Prepare yourselves, this could be the answer to your sleepless nights! Night Nannies is an agency that consists of midwives, neonatal nurses, paediatric nurses and nannies with over 10 years experience that will visit your home and help look after your baby through the night. And no, we’re not making it up! We asked the Night Nannies for some advice we think lots of mums-to-be would love to read about. The tips we’ve provided you with on how to soothe a baby during hot summer nights has been given by over 250 expert Night Nannies!
Night Nannies was founded 17 years ago by ex BBC presenter, Anastasia Baker, we asked what inspired her to start the business:
‘My second son was born within 15 months of my daughter and I was exhausted. I called so many agencies to find someone who could help with the long night shifts, with no luck. So I set up the agency with just 10 Night Nannies whom I recruited from the neo natal department of my local hospital. There are now over 250 Night Nannies out most nights around London and over 300 around the Home Counties. They will give advice and help tired parents at night. We also provide 24 hour maternity nurses and Sleep Trainers for babies over 6 months, who are weaned and need guidance to sleep through the night. We can organise help for parents within just a few hours of calling us.’
What are your top tips on how to keep a baby cool on a hot summer night?
During the day, keep the blinds or curtains in the nursery closed but windows open, this can help to keep the room cool, you could also try cooling the temperature of the bath. Give your baby lots of liquids to prevent dehydration. If you’re breastfeeding, you don’t need to give them water as well as breast milk, however, you may need to breastfeed more than usual in the night. If you are bottle feeding you could give them cooled down boiled water in between their usual milk feed. Check for good hydration by checking if the baby’s fontanelle (the soft spot on the top of their head) is sunken.
Always have your baby in a shaded area when out during the day, and never clip a large muslin or blanket over the front of the hood as the air will not be able to circulate inside the pram and this can have devastating consequences. Air needs to be able to circulate around the pram at all times. It’s important to regularly check the baby’s body temperature by placing a hand on their back or neck area. If the baby is sweating they should be cooled by removing or opening clothing. A cool damp cloth may be used to gently wipe the baby’s head and neck during feed time if necessary. Feed time should not be too snuggly to avoid overheating.
We know that babies love being swaddled to help them sleep but will this still be okay for summer?
Babies cannot self regulate their body heat so try and dress your baby at night in loose fitting cool cotton short sleeved or sleeveless vest. If it is very hot just a nappy will do. If your baby is a big fan of swaddling it’s really important to continue with it otherwise it will interfere with their sleep. You can contain tiny flailing arms whilst leaving tiny warm legs and feet uncovered. Cover your baby very thinly with a muslin swaddle or muslin sleeping bag, no blanket on top. If your baby is around 8/10 weeks old you can start to leave one arm unswaddled which helps enormously if very hot.
What is the optimal sleeping temperature for a baby and if it’s too hot what’s the best way to cool them down?
The ideal room temperature should be around 18 degrees. Open windows to try and get a breeze going. A fan directed against a wall will cool the room without blowing directly onto the baby. You could also hang a damp towel or sheet in front of the fan, not over it, this will keep the room even cooler. Night Nannies recommend a Dyson fan for babies at night, air conditioning, if not too noisy is an idea as the gentle humming of a quiet air conditioner could actually aid better sleeping for an unsettled baby.
What are some common problems that Night Nannies see with babies in the summer time and what are the best ways to remedy them?
In the summer the most common problem that clients complain of is early waking, a really well fitted blackout blind can remedy this problem. Summer can be hot and exhausting for breastfeeding mums too!
Do you have any tips for mums who are breastfeeding during the summer months?
Some mothers breasts can swell and get rashes from the heat, this can be relieved with refrigerated cabbage leaves or cool compresses. Lansinoh hot and cold breast therapy is a must have. Mothers should definitely drink more water to increase their hydration and milk supply, and eat a healthy meal at least twice a day, as well as lots of fruits as snacks and try and get some sleep in the daytime.
Newborns should not be too affected by summer nights, however older babies may be. Our advice is that nights may be a bit more disturbed than usual but it’s England- it won’t last for long!
Guest Post: Night Nannies
Click here to find out more about getting a full nights sleep!