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Sleep in the heat

It's going to be hotter than ever before in the UK this week. Here are a few tips to get you and your little one through.


The optimum temperature to support sleep is 16-18 degrees centigrade, so most of us are going to be looking at a full ten degrees higher than optimal over the next couple of nights. So don't be surprised if sleep goes a bit haywire. Little ones might struggle to get to sleep, to stay asleep... Or they might need to sleep for longer at naps or overnight. Be flexible and know that things will get back to something like normal (whatever normal means with a baby!) in a few days. In the meantime, to get you through...


🌞 Try to keep their room cool during the day by opening windows but closing curtains or blinds.


🌞 Use a fan if you have one, and place a bowl of cold water or ice in front of it for DIY air conditioning. (Ensure that these are safely inaccessible to your child if they are mobile and in a floor bed or toddler bed). If you're using a fan, keep it on oscillating mode so it's not constantly directed at baby.


🌞 Pop some muslins in the freezer and place them between your bodies during sweaty feeds.


🌞 Reassess PJs and bedding to make sure they are cool enough. If you use sleeping bags, drop down to 1tog or 0.5tog as it gets hotter. If it gets really hot, some babies may want to sleep in just a nappy or a nappy and vest.


🌞 A lukewarm bath before bed can create a drop in core body temperature afterwards, so may still be useful if it's already part of your bedtime routine. A cool bath any time of day will probably be delightful for all concerned.


🌞 In hot weather babies may well wake more frequently because they are thirsty. Make sure they are well hydrated through the day and if you are breastfeeding don't deny extra night feeds - they might really need them!


🌞 When out and about, never use a muslin to shade a buggy during naps - it can create a dangerous level of heat inside. Use a clip on sun shade, or peg a muslin horizontally to the hood and the handles of the buggy so you can create some shade but keep lots of airflow.


🌞 In the evenings it may well be cooler outside than inside. If you are indoors and struggling with a bedtime that feels like it isn't going to happen, rather than getting stressed and sticky, you could consider popping baby in the buggy and taking them for a walk outdoors. Walk them to sleep then you can hang out with them outdoors if you have a garden. You can transfer them at their first wake, or if they are older they might happily transfer from buggy to bed.


Good luck everyone!


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So much of my work is about normalising the normal: helping parents develop more realistic expectations about what biologically normal infant sleep actually looks like. More often than not, a baby wak