Breastfeeding: tips for summer

If overcoming the heat of summer is difficult, it can still be more complicated for the mother who is breastfeeding and for the nursing baby, since the increase in temperatures has direct physical effects on both. Take good note of summer tips to make breastfeeding compatible with the summer heat, whether you stay at home or go on a trip.

How does heat affect the nursing baby?

Since the metabolism of babies is faster than that of adults, they have a higher risk of dehydration. To maintain the proper level of hydration specialists recommend breastfeeding on demand, without exceptions, whenever the baby wants and shorten the time between shots. But how do we know that our child may be dehydrated?

"The child usually asks for it when he needs it and in summer more often with crying," says Dr. Cristina Bonjoch, specialist of the paediatrics unit PAIDO-DEX, of the Dexeus University Hospital in Barcelona and a member of Top Doctors. "But there are many other symptoms that indicate that the baby is thirsty, such as nodding, often sticking out his tongue and putting his hand to his mouth, reducing urine or concentrating urine, looking dark and smelling stronger" . Other indicators of alarm could be drowsiness, irritability, cold sweat, loss of normal vitality or an increase in heart rate and respiratory rate.

How does the breast affect the heat?

The mother who is breastfeeding suffers an increase in body temperature for two reasons: the heat of summer itself and the continuous direct contact with the baby during breastfeeding. The perspiration increases and there is a reduction of the natural hydration that leads to the decrease of milk.

Dr. Gonzalo Oliván, pediatrician at the Center for Pediatrics and International Adoption of Zaragoza and member of Top Doctors, stresses the importance of "drinking enough water or fluids throughout the day, that mother and baby wear light and fresh tissue , look for fresh places sheltered from the heat and sun to make the shots, have a bottle of water on hand to avoid interrupting thirst and place a thin gauze between the skin of the mother and baby to reduce the increase in temperature body of both by direct contact ".

Summer can cause an increase in irritability, apathy and fatigue due to high temperatures in the nursing mother. Also, their levels of 'oxytocin' increase when the baby sucks and thirsts. "There is no problem in drinking during the shot, on the contrary, it must be done", the experts underline.

Doubts and answers about breastfeeding in summer

1. Should we give the baby water?88% of breast milk is made up of water so the baby does not need water between take and take if he is less than 6 months old and is breastfeeding on demand. After 6 months, if you have already started the intake of other foods, it is good to offer water in a glass (not directly from the bottle or bottle) from time to time. "If you are offered the breast before the porridge or purées, as recommended during the first year, you probably will not need water and will not want it." As you get older and drink more solid foods, you will generally drink. the water that is offered, "says Dr. Oliván.

2. What diet should the mother take?The Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) recommends eating 5 times a day and eating a varied diet that includes all types of food with a minimum intake of 1,800 calories per day. In summer vegetables and seasonal fruits (in the form of salads, cold soups, fruit salad, juices, smoothies or whole pieces) are great allies for the nursing mother as they provide hydration and nutrition in equal parts.

3. What should the mother drink to have a good breastfeeding?Mainly water and natural juices, between 2 and 3 liters a day or whatever the body asks for. Avoid sugary drinks and stimulant drinks (cola, coffee, tea), and of course alcohol drinks are contraindicated.

4. What are the requirements for the preservation of breast milk?If it is necessary to express breast milk for storage and transport, high temperatures can cause it to lose its properties or become contaminated. It is important to maximize hygiene habits, thoroughly cleaning the nipple / areola area, the breast pump and storage containers. The mother should always keep her hands very clean. The milk can be refrigerated for up to 8 days in a refrigerator at a temperature between 0 and 4ºC (always at the bottom, not at the door) and it should not remain frozen for more than two weeks.

If the extraction is carried out outside the home, the milk can be stored in a well-cooled portable cooler.The Breastfeeding Committee of the AEP recommends that between 25 and 30ºC of room temperature, the expressed breast milk be refrigerated in the refrigerator before 4 to 6 hours have elapsed. Above 30 ° C ambient temperature, breast milk can not be kept out of the refrigerator for more than 4 hours.

7 tips make breastfeeding compatible and summer

1. Do not plan a tight tourist calendar during the first months of lactation, especially during the first month.
2. If the journey by car is long, the baby will have to be nursed en route. It is recommended to stop and find a comfortable and cool position for both, without hurry, even if it means lengthening the time of the trip.
3. If you travel by train or plane, the baby will travel in the arms of mom (with a special belt) and she can breastfeed at any time. Both the mother and the baby should wear light and fresh clothes.
4. Place a thin gauze between the skin of the mother and the baby during breastfeeding, to reduce the body temperature of both.
5. Always have a bottle of water handy to avoid interrupting the intake because of the thirst that appears during breastfeeding.
6. Search for cool places sheltered from the heat and dthe sun to make the shot. If you are indoors and if necessary, it is recommended to close windows and lower blinds.
7. If fan or air conditioning is used, or you are in a room where you have ventilation, you must try to avoid exposure of the baby to the air flow.

Experts stress the importance of breastfeeding on demand, whenever the baby wants, and not give water between shots if you have less than six months. To control that the baby is well hydrated, you must wet 6-7 diapers during the day.

Marina Berrio
Advice:Dr. Cristina Bonjoch, specialist of the paediatrics unit PAIDO-DEX, of the Dexeus University Hospital of Barcelona


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