With the long, cold, "polar vortexy" winter behind us and the late April arrival of my son, I was excited to finally get out and enjoy some sunshine! The summer is the ideal time to get in some baby-weight-losing power walks and those much needed trips for free baby entertainment at the library. Being the type to skip the golden goddess step and go straight to lobster chic, I make sure to at least wear my SPF and some shades when I leave the house. Naturally I wanted baby to have the same protection (if not more) but a trip to the pharmacy raised a problem - so called "baby sunblock" is only indicated for use in children over the age of 6 months. I didn't realize this. Upon mentioning this story to my Aunt, she recalled a similar trip of her own. When she asked a pharmacist what brand she should buy, he answered: "long sleeves." Harsh - and not the only time I've heard this type of response.
But it gets worse; we all know a burn is bad for adult skin, but Skincancer.org states that "Just one blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life." Great, more guilt to add to the ever increasing list of ways we can ruin our child's life!
So what's a mommy to do? It's hot. For the baby's health—and your own sanity—you can't stay cooped up all the time. Well, stick to the basics:
- A cute baseball cap, wide brimmed bucket hat, or adorable bonnet is now your constant accessory (so make sure it's in your diaper bag if not on baby's head)! Stocking caps keep baby warm but don't do much to keep the rays off of a little one's face. Save these for cooler weather and photo ops.
- While we're talking fashion, sleeves aren't such a bad idea. Light weight and lightly coloured outfits are best to keep as much of the skin protected as possible. Absolutely have to dress baby in that watermelon sundress or sleeveless shark romper? Pimp your ride instead! Use a mesh protective cover for your stroller or sunshade for your baby carrier (Snuggly, Baby Bjorn, etc).
- Stay out of the harshest sun of the day. While it might be impossible to run all your errands before 10am or after 4pm (seriously?), take breaks in air conditioned buildings or stay at the shady side of the park.
Enjoy the warmth and freedom of the summer while you can! It's a great time to be off and spending time together.