Why It’s Important to Keep Your Baby Cool in the Heat
How do you feel when you’re overheated, sweaty, and downright uncomfortable? Babies and adults alike are known to burst into tears over the heat, so it’s in your best interest to cool your baby down, whether spending time indoors or outside.
Some things to consider are:
- The temperature of the house
- Light summer clothes for baby
- Newborn skincare for hot weather
- Proper hydration for both mom and baby
- Making sure your little one gets a comfortable sleep
While that sounds like a lot, we’ll break down each concern for you quickly and simply.
Set the room temperature somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. 22 °C)
Setting the Right Temperature at Home
A highly debated topic- what temperature should you set your air conditioner to? While it’s seen as a matter of personal preference, it’s important to keep the baby cool and comfortable as temperatures rise. A cool house prevents them from waking up fussy and grumpy, particularly in the early morning hours.
What is the ideal room temperature?
Most pediatricians recommend that you keep your baby’s room somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. 22 °C). That being said, just because the thermostat is reading 70 degrees doesn’t mean the baby’s room is that cool. Houses can heat and cool unevenly, depending on your location, so be sure to check your baby’s room to make sure that it remains cool throughout the day.
If you live somewhere where it gets very hot, keeping your house cooler than 75 degrees may not be possible. In that case, make sure to use fans as needed and dress your baby for the heat. When using a fan, place it in the corner of the room where it will promote airflow but not blow directly on the baby.
How to Dress Your Newborn at Home
When it comes to dressing your newborn, especially in the summer, keep it simple and easy. Summer clothes for babies should be light and designed to keep them cool and dry.
Use clothes with lightweight fabrics
Ideal Fabrics for Summer Clothes
When dressing your baby in the summer, look for 100% cotton or bamboo clothing. If your baby has sensitive skin, using either bamboo or organic cotton would be less likely to cause irritation for them.
Muslin refers to a looser way to weave the fabric so it is more breathable. This makes muslin pajamas, sleep sacks, or swaddles perfect for the summer. Bamboo is non-toxic, eco-friendly, and incredibly soft. Beside organic cotton and bamboo, you can also choose loose cotton clothes for your baby, as they will work just fine.
The Best Daywear for Baby
For daytime clothes in the hot weather, aim to dress the baby similarly to how you’re dressed. If you’re wearing shorts and a T-shirt or a dress, the same will go for your baby. Choose onesies, little dresses, or short-sleeve sets, that are both loose and breathable. If the baby seems hot and uncomfortable, go with just a diaper.
If you’re outside with the little one, make sure that you cover as much of their skin from the sun as possible. Lightweight long-sleeve shirts and pants with built-in sun protection, as well as a hat, will protect them from the sun. You can also cover them with a light muslin blanket instead.
When it comes to dressing your baby, we highly recommend Brave Little Ones. Their adorable clothing is made from bamboo, which is breathable, lightweight, and soft to the touch. Bamboo is also a temperature-regulating fabric, keeping your baby both cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Recommended Newborn Sleepwear
Generally speaking, pediatricians often recommend that babies have one layer more than you are wearing when sleeping. Since loose blankets in the crib aren’t recommended, baby’s skin is exposed to fans or air conditioning. This means that depending on where you live, lightweight long-sleeve pajamas, a sleep sack, or swaddling them with just a diaper using a muslin blanket are a good place to start. For naps during a hot day, just a onesie works well.
However, watch your baby for signs of overheating, such as hot and sweaty skin. If they feel clammy at any point, remove a layer of clothing.
For our favorite sleepwear, check out Posh Peanut. They are known for their beautiful, high-quality bamboo products that are perfect for sensitive skin and hot temperatures.
Summer Skincare for Your Newborn
Dry weather and strong sun can do a number on your baby’s skin, so it’s important to set a newborn skincare routine that you can feel good about. From heat rash to sunburn, there are simple steps you can take to protect their delicate skin.
How Often Should I Bathe My Newborn in the Summer?
Bathing them too often can dry out their skin, so aim for about two to three times a week. It may be more often than that, depending on messy blow-outs or spit-up. Keep the water at room temperature, so it cools the baby off without being too cold. If you’re giving your baby a bath for the first time, you can read this guide we’ve recently written. Check out our hooded towels and soft washcloths to keep your newborn clean, dry, and comfy.
How Do I Keep My Baby’s Skin Moisturized?
While the heat can dry out your baby’s skin, so does spending a lot of time in an air-conditioned house. Dry, peeling skin is normal for newborns, and although it’s nothing to worry about, choosing a baby lotion and using a humidifier will help.
A humidifier will add moisture to the air, which helps dry skin, lips, throat, and nose, and improve cold symptoms. When it comes to choosing a moisturizer, look for organic, non-toxic ingredients, and avoid dyes or fragrances. Check our favorite brands: Babyganics, Earth Mama, and The Honest Company. It’s best to check with your pediatrician before choosing a new product for your baby.
Should I Use Baby Powder?
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) does not recommend using baby powder. They believe that it’s unnecessary and can bother your newborn's skin. Not to mention, it can be harmful when it’s inhaled, which is hard to avoid.
Avoiding Sunburn for Your Little One
It should come as no surprise that your baby’s delicate skin is especially prone to sun-burn. However, that doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time inside. For sun exposure safety in the heat of the summer, it’s best to avoid going out in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.
When spending time outside, choose shady spots, use a shaded stroller, or cover your baby appropriately. This can include light muslin blankets, loose pants and shirts, and wide-brimmed hats. Generally speaking, babies younger than six months old should not use sunscreen, but speak to your pediatrician to find out if they recommend a newborn safe sunscreen.
What to Do if Your Baby Gets Heat Rash
Heat rash, sometimes called prickly heat, is an itchy, uncomfortable rash caused by sweat glands becoming overworked or clogged. Heat rashes will look like tiny red bumps or water blisters found where sweat gathers, particularly on the face, neck, and upper body.
It’s common to have heat rashes after sun exposure or during humid and hot weather. Certain ointments, like lanolin, can also cause heat rash by clogging the sweat glands. There won’t be any fever or additional symptoms.
While your first reaction will be guilt, babies get summer rashes fairly easily due to delicate skin and tiny sweat glands, and it’s typically mild, keep calm mama, nothing to worry about. To treat it, you will want to move them into a cool area. Undress them, rinsing off any ointment or sweat with cool water.
You can use a cold washcloth, have them just wear a diaper, and use fans and air-conditioning to keep the room cool. Keep them clean, dry, and hydrated, and the heat rash should go away after a couple of days.
Nurturing Your Newborn Means Taking Care of Yourself Too
I think we can all agree that cuddling loses some of its appeals when you're sweaty, sticky, and just too hot. While we love our babies, skin-to-skin contact in extreme heat can end up irritating you both. So, how can you enjoy those sweet baby cuddles?
Giving Your Little One an Oil Massage Can Help
Both Burt’s Bees and The Honest Company have natural, organic massage oils that your baby will love. Calm and cool them down by giving them a head-to-toe oil massage before bath and bedtime. You’ll only want to use a little oil, starting at their feet and working your way up to their legs, stomach, and arms. This is a gentle bonding activity that can help relax them for a better night’s sleep. Bonus? You can enjoy contact without the sweat.
Use Breathable Slings and Carriers
Using slings and carriers is a wonderful way to bond with your baby, allowing them to be close to you while you complete essential tasks. They can sleep, cuddle, and hear your heartbeat while you can be hands-free. However, some baby carriers are more lightweight and breathable than others. Check out , Ergobaby Adapt Cool, Wildbird Sling Solid Color Collection, and Solly Baby's Liberty Fabric Wrap. It’s important that both you and the baby are comfortable!
Breastfeeding Your Newborn in the Summer
To feed and hydrate your baby, you need to feed and hydrate yourself first. Keep a large water bottle nearby, and try to drink every time you nurse. Have healthy snacks and meals nearby, and don’t be afraid to ask your partner, parents, or friends to help keep the kitchen stocked. Choose snacks like protein balls or bars, granola, cheese sticks, nuts, trail mix, and fruit. Don’t be afraid of carbs or calories, you are burning a lot of energy and will likely be hungrier than normal.
Formula Feeding in the Summer
Formula-fed newborns typically eat 8 to 12 times in 24 hours, but they may want a little extra in the summer to prevent dehydration and thirst. Follow their hunger cues, and consult your pediatrician about how much your baby should be eating in a day.
Helping Baby Sleep in Summer
As adults know, it can be harder to sleep comfortably in the summer. The heat and humidity are hard to escape, but there are a few things you can do to keep your newborn cool throughout the night.
Get the Room Ready
When it comes time to prepare the room for sleep, choosing the right fabric is key. Similar to clothing, you'll want a breathable, lightweight fabric. We prefer muslin, which is why our beddings are made from the same fabric.
Check out our:
Not only is muslin soft, durable, and absorbent, but the open weave of the fabric keeps your baby from sweating and overheating.
Muslin is also great for every skin type, even babies with irritated or sensitive skin. The gentle, thin cloth only gets softer as you use it and is even recommended by dermatologists.
For baby's room, close the curtains early in the day, and keep the room as well-ventilated as possible. Open the door and keep a fan in the corner of the room, pointed away from the baby. Keep the house cool, if possible, around 72 degrees. Your newborn may be thirstier than normal, so don’t try to restrict night feedings. Watch for signs of overheating, such as flushed cheeks, and sweaty or clammy skin.
Should I Still Swaddle My Newborn?
While many parents worry that swaddling will cause their newborn to overheat, there are ways to safely swaddle in the summer. Choose a light cotton fabric and stay away from synthetic or thick fabrics. Swaddle them in just a diaper or onesie, and keep their head uncovered.
Swaddle your little one without covering the head to avoid overheating
Wrapping Up: Keep it Cool Mom
As if bringing a newborn home wasn’t hard enough, adding in the oppressive summer heat can leave you feeling restless and home-bound. Do your best to keep you and your baby cool, hydrated, and healthy. While it can be hard to feel like everybody is out enjoying the summer, there are plenty of at-home activities for older siblings and many ways to enjoy outside time safely with a newborn.
If your baby develops a rash, sunburn, is overly fussy, or showing signs of dehydration, avoid make sure to consult your pediatrician.