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With this hot weather, what to do? Just don’t put ice lollies up your foo!

In the Summer of 2019 we had an extremely rare occurrence in the UK, a week in July that was really hot! Temperatures were above 30’c most days and similarly to when us Brits see snow, as a nation we did not know what to do with ourselves!

Most people couldn’t cope, I love the heat so was having a great time but 90% of my friends and family could not sleep and those who could afford it, invested in all kinds of air conditioning units. 

There was something else that was particularly odd, as well as the unusual weather… A news article which I’m sure all of us ladies had a little chuckle at. It was the doctor’s warnings regarding not putting ice lollies up our vaginas! Now whilst I am one to praise and recommend a cold compress with lavender essential oils, combined with chamomile as this is a good anti-inflammatory; or placing your sanitary towels in the freezer before putting them in your pants, I do not advocate this new craze.

How to make up a cold compress: 

Use this is to promote healing of a swollen and sometimes bruised perineum and to prevent infection. 

-Half fill a bowl with warm or cold water. I find ice cold water works the best if you are able to tolerate it and add a combined total of up to 3 chosen essential oils, mixing well. 

-Use a clean face cloth folded in shape of sanitary towel. Dip in water, squeeze out excess water and apply directly to the perineal wound. DO NOT INSERT INTO VAGINA. Put a clean sanitary towel under the compress to catch excess water; do NOT use this sanitary towel for the compress. 

-Leave for up to thirty minutes, remove and put in a clean, dry sanitary towel. This can be repeated when necessary. A warm tingly sensation may be experienced which is normal. If stinging occurs remove the compress and rinse area with plain warm water. 

*Remember that good perineal hygiene is important to prevent infection, so change your pads regularly. It is also good practice to wash your hands before and after going to the toilet whilst your perineal wound is healing. 

Now those of you who know me well, will be very aware I am all for alternative, non-medicinal therapies, I’ll happily admit that I’m the first to insert a garlic clove into my vagina to help treat thrush, a practice I have been doing since working as a midwife at Leicester General Hospital, where my ward manager first introduced me to this revelation. I find it works a charm but please use it overnight and wrap a decent length of cotton around the clove so that you can easily retrieve it. And make sure you pierce the clove with the thread so that the garlic releases the anti-fungal allicin. The reason I advocate overnight use it that you absolutely HUM of garlic in the morning but at least I keep those vampires at bay 😉 And do not use if pregnant, as garlic is an anti-coagulant which means you’ll have less clotting factors if you bleed and your vagina becomes even more vascular in pregnancy.

There was an American gynaecologist who wrote an article a couple of years back saying not to do this but her argument was that there could be bacterium from the soil on the garlic but you take the skin off the clove anyway, so that’s never stopped me! Here’s the links to both The Midwifery Today article on this practice and said gynaecologist if you’d like to take a look and make up your own mind:

https://midwiferytoday.com/mt-articles/garlic/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6955323/Do-not-garlic-VAGINA-gynaecologist-urges-women.html

Anyway I’ve digressed slightly, what I really wanted to speak of in this article is what to do with your little babies during this hot weather:

-Keep them in the shade between 10-4.

-High factor sunblock 50+ if they are in the sun and reapply regularly.

-Cover your babies arms and legs if in the sun, dress them in clothes made from closet woven fabric made of natural fibres.  Bamboo is a personal favourite as it has thermoregulating properties.

-Dress them in just a nappy and vest (ideally keep them in the shade so that you don’t need to use long sleeves or trousers to cover their legs and arms.)  The NHS reccomends keeping all babies under six months out of direct sunlight.

-Wide rimmed hat that covers the neck and face.

* Ada’s first trip to the zoo, it was a nice Sunny day but chilly.

-A parasol on your buggy is preferential to covering your pram with a blanket, as this will let fresh air and a slight breeze through.

-It is normal for your baby to be demanding the breast more in warmer weather and may be having shorter feeds just to obtain the watery milk.  Your body will be compensating for the warmer weather and altering your breastmilk to make it more thirst quenching to suit your babies needs. 

 -Remember to take on plenty of fluids yourself as breastmilk is 88% water and remember you need an extra 500 calories per day when breastfeeding. 

* My sister and Ada at the zoo having a break for lunch.

 -I would also advocate breastfeeding your baby in just their nappy because you will be radiating heat from each other due to the closeness.  

 -If formula feeding, babies can be given small amounts of cool boiled water but DO NOT dilute their formula feeds, you should still make the milk up as per the guidelines on the tin.  Babies under 6 months old should not be allowed to consume large amounts of water as it can lead to water intoxication.

 -You might find it useful to split their feeds however so they are getting regular hydration, for example if they are having 60mls four hourly, you could offer 30mls every two hours instead. 

-Pyjamas and bedclothes should be kept to a minimum, and if a baby kicks off its bedcovers during the night then they could sleep in just a nappy – babies sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16C (61F) and 20C (68F).  

-Black out blinds are great for blocking out sunlight to help not disrupt your little one’s circadian rhythm and help with their sleep patterns, however have these open in the daytime otherwise they will create an oven effect.  If you just have curtains however, keep these closed during the day to block the sunlight and keep the bedroom that little bit cooler.  

-I wouldn’t be tempted to have a fan directly on a baby at night time, because even though it is better for a baby to be cooler rather than too hot (a baby will cry when it is cold but when they are too hot they become unable to alert you due to being unrousable) a cold breeze might make it difficult for them to sleep, especially for newborns as we worry about them becoming cold from things like air conditioning on the labour suite, or drafts from open windows on the postnatal wards etc.

-If you are weaning offer your baby water throughout the day (preferably from a cup without a spout as you want to encouraging sipping rather than suckling) but not mineral water as this is too concentrated in minerals for your baby’s immature kidneys to process.  

-Also offer your babies foods that are high in water.  All of the following foods contain over 90% water, I have excluded celery as it has quite a potent/ strong taste but if your baby likes it- then go for it!

* Ivy enjoying cucumber sticks as a snack
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes (but not whole as these pose a choking risk)
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Green peppers
  • Spinach
  • Star fruit
  • Baby carrots

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Few wet nappies
  • Severely/ noticeably sunken anterior fontanelle 
  • Drowsiness
  • Glazed eyes and a dry mouth or tongue

If babies exhibit these signs go straight to A&E.

Hopefully this was helpful, any questions on the above feel free to message me at enquiries@lotusmaternity.co.uk and remember to have fun and enjoy the sun safely.

Ps. Remember that babies/ toddlers are little people too. I heard plenty of adults moaning about the heat and complaining that they could not sleep, so don’t be surprised if we have another heatwave and your little starts struggling too. 

Olivia x

Olivia Swift