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16th Jul 2021

Keeping cool: The ONE thing you need to know about dressing your baby in hot weather

Trine Jensen-Burke

How the heck do you dress your newborn baby in the heat?

Most of the time, all focus is on keeping newborns warm enough, and we are told to make sure the hats and booties are on pretty much around the clock. However, come summer, and especially a hot one like this one is shaping up to be, it is actually just as crucial to make sure babies are cool enough.

Why? Because babies actually have a very limited ability to regulate their own temperature, and as opposed to older kids and adults, who can sweat we get too hot, babies have a limited ability to sweat and only sweat from their neck, hands, feet and head.

So how do you dress them in the summer heat? Here are some good guidelines to follow:

Drop hats and socks if it’s very hot

Because very young babies can only sweat from their neck, hands, feet and head, avoid socks and a hat, as sweating is the most important way the human body can regulate body temperature and cool down. If you cover up the limited areas of their bodies babies can sweat from, they can become overheated very quickly.

Many opt for sun hats, and if these are perforated for sweat to escape, then fine, but the best thing you can do is just make sure your baby is in the shade at all times.

Look at what YOU are wearing

If it’s so hot you can’t handle long pants and a jumper, but instead opt for shorts and a t-shirt, go for something similar for your baby. A babygro (short-sleeved) is perfect, and if your baby feels a little cool in her pram or cot, add a little lightweight cotton cardigan.

If it’s very hot and sticky, your baby will be fine in just a nappy (again, make sure you keep him in the shade, as newborn skin is very sensitive to direct sunlight).

Natural fabrics

Really, these should be the only things you dress your baby in, as only natural fabrics breathe and feel comfortable against your baby’s delicate skin – something which is especially important in the summer. Organic cotton is the best option, ensuring that no harsh chemicals were used in the growing of the cotton used in the clothing.

Nylon, polyester and synthetic fabrics feel uncomfortable in the heat, and should be avoided.

Similarly again, if you find nylon, polyester and synthetic fabrics uncomfortable and itchy in summer, so will your baby.  Soft breathable cotton is best.

Check if your baby is too hot

Here are the signs that your baby is too hot:

  • a flushed face
  • rapid breathing
  • skin that is unusually warm to the touch

To quickly check how hot or cold your baby is, place the back of your hand on the back of your baby’s neck. Their skin should feel comfortably warm, but not sticky or wet.