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twitter__b7By Breanne Wilhite

 While being close to your baby during breastfeeding is sweet and special, it can start to feel difficult as the summer heat rises. Not to mention summer time usually means more time on the go and outside. But don’t worry! There are still ways you can stay cool while breastfeeding your baby at the beach, pool, or a backyard BBQ this summer.

As Massachusetts WIC celebrates World Breastfeeding Month in August, here are some mommy-approved tips for continuing to breastfeed during the summer months:

Drink lots of water. Don’t leave home without your water bottle, especially when the temperature rises. Water is important for your hydration and helps you to stay cool while nursing. Add fruit or cucumber slices to water to add flavor!

Protect your baby from the sun. No matter where your summer activities take you, make sure your baby is protected from the sun while breastfeeding. Always keep your little one in the shade or under an umbrella and make sure to use sunscreen for any babies over six months of age.

Take time to relax. Breastfeeding is always best when both mom and baby are calm. Even though summertime can be busy, make sure to find ways to relax before or during breastfeeding. For example, a quick dip in the water before breastfeeding or breastfeeding in the cool shade of a tree can help you, and your baby, relax so you are both comfortable while nursing.

Bring a lightweight blanket or nursing cover. You might have to breastfeed more in public during the summer months than you are used to or comfortable with. A lightweight receiving blanket can help cover you and your baby or can be used to wrap up your baby before bringing him to your breast. And remember, Massachusetts has a law that allows women to breastfeed in most public locations, covered or not!

Or, go without the blanket! Getting overheated? You can also use the summer months to breastfeed anywhere and not worry about covering up. Massachusetts has a law that allows women to breastfeed in most public locations.

Remember, babies under 6 months of age do not need water! Breastmilk is about 90% water and provides all the nutrients your breastfed baby needs. Giving water to babies under six months of age can affect your milk supply and your baby’s weight gain, and can actually be harmful! Babies over 6 months of age can have a few sips of water in a cup in very hot weather.  Talk to your WIC nutritionist or child’s health care provider for more information.

If you have any additional questions, reach out to your local WIC program for their breastfeeding support services!

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/get-wic-breastfeeding-support-services

Breanne Wilhite is a MPH candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health.  

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