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Breastfeeding in Hot Weather

on Monday, 26 December 2011.

Breastfeeding in Hot Weather

Baby its hot out there ..."Does my breastfeed baby need water ?" is a common question asked by many mothers.

Breastfed babies under 6 months do not need extra fluids in hot weather as they can usually get all they need provided they have easy access to the breast whenever they need. Breastmilk has a water content of 88% and provides the only food or fluid they require until 6 months of age. A baby having additional water will potentially dampen his appetite for breastmilk which not only provides water but also food vital for his health and wellbeing.

During hotter weather a baby may prefer shorter more frequent feeds which provide the thirst quenching foremilk, they may then have longer more leisurely feeds in the cooler part of the day

A breastfed baby is getting enough if he has at least 8 or more feeds, 5 heavily wet disposable ( or 6-8 cloth) nappies with no colour or strong smell. Just as we drink more often in hot or humid weather a baby will need the same option. so if you think baby is thirsty offering a breastfeed immediately is wise in hot weather.

If a baby is unwell,hot and dry to touch or irritable urgent medical advice shoulde be sought especially if he is not feeding well. If he is reluctant to feed he may be content to accept breastmilk another way such as a spoon or medicine cup , sometimes lying down to feed can mean that he is less hot and also happy to feed.

While its not necessary to drink copious amounts of water in order to produce breastmilk , it is important for mum to stay hydrated and drink according to thirst. An easy way to do this could be filling a sports bottle with cool water to have while feeding.

Worries about not having enough milk because of frequent feeds can be put to rest if its remembered that baby may only be feeding for short periods to get the thirst quenching foremilk and not because there is insufficent milk. The breasts will readily produce more milk even after short breaks and more frequent feeds will also help to build and maintain supply.

Cool Tips -Try feeding in a pool or bath ,sponge baby with a wet cloth to cool, shower before feeding a fussy baby.

If you have any worries about your breastfed babes feeding behaviour, baby is refusing to feed or you have concerns about your supply please book an appointment with a lactation consultant or if baby appears unwell your health professional.

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