Keeping Baby Hydrated and Safe in Hot Weather

Monkey Baby Drinking photo

Israel is in the midst of a sharav, a scorchingly hot and dry weather front typical for this time of year.

We don’t want to waste resources or increase pollution by turning on air-conditioning. So how can we ensure that baby is cool and hydrated?

Breastfeeding mothers are often concerned that they won’t provide enough fluid for their babies in hot weather. Yet breastmilk is mainly water, and studies done in desert climates have shown that human milk adjusts to meet the baby’s needs, as long as the baby nurses on cue.

Clear and plentiful urine, about 5 or 6 wet diapers over 24 hours, is the most reliable sign that baby is getting enough to drink.

Nursing mothers should drink to thirst no matter the weather. There’s no need to overdo it, as excessive amounts of water can inhibit milk production. As long as her urine is clear, the mother is drinking enough to keep up her supply.

Babies who spend long periods outside in hot weather, or in car seats or strollers, are more likely to lose fluid quickly. This is true even in air-conditioning, which removes moisture from the air. Signs of dehydration include listlessness and sleeping through feeding times, lethargy, a weak cry, fever, and minimal urine output (less than two wet diapers in 24 hours).

The Israel health ministry does not advise giving bottles of water to breastfed or formula-fed babies before they have been introduced to solid foods.

Hopefully we can manage to stay cool and hydrated until tomorrow, when the heat wave is scheduled to break.

Read the rest of Hannah Katsman’s breastfeeding series, including Ten Common Misconceptions about Nursing Your Baby.

Read about the Israel Health Ministry’s new guidelines on the introduction of solid foods on A Mother in Israel.

Image credit: mape_s

About Hannah Katsman

Hannah learned environmentalism from her mother, a conservationist before it was in style. Once a burglar tried to enter their home in Cincinnati after noticing the darkened windows (covered with blankets for insulation) and the snow-covered car in the driveway. Mom always set the thermostat for 62 degrees Fahrenheit (17 Celsius) — 3 degrees lower than recommended by President Nixon — because “the thermostat is in the dining room, but the stove’s pilot light keeps the kitchen warmer.”Her mother would still have preferred today’s gas-saving pilotless stoves.Hannah studied English in college and education in graduate school, and arrived in Petach Tikva in 1990 with her husband and oldest child. Her mother died suddenly six weeks after Hannah arrived and six weeks before the first Gulf War, and Hannah stayed anyway. She has taught English but her passion is parental education and support, especially breastfeeding.She recently began a new blog about energy- and time-efficient meal preparation called CookingManager.Com. You can find her thoughts on parenting, breastfeeding, Israeli living and women in Judaism at A Mother in Israel.Hannah can be reached at hannahk (at) greenprophet (dot) com.

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