We’re often told that babies can’t regulate their own body temperatures, and much of the safe sleep advice out there reiterates this too. So why is it that babies, already so vulnerable, are unable to cool themselves when they get too hot, and vice versa? A cold baby cannot shiver, so she relies on you to add an extra layer, or bring the swimming lesson to an end when its all a little too much. And this can be scary! Likewise a baby who is overheating cannot remove her layers, so once more it’s up to you to ensure she is just so. With this in mind, its natural for parents to worry about whether or not their baby is too hot or cold- so this week we want to look at exactly why this happens. This is why your baby cannot regulate her temperature.
Your baby needs you
When your baby is in utero, her temperature is regulated by yours, and once she’s on the outside, she still needs you to help her. One of the first signs that she is either too hot or too cold, is that she will wake, or find it difficult to go to sleep or settle. She’ll most likely cry to alert you. The fact that babies cannot regulate their own temperature is just one reason why new mums and dads are encouraged to enjoy lots of skin to skin with their baby, and why baby wearing is so beneficial too. They can regulate their own temperatures from their parents, gaining warmth from your body at just the right temperature.
Babies lose heat
Babies can become very cold very quickly, and they lose heat much more rapidly than adults. Babies of low birth weight especially can find it hard to stabilise their temperatures, and new parents are often advised to dress them in boots and hats etc. Lack of body fat has lots to do with this, but in general babies can lose body heat up to four times faster than older children and adults. So the best way that you can prevent her getting too cold? Maintain the temperature in the room.
The Tempo Environment Monitor
Your baby’s room needs to be kept at an even temperature so that she doesn’t lose body heat. The Tempo Environment Monitor allows you to monitor the temperature in the room via your smart phone, so that you know when you need to make the necessary adjustments. It’s also a great device to have to ensure that your baby doesn’t overheat too- keep an eye on the temperature throughout the day and adjust accordingly so that when she sleeps it’s stabilised correctly.
Your baby can get too hot quickly
Safe sleep guidelines recommend keeping baby’s room between 16 and 20 degrees C, so that her body temperature remains stable. Most babies will cry or fuss when they’re too hot, but not all will so its important to keep a check on her temperature so that you can act accordingly. So along with monitoring the temperature in the room, its a good idea to keep a check on her own body temperature too.
- When you check on baby, feel her tummy or the back of the neck. If she’s clammy, she’s too hot.
- Use a Pacif-i smart pacifier to keep a running check on her temperature. Pacif-i links to your phone via bluetooth, so you can keep a check when she’s asleep.
- Make sure you adjust your baby’s layers when the weather changes.
- Don’t expect your baby’s hands and feet to tell you how hot she is. They are often colder than the rest of her body.
- Don’t be tempted to over wrap your baby when its cold- use loose clothing and remove hats when indoors.
Using a Pacif-i
As already mentioned, the Pacif-i can help you to monitor your baby’s temperature, especially when the weather is hot, or she is unwell. Because you don’t need to disturb her to take a reading, the Pacif-i enables you to get an accurate and running temperature that is more able to give a clearer understanding of how hot she really is. It links to your smart phone using bluetooth and allows you to store the data too. If your baby is unwell, she’s likely to have a higher temperature than normal, and there are steps you can take to help.
- Encourage your baby to drink lots of fluids breastmilk, water etc.
- Only offer food if she wants to eat.
- Watch for signs of dehydration- dry mouth, dry nappy, no tears etc.
- Check on her regularly, and take her temperature regularly too- with the Pacif-i this is easier than ever.
- Seek medical advice if you're worried.
Use your Pacif-i to soothe and calm your baby, and you! Record temperature readings as often as you like, and always seek medical attention if you’re concerned.
As your baby grows older, she will become more able to regulate her body temperature and you won’t need to take so many precautions. That said, the Pacif-i is suitable for use with children up to the age of three, simply because it provides such an easy and comforting way to take your child’s temperature.