Thursday's Tip: Breastfeeding in a heat wave

With the hot weather in the forecast for many parts of the country, we have gone back in our blog archives to bring you some hot weather tips from previous years.

- Breast milk is all your baby needs during the warm summer weather, even on very hot, humid days. Teresa Pitman, co-author of La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, shares this information, "The composition of your breast milk will change in response to the need of your baby - a higher water content in the hot weather and a higher fat content in the colder months."

- A young baby needs plenty of breast milk and will be feeding frequently. Giving the baby a fluid other than your milk means the baby will be filling up on an inferior source of nutrition. Remember your body makes milk based on supply and demand. It's important that he nurse frequently, and not receive supplements, including water, so that you will have a plentiful milk supply. Be sure to offer the breast frequently in warm weather so your baby has plenty of opportunity to quench his thirst. Some babies prefer short frequent feeds when the weather is hot.

- Breastmilk is perfect for summer trips to the beach, park, cottage or camping. It's always available, requires no preparation, doesn't spoil and it even comes in very cute and easy to use containers! One of the many conveniences of breastfeeding is how easy it is to go away with your baby, either on a day trip or a longer holiday. Baby needs nothing more than a change of clothes, some diapers, and his mother's milk so don't hesitate to enjoy the summer months knowing that your baby is not only well hydrated but he's also receiving the best possible nutrition-your breast milk. Remember to bring water for yourself as you will need more than usual in extra hot weather.

- Breastfeeding a warm baby on a hot day can leave both of you feeling hot and sweaty. A flannel receiving blanket or a dish towel draped over your arm between your skin and baby’s can help both of you feel more comfortable.

- Older babies and toddlers might enjoy popsicles. Try nice homemade ones made with diluted juice, crushed fruit, yogurt and fruit mix, or even a green smoothie (like a normal smoothie, but with a little green leafy goodness thrown in, too). You could even make some out of breast milk!

- Young children seem to enjoy playing with ice cubes in a bowl and they naturally put them in their mouths. Frozen fruit in a bowl are fun to play with and nutritious: blueberries, grape halves and banana pieces are favorites. Teething babies/toddlers found these comforting at any time of the year. As children get older, a frozen banana on a stick or fruit kabobs are a fast and easy summer treat.

If you have any questions about managing breastfeeding please contact a La Leche League Leader. To find a Leader or Group near you click HERE

To encourage, promote and provide breastfeeding, chest feeding and human milk feeding support and educational opportunities as an important contribution to the health of children, families and society