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108. Nursing In Hot Weather, Covered Or Uncovered

If it's summer, that means the temperature is rising. Let me teach you how to breastfeed in hot weather with ease (or give you permission to stay home and snuggle your baby). 

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*This podcast is not "medical advice". Please consult with your Healthcare Provider about your specific situation.

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts here. 

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Podcast Transcript:
Welcome to the Breezy Babies podcast, where we talk about all things boobs, babies and breastfeeding. This is Episode 108 nursing in Hot Weather. I'm Bree the IBCLC and I made Breezy Babies with you in mind to help ease your transition into parenthood. Becoming a parent changes your life in every way imaginable. Bumps in the road are going to come up as you move into your new role, but my goal is to help smooth out those bumps and help you become the most confident parent you can be. With good education and support, I know you can meet your breastfeeding and parenting goals. Let's do this together. Hey, friend, how are you? How's it going? Thanks so much for listening in to my podcast episode today. I hope you're having a great summer. I hope it's not too hot where you live, depending on where in the world you live and when you are listening to this podcast episode where I am. It is July and it is hot. It's very hot. Luckily here in Utah, it hasn't been over 100 deg, but it's still pretty toasty outside. So I thought this would be the perfect topic to talk about today because chances are it's also hot to where you live. And if it's not right now, maybe you're visiting someplace that's hot soon or it is going to be hot in a few months. So this episode is for you. Before I jump into my top three tips, I want to read a review for you. This was recent Google review that Caitlin left for me and it was just short and sweet and simple and I loved it. She said just as kind and wonderful as you come across on your Instagram page. Thank you. So nice. I love connecting with all of you. I actually have a lot of people who will set up a Lactation consult with me and say, oh, I listened to your podcast and this is so fun to be able to talk with you and you talk back because sometimes when you listen to a podcast episode, you think, oh, I know this person and we just had a 25 minutes chat. Sometimes it feels that way when I listen to some of my favorite podcasts as well. But it's even more fun when you actually get a talk back in a lactation consult. Especially when your insurance covers free consult. If you want to check and see if you are one that has free consultations. You can always check the link in the show notes or just go to Breezybabies.com and you can qualify for free consults if you're approved. Even if you haven't had your baby yet. You get a prenatal visit. Even if you've already returned to work. Even if you are exclusively pumping. Even if you are looking for help with biting. Weaning all of these things apply. Check it out. Treat yourself to some free consults. You might as well just check and see it doesn't hurt anything. If they come back and say no, then they say no. But sometimes they say yes and it makes my day every time I see that approval come through. I also thought it would be fun to read off a recent question that was sent to me. I don't know, this is maybe since you're on my Instagram, I can't remember now since I put this the show notes together a little bit ago, but I thought, hey, if this follower has this question, then for sure someone who's listening to my podcast also has this question. So this is what she said. Listen and tell me if you have ever wondered the same. She said what I was curious about is when frozen milk is moved to the fridge, when is it considered thawed? And that 24 hours countdown starts. So if you don't already know, once breast milk is thawed, you kind of start a little imaginary clock and it's best to use that breast milk within 24 hours. Which is why I recommend to not freeze your breast milk in huge chunks and huge quantities. Because if you don't use that breast milk within 24 hours, then it's not technically considered safe to feed to your baby. And it's always a sad day when breast milk goes to waste, which PS. Go back and listen to one of my previous podcast episodes where I talk about how to never waste a drop of breast milk again. I think it's called something like that because honestly, you should never throw away breast milk. There's always a good use for it even if you're not directly feeding it to your baby. But it might be kind of confusing to know when that clock starts. And here's the answer. Your breast milk is considered thawed once it no longer has ice crystals in it. Okay? If there's still ice crystals in it, then it's not technically thawed. If there is no ice crystals in your breast milk, then it is thawed and that 24 hours clock has started. Okay, makes sense. Still good. There you have it. Let's get into today's topic. Today nursing in hot weather. So let's just get right into it. I don't think there's anything else I want to tell you before we jump in, so let's just start with tip number one. Tip number one for nursing and hot weather is stay hydrated. You probably could have guessed this one, right? You want to, first of all, hydrate yourself because that's going to be really important so that you can maintain a healthy milk supply. Pro tip, add electrolytes to your wedding. That way you can really pack a punch with the water that you drink. Your body can better utilize that water if it has electrolytes in it. One of my favorites is Liquid IV. That's just my personal favorite, but I know there's some other great ones out there. So you do want to make sure you're hydrating yourself and you might be surprised at how thirsty you get when you're in hot water or sorry, in hot weather. You might be surprised, especially when you start breastfeeding. There's something funny that happens as soon as your milk lets down. Like, you just feel so thirsty. So you're going to want to pack some extra water. We recently went to a lake close by our house. It's actually Pine View, if you're familiar with northern Utah. It's a beautiful lake not too far from where I live. We met some friends up there and I filled up my big 40 ounce water cup with some electrolytes and some ice. And I was like, oh, this is going to be plenty. We didn't go until like, we didn't even leave our house until 04:00 p.m.. So I thought, oh, it's going to be cooling down. It's not in the heat of the day. We're just going to be there for a few hours. This will be plenty of water for me. I totally regretted not packing more water because it still was hot. We were kind of in the shade, but still, like, we were carrying paddle boards down to the water and it just got hot fast. And I sat down and breastfeed my baby and I took the last sip of my water and I was like, oh, no, this is not good. We haven't even hardly been here that long at all. And my water is always gone. So luckily the other family that we went with, they had some extra water bottles packed. And I learned an important lesson to always pack some extra water, especially when you're breastfeeding, because, man, you just get thirsty really easy. So to kind of wrap up that tip, hydrate yourself so that you can hydrate your baby. Now this kind of goes into tip number two, and that is feed often. Now, since it's going to be extra warm, there's a good chance that your baby is going to want an extra feeding or two while you're out and about, especially if you're out and about in the heat. So don't be alarmed if your baby suddenly feeds for shorter time periods. Maybe your baby just wants a little drink or a little snack. Just like sometimes you want that too when you're out and about, right? So just imagine this for me, just for a minute. Imagine that you are out, it's hot, you're tired, you're thirsty. And you get home and you go to get a drink from your kitchen and someone says, oh, sorry, no, you had a drink 45 minutes ago and the kitchen is closed. No drinks right now. You can't have a drink for another hour. Would you feel very happy if someone told you that? You'd be like, hey, I am thirsty now. I have been out in the hot weather. I want to drink sooner than I normally do. Why can't I? Your baby is the exact same way. Okay? So when you're out and about, just offer the breast frequently, even if it's only been an hour, 2 hours since you last breastfed, and maybe you normally go two 3 hours before feeds. Just be flexible. Your baby may want a little something more to stay hydrated. All right, tip number three is stay protected. So I want you to think baby sunblock. And the recommendation right now is if your baby is older than six months, but check with your pediatrician on that about baby sunblock. You're also going to want to think sun hats, portable fans, shade coverings, lightweight blankets, all these things are going to be really useful for you so that you can stay protected from the sun. Now sometimes you just think, oh, I have to really protect my baby, and add on these thick layers of clothes and cover them up with a blanket and a car seat cover. But for the most part, you want to address your baby how you would dress with maybe one extra thin layer. But your baby doesn't need multiple layers extra than what you are wearing and then what you feel comfortable in. Okay, so maybe just one extra thin layer. And let's also talk here about car seat covers. You know those cute little car seat covers that are stretchy and you put them over your baby's car seat cover and they're not only cute, but they also make it dark inside in case your baby falls asleep. I seriously use these with my first three kids, all three of them. But what I've learned is that those car seat covers, even though they're seemingly thin fabric, they can really trap heat inside of a car seat and literally act like a little tiny oven in the summer heat. So even though it can be really tempting to just pop one of those on your baby's car seat and keep them in there to keep them covered, be careful with those because they really can cause your little one to overheat. So one thing I've learned is a lightweight blanket that can cover the car seat or the stroller is great, but it still needs to have openings for airflow so that it's not heating up too much inside of the car seat. So that's something to consider next time you're out and about. So going along with this, I don't want you to stress about covering up with a large thick blanket when you nurse in public. Because chances are if you're breastfeeding in hot weather, you are out and about, you're around other people. And guess what? You do have the option to nurse uncovered while you're in public spaces. You do. You totally have that option in all 50 states. Here in the United States, we have laws that protect you and your baby to breastfeed in public. Covered or uncovered? Covered, doesn't matter. So really it just comes down to what you feel comfortable with. But just know that you can nurse uncovered while you are in public because, oh my gosh, this is probably with my first or second baby. We were at the zoo, she was hungry and it was so hot. I don't even go to the zoo at this time of year anymore because it's just too hot in the summer when it's like the sun is shining. But this was a few years ago before I kind of learned and we did go to the zoo and my baby was hungry. So I just told everyone, you just go ahead, I'm going to sit back. And I found a chair and I put on my nursing cover and it was so hot. I literally felt like I was melting all over. My baby was glued to me. She was so hot as well. It was so sweaty. It just was miserable. So that's not quite what I choose to do anymore. So just know that if you don't want to cover up, you still have some options. Even if you don't want like total boob access while you're out in public, there's still some ways that you can get creative where you're still kind of covered but you don't have a full on nursing cover or blanket over you that just traps in the heat. So what I like to do is I will wear a shirt where I can have easy boob access. Sometimes I do the pull up shirt method or I wear like a cross top or something that's stretchy that I can pull down. Kind of just depends what I'm in the mood for that day, what I want to wear, where I'm going. And if I am in a space where I prefer to cover up a little bit more, then I will leave my baby's sun hat on and I will position her in a more upright position. It honestly looks like she's just sitting in front of me with her legs straddling me and she's kind of just sitting right on my middle. And I will tell you that when she is nursing in this upright position where she's sitting in front of me with a sun hat on, no one can even tell that I'm nursing. No one. I've even had my mom was with us over the 4 July holiday weekend and she kept saying, oh my gosh, I didn't even realize you were nursing right now. Until she got like really close and was right next to me. Then she could tell that my baby was breastfeeding. So I recently did that in a stadium full of thousands of people. I did it at the wave pool of a packed water park right at the water's edge. I just made sure to wear a swimming suit with easy boob access while I was there. And honestly, I don't even wear a nursing swimming suit. I just wear something that has a cross body cut or a loca or stretchy fabric so I can pull it down easy and depending where we are, depending on the situation. Sometimes I feel a little bit more confident and bold, sometimes not. But I usually will pack a very light weight blanket just in case I do want to cover up. But I usually don't use it because, dang, it gets so hot being under a blanket, especially when you're in the heat. So if you are nervous to breastfeed in public, one thing that I found to be really helpful is to just focus on my baby. I just focus on her, hey, she's hungry right now. She's thirsty, she's been in the heat or whatever it is she wants to eat right now. And no one else's comfort should be placed above my baby's hunger. And to tell you the truth, it's taken me a lot of time and a lot of practice and four whole kids to get really comfortable with breastfeeding in public without excusing myself to a hot car or a bathroom. But that may just be a topic for another day. But just know that you do have the option to breastfeed in public, uncovered if you wish. Another option is before you go somewhere, research areas that have air conditioning that are close by, and you may want to pop in there and nurse inside so that if you do want to cover up, you're not melting and having your baby feel like she's completely stuck to you, that's not a great option. And another tip is you also have the option to stay home. That's fine as well, especially if your baby is still very young. My baby right now is eight months, so we feel a little bit more comfortable going places. We're a little bit more adventurous than we were when she was quite young, just a few months old. But you don't have to go to all the places. It's okay for you to say no and stay home. Having a baby is a great excuse. You can get out of anything you want. There recently was a post on a mommy Facebook group of someone who had just had a baby and her family was visiting in Florida and wanted to do a day at Disney. And everyone was chiming in and saying, listen, you don't have to go. Stay home, rest, heal. You don't have to go out in the Florida heat and go to Disney World just to please your guests. Now, maybe she wants to go. Maybe she doesn't want to feel left out after being pregnant for so long and her doctor has already cleared her for going on about and maybe she wants to get out for her mental health and she feels comfortable with taking her baby. So, okay, if that is the case for this mom and also for you listening, then follow my three tips that I just listed above. But if you're thinking, hey, I'd rather just say no and not go, then that's totally an option as well. So there you have it. Those are my top three tips for nursing and hot weather. Again, those are number one, stay hydrated. Number two, feed often. And number three, stay protected. I hope that gives you a little bit more confidence making going out and about in hot weather with a nursing baby a little more breezy. Thank you so much for listening in to this podcast episode. I will be back next Tuesday with some more great topics for you and I can't wait. Of course I'm going to leave you with. You are strong, you are smart, you are beautiful, you're a good friend to all. Bye, friend.

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