While it might seem like the hot summer days are never going to end, here are a few tried and tested methods that I’ve found to manage the heat and keep your baby cool.
Babywearing when it’s warm
If you’re a fan of slings and wraps, bear in mind that being snuggled up to you can cause your baby’s body temperature to rise. Some fabrics, like bamboo allow for better ventilation than synthetic fabrics. Putting a muslin cloth between baby’s face and your chest will also help prevent you from becoming a Sweaty Betty.
Keep it cool
A lot of apartments in Madrid unfortunately don’t have air conditioning pre-installed, but there are ways around this. We invested in a second-hand portable air conditioning unit from Facebook Marketplace (a pinguino) and it made a huge difference. If you can’t get your hands on an AC unit, you can create your own. Strapping a few plastic ice-blocks to a fan can really help to cool down a room.
Throw some shade
My favourite baby-gadget for beating the Madrid heat has to be the SnoozeShade. It’s a pram cover than keeps baby out of the sun while still allowing air to circulate in the pram so it doesn’t get too hot. It’s got a cute little zip so you can keep an eye on your little one while they’re napping and it’s stretchy so it fits any kind of pram or buggy. I had bought a clip-on parasol but got so sick of adjusting it every time we turned a corner, whereas this kept the pram shaded constantly. I love that it also keeps wasps and nosey strangers away from the baby too! It meant that even in the early days we could get out for walks in the cooler hours of the day without worrying about the sun being too much for baby.
In hot weather it’s important to keep both you and baby hydrated enough. If you’re breastfeeding, doctors recommend feeding on demand. Make sure to increase how much you’re drinking too. Drinking from a reusable bottle instead of a glass can help you to measure your intake during the day and you can ensure that you’ve always got some water to hand. I always keep a bottle in the changing bag so I don’t have to keep buying water when I’m out and about. Metal ones are fantastic for keeping your drinks nice and cool and if you’re not a big fan of plain water, you can always throw in a fruity teabag to add some flavour to it.
Early bird… Or night owl
One of the things that I love about living in Spain is the culture of making the most of the evenings, even if you have a baby. Even though we were stuck in the house during the hotter hours, we tried to get out every day either for breakfast before it got too hot, or for a drink in the evening. It was lovely to be able to sit out on a terraza with friends with baby asleep in the pram. It helped me to keep my sanity in the early days!
Batten down the hatches
To keep a flat cool, make the most of the morning hours to open the windows and let in some fresh air. Before the temperature goes up, pull down the blinds to keep the sun out and the room cool. It may feel a little like living in a cave, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
On the days where you just can’t take it anymore, head for your closest shopping centre. You’ve got air conditioning, cafés and shops all in one place. Centro Comercial La Gavia, and Plaza Río 2 are my two favourites in Madrid especially for their feeding and changing facilities (salas de lactancia) so even if you’re just getting the hang of changing or feeding, you can feel comfortable in a space that’s made for you. What more could you ask for?
Check out our previous blog for some tips on how to brave August in Madrid and things to do here till the end of summer.