How to help my baby sleep through a summer heatwave

The arrival of summer brings sunny days, outdoor adventures, and the occasional heatwave. While it is lovely to enjoy the warm summer temperatures during the day, the heat can pose challenges when it comes to getting your baby to sleep at night.

Navigating balmy summer nights can be difficult with a young baby, and you may be wondering how you can help your baby to sleep through the night when the temperatures are soaring.

In this article, we’ll explore some techniques and practical tips to help your baby sleep soundly and safely through sweltering summer nights, so you can rest assured your baby is getting the rest they need.

Keep a cool environment

Creating a cool and comfortable sleeping environment is key to helping your baby drift off. If the room your baby sleeps in gets too hot it can become a safety issue for young babies. Newborns are unable to regulate their body temperature until they are around 11 weeks old, therefore you need to ensure that their room is maintained at a safe temperature.

You can keep your baby’s room cool with a few simple steps:

  • Keep curtains or blinds closed during the day to help prevent the sun’s rays from heating up the air in their room.
  • Open the windows during the coolest part of the day, which is usually early evening, as keeping windows open during the day will let in the hot air.
  • Use a fan or air conditioner to circulate and cool down the air in your baby’s room before they are put down to sleep.
  • Use a room thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of the room your baby sleeps in. If your baby is under 6 months old, they should be sleeping in the same room as you, which will make it easier and safer to monitor them.
  • Opt for bedding made with breathable natural fibres such as cotton and linen, and only use a very lightweight open weave blanket, or no blanket at all.
  • Dress your baby for the heat
  • During a heatwave, it is important to dress your baby appropriately to prevent overheating. Choose natural and lightweight fabrics such as linen and cotton that are breathable and will allow some airflow to the skin.

When it comes to bedtime take note of the temperature and how warm your baby’s skin feels. Every baby is different so check for signs they might be too hot such as a red face or sweaty skin. If the temperatures at night are soaring you may only need to dress your baby in a single layer such as a sleep suit or a short sleeve vest. Check the temperature of your home and adjust your baby’s clothing accordingly.

Keep on top of hydration

Staying hydrated is very important for anyone during a heatwave but babies in particular need extra care to ensure they do not suffer from dehydration.

Breastfed babies

For breastfed babies ensure that you offer feeds more frequently and allow your baby to feed for as long as they need to. Your milk will be able to provide all the hydration your baby needs during the hot summer months, and can actually adapt to your baby’s needs.

Bottle-fed babies

If you are bottle-feeding your baby, continue to make your baby’s milk as normal, however, you can let it cool more than usual before feeding it to your baby, during a heatwave. If you are using formula however it is crucial that you continue to use boiled water to prepare it, to ensure the milk is sterilised, and safe to drink.

Weaned babies

If your baby has started to eat solid foods you can offer them sips of cooled boiled water in between milk feeds. However be cautious and only offer small amounts of water, as too much fluids could disrupt their sleeping patterns.

By keeping on top of your baby’s fluids you will ensure that your baby is kept well-hydrated which will positively impact their quality of sleep. Ensuring your baby is fully hydrated will also help them to regulate their body temperature and ease their digestion, allowing them to sleep more peacefully.

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Keep a healthy sleep schedule

When the weather is hot and sticky and the days are longer it can be tempting to let your baby nap for longer or go to bed a little later. However, a regular sleep routine is very beneficial to your baby and will help them feel more rested and less irritable.

Keeping to a regular nap schedule during the day will benefit your baby, and yourself when it comes to bedtime. Consider shortening their nap time during the day and bringing forward their bedtime to optimise their sleep for the cooler parts of the day. On a hot day, your baby will tire more easily so they will more than likely be ready for an early night.

Make sure you are prepared for the early morning sunrise by installing blackout blinds in the room where your baby sleeps. This will help to prevent the sun from waking them up too early and also block out some of the intense summer heat. Blackout blinds will also help at night, as it will still be light outside when you put your baby down to sleep. Keeping the room dark will also aid with melatonin production, which is the hormone that helps you fall asleep.

Final thoughts

With the help of the above tips and advice, you will be able to help your baby to cope with a heatwave and have a peaceful night’s sleep through the hottest summer nights.

Helping your baby to sleep comfortably through a summer heatwave requires some minor preparation to create the ideal safe environment for them to sleep in. By ensuring their room is cool, and dressing your baby in light layers you will help them to feel more comfortable and they will get more rest for the day ahead.