Breastfeeding in the summer months can get sweaty and maybe a little uncomfortable, but it’s not all bad! We’ve rounded up a few tips for staying cool (both you and your little one) when you’re out and about this summer.
From keeping hydrated to applying sunscreen with care, we’ve got you covered. No pun intended!
Drinking water is a must for anyone, and especially for breastfeeding moms. It’s critical for general hydration, and in the hot summer months, you may find yourself feeling dehydrated faster and more frequently than you’ve prepared for.
Staying hydrated isn’t necessarily for your baby (they will get all the necessary fluids they need) but more for yourself. Breastfeeding and pumping consumes a lot of energy—it takes between 500-1,000 calories a day on average to produce breast milk—so drinking enough water is key. As a rule of thumb, aim to drink an entire glass of water before nursing.
Choose nurse-friendly covers
Nursing or not, you’re going to want to reach for those light, breathable clothing items from your closet. The good news is that nursing covers and baby blankets come in all shapes, sizes and most importantly, materials. If you’re pumping or breastfeeding out in the summer sun, you’ll want to opt for one that is lightweight and made from a breathable fabric like cotton.
Muslin, a lightweight cotton weave, is a great choice and we sell one on Lilu. Ours is made of a breathable, silky woven muslin fabric that is 70% cotton and 30% polyester. It’s soft, lightweight and can even double as a scarf on chilly days (aka when you’re inside and the air-conditioning is blasting).
Another helpful tip is to wear light colors that reflect the light rather than dark colors, like black and navy blue, that absorb heat more fully.
Apply sunscreen with care
Even with social distancing, you’re likely to spend some afternoons in the sun doing outdoor activities and even if you’re staying cool in the shade, you’re not 100% safe from a sunburn. Some of the worst burns come one cloudy days because we think we’re ‘safe’ from the UV rays when we’re not.
As a note, sunscreen is typically okay as long as your baby is at least 6-months old. We recommend re-applying regularly, just to be safe. For babies under six-months, try to keep them out of the sun all together. Hats and umbrellas are really good for that.
When applying sunscreen to your own body, be mindful about your breast area, as you don’t want your baby to get any in his or her mouth.
Keep cool as a cucumber
There are a lot of ways to keep cool in the summer months. Wide-brimmed hats are helpful, as is staying in the shade and keeping water on hand. You might even want to bring a cooler with you for longer outdoor outings.
Another way to keep cool is to wet a towel with cool water and place it over your baby. This is a go-to when you are nursing because it can keep both you and your baby from overheating.
Or, depending on whether your pool is open this summer, take a dip before nursing. You can put a swim diaper on your little one and splash around in the water. When you’re done, hop out and sit poolside while you nurse. The dampness from the pool will evaporate during your session.
Create extra space
If you’re pumping with the Lilu Massage Bra, this isn’t so relevant, but it is helpful for breastfeeding your baby outdoors. If your baby is more or less used to nursing, feel free to get a bit creative with their positioning.
Skin-to-skin contact creates extra heat and if you’re already sweating in the sun, that added heat can be uncomfortable for you and your baby. Instead of cradling them against you, try to nurse them in a more reclined position on your side.
Of course, if your baby still needs to be held, there’s a good workaround. Breastfeed with their feet pointed toward your back; this way, their body is laying along your side and there is less contact and heat than when you cradle them across your torso.