EVERYONE knows that a hot head and higher body temperatures mean that you are getting sick. But when you feel that your baby’s head is hot while it smiles and behaves as usual, you will definitely get puzzled - why the body is hot without fever?
Do not panic and do not rush to the doctor, though you need to act immediately to avoid serious consequences.
Why the Thermometer Shows Different Numbers?
WHEN you feel that your baby’s head is hot, and thermometer shows no fever, it is more likely that they are overheated.
Little babies cannot regulate their heat production and keep same temperature of 37°C (normal for adults). Your tiny precious peanut consists of very little body fat and more body water and also has immature soft skin, which makes it get and lose heat pretty quickly.
You can take baby’s temperature several times a day and it may be different.
According to pediatricians, normal baby temperature can vary from 36.5°C to 37.5°C. Any sources of heat and cold in your room, when placed closer to the baby, may affect this change.
Being absolutely healthy, your baby can be overheated and you should consider it seriously.
Please remember that smaller and more premature newborns have greater risk of heat loss and you should better consult the doctor how to deal with thermo risks individually.
For taking my baby’s temperature I trust my an old style thermometer which I can place both under the armpit or in the mouth.
Why is my Baby so Hot?
AS WE now know, hot head without fever is a result of baby’s undeveloped thermoregulation system.
When your baby is active and moving a lot, or even when it is crying, the body temperature can rise, and you will feel this heat. Too much bundling, swaddling, close radiant warmers can lead to overheating.
If your baby is hot but the temperature is under 37.5 and there are no other signs of sickness you should not worry but try to cool it down as soon as possible.
Remember, human’s body is more accustomed to cooler than hotter temperatures and overheating can often be more dangerous than light overcooling.
Statistics say that an overheated baby between 2 and 4 months of age have a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). So, please do not ignore the first signs of overheating.
How can I Cool down my Baby?
FIRST of all, I will immediately take off extra layers of clothes and blankets.
I can even keep my baby undressed for some time in a room temperature, stroke or massage its body gently and soothingly. Do not forget to give it enough water or breastfeed it more often.
When I feel too much heat, I rub its face, hands and legs with wet cloth to imitate sweating and calm down body heat quickly.
If you worry that the baby is cold, touch its nose. If it is not cold - your baby is absolutely fine. Though when you are outside walking with your little one, its nose can be cooler than the rest of the body.
You should keep room temperature comfortable for yourself, the baby will also like it. But do not make it more than 25°C during the first month. Remember that higher room temperatures may lead to dry nose, which will make baby breathing harder.
To keep an eye on the room temperatures and avoid extra dryness I find it easy to consult my wall thermo/hygrometer.
Unusual Behaviour: it is Time to See the Doctor!
IF THE baby is hot and it has no fever but his behaviour is unusual with any of the following signs: increased anxiety or extra sleepiness, sweating, hair loss, do not hesitate to take your precious one to the doctor immediately. These can be symptoms of serious illness and it is better to find it as soon as possible.
How should I Dress the Baby for Night Sleeps?
USUALLY a baby feels warm enough when the head is warm, but hands and feet are a bit cooler.
You should also remember that if the baby is not warm enough at night, it will wake up more often. So, you need to find ‘golden middle’. You can also check the back of baby’s neck, it should not be sweaty.
For better sleeping at night for first several weeks I used only Wonder Miracle baby swaddle with a sleeve bodysuit without any blankets. It was really helpful to keep the baby warm and had his hands folded not to disturb itself at night.
How to Avoid a Heat Stroke in Hot Days?
IF YOUR baby is healthy but often has a hot head, try to spend more time outdoors in the fresh air.
In summer, doctors recommend to ‘shield’ the baby completely from the sun for the first 6 months and not to use UV protection creams. Use soft cotton materials for outfit, always cover baby’s head and do no put socks and shoes! Extra water to drink and rubbing its face and hands with wet washcloths maybe also helpful.
I avoid using regular diapers with plastic layers and laminated fabrics, which keep baby’s bottom hot and may lead to heat rush. These ones instead are my favourite diapers. But be ready to change cloth diapers every time they are wet.
Each Baby is unique, some advice from other parents will work for your little one but others won’t. I am sure that your baby always lets you know about their well-being with numerous signs, just try to listen to them and a happy smile will be the best reward for you.