Temperatures in Chicago have certainly crept up over the last couple weeks, and Chicago Birth & Baby has a few quick answers to frequently asked questions about sun safety with a infant.
DOES MY BABY NEED WATER IN HOT WEATHER?
For infants under six months, just breast milk or formula is enough for your baby, even in very hot weather, and supplementing with water is not only unnecessary but may also disrupt a newborn or young infant’s electrolyte balance.
Around six months of age–the same time you introduce solid foods–you can start giving your baby a bit of water at a time.
For those still breastfeeding beyond six months of age, keep in mind that breastmilk is largely water and even an older infant or toddler may rely heavily on breastmilk for hydration. Allow your infant older than six months or toddler to drink to thirst.
IS IT TRUE THAT SUNSCREEN IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR YOUNG BABIES?
For babies under six months, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents avoid sunscreen and instead seek shade and use UV protective clothing and hats.
When the aforementioned are not available, a small amount of 15 SPF sunscreen can be applied.
Some of the Chicago Birth & Baby favorites are Badger Baby and California Baby, both of which are listed on the Environmental Working Group’s Safest Kids Sunscreens list.
HOW CAN I BEST SHIELD MY BABY FROM THE SUN WITHOUT OVERHEATING?
- Although you see it a lot, avoid covering your baby’s stroller or carseat with a thin blanket in hot weather–temperatures inside a covered stroller can climb very high.
- Don’t want to miss Chicago’s beach season? Invest in a beach cabana to keep your baby covered.
- Wear your baby. A baby carrier, wide brimmed hat, and a touch of sunscreen on your baby’s legs can keep most of your baby’s skin out of the sun.
- Whether it’s bucket hats, bonnets, or caps, head coverings go a long way for a small baby.
- Sunglasses–even for your baby–can help protect their eyes.
Maura Winkler, found of Chicago Birth & Baby, is nurse midwife, labor & postpartum doula, and board-certified lactation consultant.