Too hot to feed?

shutterstock_33120106Summer is finally here which is really lovely unless you’re a little person, not quite used to the heat. Many of my clients have called me today in a bit of a panic, concerned and frustrated at their baby’s inability to feed well or in some cases at all.

The quickest way to get things back on track is to keep your baby cool. This will ensure that he or she is comfortable and alert enough to feed well. As a breastfeeding mum, your chest area will drop a couple of degrees to help regulate baby’s temperature in hot environments, so you may find breastfeeding in a cool room actually does the trick.

I know that this is very worrying and you want to ensure that your little one is well hydrated so I wanted to put together a few quick practical tips to help make things a bit easier whilst it is so very hot.

Firstly, if you are up early, open every window that you have to allow fresh cool air into the house. This will allow you to cool your possie so that you aren’t starting on the back foot. We are expecting it to be around 19 degress Celsius by 8am tomorrow, so it will need to be early if you want to get ahead of the heat.

Once you have had a chance to cool your space down, keep your windows open but shut the blinds or curtains. When you allow sunshine into your rooms, it heats surface tops, turning them all into mini heaters. You can wipe the surfaces down with a cold wet cloth if you find that they heat up anyway.

If you have a fan you can create an air conditioner by filling a deep bowl with ice (and a dash of lavender oil). Place the bowl infront of the fan, point the fan onto the bowl and shut the windows and door to create a semi concealed space so that it cools down quicker.

Your winter hot water will also be very useful if you fill it and freeze it. You can then keep both yourself and baby cool during breastfeeds or if you are trying to get some sleep. Use it to cool baby’s crib before you put him or her down, remove it when you put baby to bed as baby can’t regulate his or her body temperature well enough yet. You, however, can keep it close in your bed, mums often place it behind their back or by their feet to keep cool.

Before and during feeds, use a cool wet cloth to wipe baby’s face, hands and feet. You can then blow on baby to cool and refresh him or her. You can even go all the way and give baby a nice cool bath (luke warm water) if necessary.

Another tip is to use a water misting bottle or a water spray – see the Evian range. Keep it close and spritz both you and baby during the feed too keep cool.

You may find that even doing all this, you breastfeeds are only marginally successful. Don’t worry, your baby will make up for all the milk he or she missed out on during the day.

So if your baby is not feeding, express as often and as much as you would normally feed. This ensures that your breasts are drained as expected and you are able to accumulate some milk for when your baby finally decides to have a feed. You could even try feeding your baby expressed breast milk which is cool.

As temperatures get back to normal, you’ll see that your breastfeeding does too. Until then, do your best to keep baby cool, keep your breasts drained regularly to avoid a drop in supply or mastitis and offer your baby milk in any way that works for you both.

Uk summers don’t last long, so things will be back to normal sooner than you think 🙂

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Because babies don’t come with directions.

Three key areas most mums want help with

When and where possible, I really like to try and keep things simple and easy to implement for new parents. There are times when as a mum or dad, you will find that life becomes a bit more complicated which is why by keeping it simple to start with, you’ll have the energy to manage the busy bits.

The three areas most mums want help with are pretty much the same for all mums and babies.

As as mum, you want to know that 1) your baby is getting enough milk, 2) in a way that works for both of you, so that 3) you can all get some sleep.

You can manage all three of these areas quite simply by getting to know your baby, trusting your instinct and getting the right guidance when you need it.

Breastfeeding babies

If you are breastfeeding, you need to follow your baby’s feeding cues and feed him/her when needed. If your little one isn’t waking for feeds regularly, you can wake baby to feed at least every 3 hours from the start of one feed to the start of the next during the day. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt and it shouldn’t leave your baby windy and uncomfortable either. If you find either of these happening, get in touch with us so that we can help you resolve these really common but unnecessary blips as quickly as possible. In order to help your breastfeeding baby sleep better at night, ensure that you get as many feed in during the day so that baby accumulates most of his/her required 24 hourly calorie quota, so that less feeds are needed at night. Don’t try to stretch your baby at night, instead, feed well during the day so that your baby naturally sleeps better at night.

Bottle-feeding babies

If you are bottle-feeding, ensure that you know how much your baby needs at each feed. This may be a little more or less than the calculation on the back of the tin suggests. By following your baby’s cues, you encourage baby to be aware of how much he or she needs and your confidence in baby’s cues, ensures that you don’t overfeed your baby or undercut what he/she needs. Bottle-fed babies tend to be a bit more windy that the average breastfeeding baby because when breastfeeding, baby is generally given breast milk in 30ml increments. When bottle-feeding, baby has access to free flowing milk until it stops flowing. So to encourage your baby to feed in a way that reduces unnecessary trapped wind, colic, crying and discomfort, pace your baby’s feeds and stop for a break after each 30ml  or so. As you can see how much your baby is getting at each feed, you can be confident that baby is getting enough milk, so the most common cause for wakeful nights is trapped wind. Winding your baby really well, moderating milk flow and ensuring your baby’s feed is paced will lead to better nights and more sleep for everyone.

You and your baby are unique so your feeding and sleep plans should be unique too. Don’t compare yourself to other mums or your baby to other babies you know. Just make sure that you own and enjoy your own experience.