' as such.
- Be aware that babies can get dehydrated in cars in the summer, they may need more fluid during the journey or when you arrive at your destination.
- When possible (not travelling) it is advised you sleep your small baby on a flat surface, not in a capsule, this allows a baby to breath safely. 
- Be aware that if you are going away to stay with family or friends and your baby is not used to having more than one or two caregivers at a time, small babies can get easily stimulated and you need to think about allowing a calm down period before a sleep time.
- Be aware of your baby's personality or developmental stage, if they are sensitive or going through the 'stranger/danger' stage you may need to watch how you interact when you first arrive in the new environment.
- Be prepared, pack for the journey or holiday to cover all scenarios, hot and cold days; take a thermometer and remedies for teething or illness.
- Dummies are a practical thing to have on hand when travelling, both when flying to help their ears adjust to pressure but also to help keep them settled if stuck in traffic. 

Where to go for further info:
Sharlene Poole - Little Miracles

*Read sunscreen small print to ensure it is ok for the age of your baby.

Talk with a Doctor or your health professional if concerned about the way your baby is positioned in their capsule.

(Broadcast: 16 October2012)