Author Archives: Bryony Vickers

How to cope with the heat!

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Wisdom shared from the Baby Village!

Thanks to everyone who contributed this collective knowledge. If there’s anything not here that you think should be, please email me and I’ll add it in.

Here are some ideas, tips and tricks of how to cope in hot weather. Some are specific to pregnant, babies and toddlers. Some are just general advice. Some many seem obvious, but only if you know them! Also, baby brain and sleepless nights often mean we forget things that seem obvious!

SAFETY ADVICE: Please always always supervise your children around water. Young children even up to the age or 5 or so can drown in just an inch or two of water.

House Temperature

I learnt this from growing up in Australia. I’m always dismayed to watch people open all their doors and windows on a hot day. Nooooooo!!!!! You’re letting all the hot air in!!! I can’t emphasise just how much of a difference this makes, especially when you’ve got a run of hot days in a row.

The basic theory is… try and moderate the temperature of the air inside in relationship to the air outside. Ie. Do all you can to keep the inside of the house cooler than the outside. You wouldn’t leave the esky/fridge open in the heat. Treat your house the same.

When the air is colder outside ( evening, night, early morning) have your doors and windows as wide open as you can to get the colder air inside. Leave windows open overnight where it’s safe to do so. Use fans or air flow patterns to get air moving through the house. You’re trying to create a through-draft. This often includes opening the front door, which you can prop open with something. Even if it’s just open an inch or two, it can really make a difference.

As soon as temperature outside is warmer ( this is often very early morning in the Summer in direct sunlight and about 8-9am in shade), shut the doors windows and curtains. Keep your house dark and closed up during the day to keep the sunshine out and the air inside colder than outside.

If you have areas of the house which get the early morning sun, shut these curtains before you go to sleep so the sun never gets a chance to get inside. If you have a room that gets the early sun so that room heats up, keep the door to that room shut during the day.

General

Drink water. Drink water. Drink water. Repeat.

If you need to take water with you on a day out or for kids at school. 3/4 fill up a plastic bottle of water. Squeeze it a little to push some air out and then put the lid on and put it in the freezer overnight. As it freezes it will expand (hence the squeeze to make space for this and not split the bottle). When it’s time to go, top it up with water, wrap it in a flannel/tea towel held on with hair elastics or elastic bands and off you go. It will stay cold for ages and wont make the rest of your bag contents wet. Works with any size plastic bottle.

Cars-Park in the shade wherever possible. Cover your steering wheel and baby car seats with towels/blankets so they don’t get so hot. Metal buckles get particularly hot in the sun, so be careful before you put your little one in their seat if your car has been parked in the sun.

Wherever you park your car, leave your windows open a crack at the top. Just 1 cm will do. The rising hot air in the car will escape through the windows, creating a little air circulation and the air inside won’t get quite so hot.

Windscreen shades make a massive difference to keep your car cool.

Shower more than once a day. In the heat of Australia, it was quite usual to have 2 or even 3 showers a day. Just a quick 60 second dip under the water helps to cool you down quickly and resets your thermostat. Showering just before bed can particularly be nice.

Sleep with a empty duvet cover. Take the duvet out and just use the cover.

3/4 fill a hot water bottle with water and put it in the freezer. Have it in bed or just on the couch with you. Make sure you use a cover on the bottle if it will touch your skin.

Find shade wherever you go. Hats and sunglasses are good, but actually just staying in the shade is better. Umbrellas/parasols create portable shade- little handbag umbrellas are great if you’re out walking with a baby in a sling or just by yourself.

We found a cheap solution which is working great. At night we put this fan just in front of the window (this is the key). It takes the cool air outside and blow it inside. It reduced 1C the temperature in 15 min. We are v impressed. It is not noisy as well. This wouldn’t work in Greece for example as the night is hot, but here in UK evening are cool which a big advantage. (Honeywell TurboForce Power Fan (Quiet Operation Cooling, 90° Variable Tilt, 3 Speed Settings, Wall Mount Feature, Table Fan) HT900E : Amazon.co.uk: Home & Kitchen).

Pregnancy

One of the best things that’s happened to me in my life was when Emma Kenny (massage therapist) welcomed me to a prenatal massage with a container of very cold water for my feet. Pretty sure I was in the 30+ weeks of pregnancy and it was 30+ degrees outside. Prenatal massage with cold stones as well. Bliss.
(I Love Emma Kenny and her team of amazing massage therapists!!)

When I was pregnant and working from home in a heat wave, I put a washing up bowl with cold water under the desk. What a bliss! Just mind all the cables etc ⚡️⚡️

When pregnant I spent quite a bit of time in the paddling pool with my eldest. If you don’t want to get in fully, you can set up a deck chair and sit with your feet in it

Some people like to use specific cooling towels whilst at home. You soak them in water and wear them around your neck. The evaporation helps to cool you down ( they are readily found on the internet and sports shops often stock them).

Ankles, feet and fingers can swell in pregnancy, as your body retains more water than usual. So try to avoid standing for long periods, wear comfy shoes and put your feet up as much as possible. Avoid wearing any clothing that digs in to your legs as this can make swelling worse. If it leaves a red ring around your legs/ankles when you take it off, it’s probably too tight.

Try to take it easy for an hour a day with your feet higher than your heart. You could prop yourself up with cushions as you lie on the sofa. Gentle foot exercises during the day may also help reduce swelling in your ankles. Foot circles and ankle pumps.

Newborns

I sat in front of the fan most days when my baby was newly born as it was the only way for us to keep cool during cluster feeding.

Drink more water. Seriously. Even more than that.

Postnatally, we tend to ‘run hot’ and it’s not unusual to experience night sweats. Splashing water over your face and the back of your neck can help every time you’re up in the night. Some women like to use a cold wet flannel to quickly wipe down their arms, neck and chest throughout the day and night (especially if showering multiple times isn’t realistic), perhaps every time they go for a wee. It can help you feel refreshed and cooler. It’s often a nice stress reliever too!

Babies

Muslins as blankets in hot weather. If it’s very hot, it could start off a little damp. I also found it helped leaving crack in curtains a night time so air can get through from the windows – I was obsessed with keeping the light out so baby didn’t wake up, but the air needs priority sometimes!

Find something that works as a shade for your pram/buggy. Do not completely cover your pram with a cloth. Air need to move through to reduce the temperature. Covering it completely can actually increase the temperature and is not recommended. Clothes pegs or bulldog clips are an easy way to attach muslins clothes in a way that provides shade, but does not completely cover your baby. You can also buy specific pram clips for this purpose.

If you’re breastfeeding be prepared to be asked for it a lot more often – and thus to have a more disrupted night’s sleep too 🤪🥱😴 Babies will need to have a ‘sip’ of milk regularly through the day and night to keep their fluids up. We also will need to drink more to account for this! Every time you feed, drink some water, including the nights.

Fans on at night, not directly on baby but enough for them to get a little breeze plus acts as white noise 👍

Cool baths can be nice for babies, but do not put them in a fully cold bath on a very hot day. It’s too much of a change of temperature. Tepid is better.

We used a ‘little life cool pad’ for the pram. It’s one of those things that feels cool when you lay on it and was perfect for when my little one would only sleep in the pram. I also lay on it myself sometimes!

Toddlers

Soaking a sunhat in cold water before putting it on my toddler’s head. Keeps him cool until it dries out!

Paddling pools!!!! Cover the pool overnight with a sheet to stop it getting full of leaves/bugs etc.

Any kind of water play. Using cups, spoons and jugs with some bowls of water. Chuck some plastic people or animal toys in a Tupperware container of water. Quick, easy and fun.

Getting kids to drink more water: try wherever possible to avoid power struggles as kids will often just dig heels in further!! Offer soups or smoothies so there is a higher water content in food. Model yourself by constantly sipping water without saying anything about it (otherwise it can just feel like pressure and little ones will show their persistence). Make it fun! Make herbal tea to sit and have a tea party with each afternoon. Perhaps let them choose from a range of approved teas – thereby giving them some power. Drink out of curly straws. Water with frozen berries/grapes in it rather than ice cubes. Make very watered down fruit juice ice lollies.

Garden

It’s nice to leave a tray/low edged bowl of water out for the wildlife. Birds, Bees, Insects, hedgehogs and foxes all get thirsty too! Leave it in the shade during the day. If you have a stick/stone in the water breaking the surface, it’s easier for the bugs to land and drink. you can get beautiful bird baths, but a plastic/ceramic tray will do just as well.

Create Semi permanent shade. If you have an Umbrella/gazebo, put it up a day or two before it gets hot, and leave it up. If the sun never hits that piece of earth over the hot days, it never heats up quite as much and it stays a little cooler. If you don’t have a structure like this, you can create make shift shade with strung up bits of cloth tied to shed/house roofs, trees or fences. The more shade you can make, the more it keeps your garden cool overall. For outdoor shade, you want cover from the sun, but sides open for air to move.