In many parts of the world, having a baby in the late spring or summer months conjures up pretty images of pushing your bundle of joy in a cute pram through dappled meadows. However, here in the UAE, the thought of creeping towards your due-date during 40-plus degrees can make you worry slightly. As your maternity shirt sticks unflatteringly over your massive bump, you are reminded that you are birthing your child in a country where the sun shines harshly for five months of the year and it feels a bit like walking behind the exhaust of a large bus – hot, baking hot.
Fear not, though, Time Out Kids readers, as this month we sat down with an expert in all things baby, to collate some useful advice on having your baby here during Dubai’s summer sun.
Deborah Williams trained as a midwife in the UK and has more than 20 years’ experience. As a mum herself, she has been providing gentle and expert care to mums-to-be for nine years.
Williams advises that mums-in-waiting should first reach out to other new mums in the same situation.
“Create your tribe and join one of the many Facebook groups such as Love Parenting. Make some friends that are
due around the same time as you,” Williams suggests.
“Having a friend in the same situation makes the journey that bit easier.”
When the time comes to take your beautiful bundle home, you might worry about fluid intake and dehydration. Is the baby getting enough and what are the risks if they are not?
Williams assures us that breastfeeding mums produce saltier milk which contains more water for this purpose. The body self-protects and the baby will get all it needs. She adds that mums should always increase their own intake of fluids to ensure they don’t get dehydrated.
Williams recommends if you choose to bottle feed, it’s okay to offer baby an occasional bottle of cooled water if he or she seems overly hot or sweaty, but never to replace a milk feed with water.
Signs of dehydration to watch out for include a reduction in wet nappies, dry mouth and eyes, lethargy and a sunken soft spot in the head.
And while dressing your tiny fashionista is always fun, in the hot summer there are a few rules of thumb to follow.
Williams explains: “Layering is key. In the UAE you can go from the very hot to the very cold very quickly, particularly if you are running from the car to the mall and so on. Be aware that your baby requires one extra layer than an adult.”
In fact, getting out and about with a newborn is something a lot of mums worry about as the temperature heats up.
“You can and you should go out,” says Williams. “It’s good to take your little one out for a walk in the early morning and the late afternoon for approximately 20 minutes. It’s crucial for vitamin D absorption.”
If you have a toddler or older sibling at home, being cooped up in the house can also be challenging. Fortunately, Williams has some super tips for this, too.
“Looking after a toddler, as well as a newborn in the summer can be hard, but remember they will not need therapy if they watch too much TV for a few weeks. Older siblings will love to help you care for the baby and, for younger ones, invest in a little doll so that they can enjoy minding their own baby,” she smiles.
Deborah Williams is a midwife with the Coopers Clinic in Motorcity, www.cooperhealthclinic.com
Three Baby Cool Tips
Cool in the car
Pop a gel pack wrapped in a towel on the car seat before transporting your little one into the car. Spritz your tot lightly with some cool water in advance of a car journey. For older tots make sure you have lots of drink breaks.
Turn on the A/C in baby’s room before bedtime. This will make the room nice and cool in advance. But don’t allow the direct air to blow on baby as it might be too chilly. Always ensure A/Cs are well maintained, too.
Dress to impress
Dress your baby in cool cotton clothes. Avoid synthetics, as they trap heat and can be very uncomfortable. They may even cause prickly heat rashes. If going out in the sun, make sure you pack a UV protected sun hat.