Summer + Baby
The day Joey was born, it was 106 degrees. And in the following weeks, there was no relief. And frankly, staying cooped up in the house with a baby because it’s hot outside was just not my style.
As time went on, I realized that other mommas were having a hard time finding the right things to do with their babes in the heat of summer. Whether it’s the fear of overheating them, sunburn, or just plain “It’s freaking hot,” the heat can be really intimidating to new moms.
So I decided to curate a small list of the things we did as new parents with our new newborn in the heat of summer! These activities fought the baby blues for me and socialized Joey and helped us jump back into life as our new family of 3.
Before we dive in, I feel as if I should note that I am an avid babywearer. Meaning, Joey is most often found strapped to my chest or back in one of the many carriers I own. I’ll post about babywearing on its own later, but wanted to point out just a few important notes:
Though it may seem not logical to wear your baby in the heat, it’s actually, in my experience, totally safe. Be careful about which carrier you use (see below), keep baby in cool clothing (or no clothing…), and let them wear a hat to keep their face cool.
Reasons for this? Well, both are lightweight and breathable, can be packed up small for quick getaway, and both keep baby in positions where you can be hands free and they can still look around.
Quick keys to babywearing: close enough to kiss, keep head and neck support if baby is under 4 months, and keep them in cool clothing or no clothes at all (just a diaper). The earlier you start wearing them, in my opinion, the better life will be.
Watch them eat watermelon
This is my favorite. Because seriously, no matter how old your baby is, this is fun. No teeth needed, no dexterity necessary. Break it up or give them the whole slice, and watch the watermelon juice cover their entire bodies while you laugh, eat your own, and see them smile. It’s simply the coolest.
Take them wine tasting
You heard that right. A week after Joey was born, I loaded him up to meet Adam and our best friends at our favorite winery for their annual blessing of the grapes and wine tour. It was super hot, like, so so hot. We kept Joey in the carseat in the stroller, covered him with a muslin blanket, let him wear only a diaper, and stayed in the shade. I wore a sundress for easy nursing access, and we spent the day sipping wine (well, less for me than everyone else), and stopping to nurse Joey whenever needed. Warm, yes. But perfect, also yes.
Joey was a mere 3 days old when we took him to see his first family. For us, it seemed easier to load up a newborn to visit people than it was to have family over to our house. So we loaded up in the nice air conditioned car and went to see great grandma and grandpa, about an hour away. We had lunch and hung out just enough, and once I felt the need to get home, we left. I had to nurse Joey three times while we were there, and eat lunch with him in one arm, but it totally worked.
A week later, my mom and I took him down to the bay area to meet the other side of the family. We did an overnight trip, and stayed with a friend who would of course not mind the waking every hour on the hour baby.
I think these trips were really critical for us. It showed me that I could in fact get out of my house for longer than an hour, and that Joey could travel, too. Because we were proactive with this, I really do believe, Joey has since been able to sleep anywhere and loves to take road trips.
Walk and drink coffee
The buttcrack of dawn is so freaking early. But it’s also cooler then. I would set my coffee pot to go about 4:30 am, and then if Joey woke with the sun, I could pour myself a cup of coffee and get outside. I would either wear him in the Moby Wrap, where he would normally fall back asleep, or if we was wide awake, we’d go in the stoller. But we’d walk until it got too hot, or he got hungry. Coffee, and Henry, and baby and me are such a fond memory of those hot summer mornings.
Go back to work a little bit
By a little, I mean just a little. Joey and I would go to the office for super brief tasks. Tasks I could do in the amount of time he would be content in an office mate’s arms. So, like 5 minutes. It felt good to get out, back to the grind, even if it was for a hot minute or two.
Visit the farmers’ market
I feel as though I cannot stress this one enough.
Joey has not missed a farmers’ market Saturday since he was born. Not one.
And trust me, people will have an opinion. What could people possibly have to say, you might ask? Well, things like, “Your baby is way to young to be out and about here.” Or, “Have you thought about your vaccinations options yet? I assume you’re against it.” Or, “Can I hold him?” Or, “I hope you have sunscreen on that baby. The sun will burn is skin in a second flat!”
Take what you will, but I needed to be out of the house with people and sunshine and food. And this was the way. I went early, wore Joey in the Moby or Ergo, and did my thing.
Go to church
Newborns are generally easy to take to church. Especially with family. And churches are always cold. Again, I wore Joey (literally, I wore Joey everywhere, everyday, still do), and either stood in the back if need be, or sat down if he fell asleep. He loved the music and the cheering, and I LOVED that I was literally praying and worshipping with my baby, right off the bat, in community. It felt as though he was being baptized every Sunday, head to my chest, ear to God.
Start making baby food with fresh summer produce
There is nothing better than fresh summer produce. And if you have a newborn, you may not think you want to do this yet. But, if you plan ahead, baby food is literally the easiest thing in the world to make, and how cool is it that they can experience fresh tomatoes and peaches in December? Just puree and freeze. Again, farmers’ market, buy the goodies, go home and cook. All my favorite things rolled into one thing.
Do I need to say more than that? If you’re worried about baby and chlorine, then bring a friend and a baby bouncer, and set up shop right there in the shade next to the pool. You can be in, baby can be right there, and it’s a win win.
Experiment with food! Depending on how old your baby is, you can even experiment with them. In the summer, it’s enticing to stay inside, of course, and cooking is a great way to occupy your time, keep cool, and keep baby entertained. Generally, the kitchen can be a really safe place for babe, whether you’re wearing them, they are on the floor with some tupperware, or sitting in their highchair eating scraps. Just simply take some things you have lying around in the cupboard, and get to work! Have some old red potatoes? Make some oven baked french fries for you and the babe to snack on later. Some cashew butter that doesn’t seem good on toast? Add some pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips and make yourself some bite sized protein balls (btw, babies LOVE them).
These are my favorite. Especially during those long months of witching hours in the evenings and when the sun starts to go down, just pack it all up and go outside. For some reason, the outdoors seem to calm babies down, give them some new surroundings to coo at, and you can enjoy your meal on a blanket on the lawn. We adored them.
Early morning hikes
When baby wakes super early, sometimes the only logical thing to do is get outside and watch the sunrise from the top of some hill. These hikes can be so enlightening. Even when you’re tired, feel like you can’t wake up for the life of you, once you start walking up that hill, you’ll feel like a new woman. Again, strap on that munchkin and get to hiking.
Walk around Costco
Costco is literally the coldest place you’ll find. Whether you’re using the stroller, baby wearing or put them in the cart, the cold air and free samples are great. Plus, you’ll keep baby entertained with all the fun things to touch and look at.
Go to the fair
If babe is a little older, take an evening and head to the county fair. The animal smells and noises seem to provide never ending entertainment, and let’s face it, babies love corndogs. It’s a win win, and there’s usually plenty of shade and beer to make the heat bearable.
From what I’ve heard, new parents are generally nervous about packing the baby up to go to a baseball game. But here’s the thing - it’s loud, which usually makes babies happy. It’s full of new smells and people to look at. And french fries. And shade. And if you go with friends, just pass the baby down the line during the game, and then everyone gets a break and gets their baby fix.