Friday, March 28, 2014

Nurse Charity on warm weather nursing

As I was listening for swallows yesterday in the tiny well baby room, a mysterious hum filled the room, making it difficult to hear.  That strangely familiar, but not heard in a long time hum was the air conditioner, alerting me to the hot weather here in the Bay Area.  While we do not get the oppressive heat of other parts of the country we do travel to them, and have enough scattered hot days to feel the heat!  Hot days at the advice nurse desk mean a lot of calls about rashes, a lot of bug bites, some playground injuries, and for me it means a flurry of calls from moms worried about milk supply.
Breastmilk supplies all the water and nutrition your baby needs to the 6th month mark.  On very hot days your baby will not stick to the regular routine you know and love, no, they will want to nurse a couple of times an hour.  This is perfectly normal.  (In fact, if you lived full time in the desert, like the !Kung, you would regularly feed your baby 4-6 times per hour, and any less would label you a terrible mother, worthy of scorn and derision).

Because your baby is nursing frequently, and your breasts are soft all day, and perhaps your little one is cranky with a rash, it is natural to think- "Ack, my milk is gone. HELP!"

I am here to be THE VOICE OF REASON.  

If it is warmer than a delicious 72 degrees (or 22 for those working in Celsius)  Expect that your child will want to nurse more.  How much more?  Depends on how hot it is!   Hot and dry conditions will need more nursing.  You do not need to offer extra water, your body actually changes the composition in hot weather to give your child more H2O, tastier than the glorious Hetch Hetchy.  Just make sure you are drinking to thirst, not walking around with a sticky, dry mouth, and a headache; water, juice, drip-drop, anything that is not caffeinated and is drinkable is what you need!

If you are mixed feeding- some boob/some formula and it is HOT, then you can offer plain safe water in a cup or bottle in addition to the regular routine.  But nursing more often also does the trick.    

Total formula feeders can increase the water offered from 3-5 oz to 6-10oz.  Don't water down the formula, just offer some water at other times. Your thirsty babes will thank you!

So relax, no need to worry, or tote around a lot of extra stuff- 


XO Nurse Charity

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