If your baby is due this summer, or you have an older baby who still likes to nurse often, you’ll soon be confronted by one of the more uncomfortable aspects of breastfeeding — nursing a sweaty baby when it’s hot outside.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep cool while feeding your baby.
Being hot is one thing — being hot while close to another human is another. And even if the human is tiny and impossibly cute, breastfeeding her in the heat can be decidedly uncomfortable. If the thought of nursing a sweaty baby in the heat has you dreading outdoor outings, here are a few tricks that experienced moms have found that work.
Nurse out of the sun
Even though it’s obvious, it has to be said — if at all possible, breastfeed your baby out of the direct sunlight, and better yet, indoors in the air-conditioning or near a fan. Some outings do allow you to pop in to a cooler building, such as when you’re at a family reunion in a relative’s backyard. If there is no handy air-conditioned shelter, find shade and a nice breeze.
Use a blanket
Nursing when it’s hot generates a lot of sweat, usually between your arm and your baby. You might find that draping a light receiving blanket over your arm before cuddling your baby up to your breast works very well for warm-weather breastfeeding. The blanket will actually help keep you both cooler because it separates your arm from her skin, and if there is any sweating going on, the blanket will help absorb some of it.
Keep some ice water on hand no matter where you nurse. Even if your home is air-conditioned, it can still be warmer than usual, and if you’re out and about, it’s even more important to pound that water. Staying hydrated will not only help you keep cooler but it will help keep your milk supply on an even keel.
Wipe her down
No, your young baby doesn’t need to drink any water, but you can keep a damp washcloth nearby to wipe down her face and head if she seems too warm. This is a good idea if you’re outside or in. Don’t use water that is too cold, as that can be upsetting for her and not relaxing for either of you.
Nurse in the water
Take a bath with your little one if you’re both exhausted, dirty and hot. It’s so soothing and luxurious to relax in a bath at the end of a long summer day, and quite delightful to nurse without your baby being slippery and sweaty. It may become a fun ritual for you both as she grows up, and as she gets older, you may find nursing in a swimming pool to be a lot of fun as well.
Also, keep this in mind — your breast milk is more than enough to keep your baby happy, well-hydrated and healthy as the summer goes on.