Planting Flowers and the Rhythm of Grief

575640_10152843706565531_1400055617_nOn September 20,2012 I posted this about our dear friends in Ontario who were facing the diagnosis of leukemia for their precious Emma Grace.

Yesterday, May 20,2013, Emma received complete and total healing as she flew straight into the arms of Jesus.

My earthly, motherly heart cannot comprehend the depths of despair that her mom is feeling.

My soul bursts with grief and mourning for this family.

In my present condition~human,fleshly, selfish and needy~all that I know is I have all 4 of my children here with me but my friend is feeling the ache of empty arms for not one, but now two precious daughters.  I weep.

It was 16 years ago that we first found out that Michelle was carrying another precious bundle after only a few months earlier experiencing the devastating premature delivery of Claire. I sat in that mournful sanctuary on that day in October 1996 and saw that tiny casket and wondered how God could possibly redeem this.  And yet, He did. Were it not for that horrible loss, Emma would not have been conceived under impossible circumstances.

I visited Michelle in hospital that summer. Bed rest for months while summer heat and life continued outside those walls. We laughed as she shifted in her bed, unable to get up at all for fear of losing this precious life. There were a few times when it seemed like maybe the odds were stacked against her. We prayed. We hoped. We rallied around this young family. And when the first anniversary passed of baby Claire’s passing and the due date drew near, there was that tension of grief and anticipation. How does a mother both mourn the loss of one baby and rejoice at the life within her? A sacrifice of one for another? I was a young mother too and I always marveled at her ability to remain steadfast in grace and hope and the victory of each day. Perhaps that is why, on October 17, 1997 when that baby screamed out her first cries it was the only word that seemed remotely appropriate: Grace.  And so they named her….Emma Grace.

Borrowed from Heaven. Not fair. Not fair at all. Rage and grief. Anger and suffering. Pain and weeping. Why does God only give us a taste and not the whole meal? Why?

Questions.

So few answers.

Thankful for this family to have had 15 and a half years of Grace. But so sad that there aren’t 15 more yet to come.

Today I’m planting flowers. It’s time. It’s warm and I have these empty beds that need to be filled.

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And in 3 months all we will have will be the leftovers of what was. We plant knowing that death will come. We make beauty in the moment knowing that it is temporary. It is this temporary season that brings us eternal joy. We give colour and life and beauty to THIS day knowing that hail, storms, pests, drought could wipe it all out in the blink of an eye. We plant in hope. We plant for  a season. We know that winter will come again and steal it all away.

And yet, I love to feel the earth and let God use me to bring a little beauty to my neighbourhood for such a short time.

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That is what the Stewarts have done. They have allowed God to use them to show us some beauty for a little while. They partnered with the Heavenly Gardner to sow a seed that became a flower that grew and then wilted and fell back into the earth.

We grieve. We mourn. We plant. We water. We cry. We pray. We hope. We live. We wilt and then we die. And so for today…let us live and be beautiful wherever we are planted.

This is the rhythm of sowing and reaping. This is the song of grief and mourning.

Zach died yesterday too. He is teaching a lot of people about living in this moment.

Follow up post: What to Say when Someone Dies…

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Mother’s Day Mash-Up

I wrote a long post about Mother’s Day and then I deleted it. I don’t need to write a post about Mother’s Day. There are so many GREAT posts out there. So I’m going to share. I hope you will take the time to read all or some of these. Especially if you are in church ministry or in charge of any type of Mother’s Day planning~these are must read.

The important thing to remember is this: Mom’s don’t want fancy earrings and huge bouquets. We don’t want our family in debt for one day. We want happy, healthy loving families around us. We want to laugh and share and eat and nap. We love those handprint cards and the homemade coupons. We get excited for burnt toast in bed and sticky fingers on our Sunday dresses. We love to see our children thrive and live and love. That’s all we really want for Mother’s Day. That’s all I want for all my friends.

And to those of my family and friends whose mom is gone~I mourn with you. I share your tears. I miss your moms too.

To those of my friends and family who cannot or have not yet had children, I thank you for the sacrifice that you made in order to mother and mentor me and my children. It has not gone unnoticed and I love you for it.

To all of you for whom Mother’s Day is a sad and lonely time, I send my love and warm hugs to you …..read this:

http://www.emilywierenga.com/2013/05/imperfect-prose-on-thursdays-mother.html

image credit: Emily Wierenga

And then this from Ann Voskamp:

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/05/so-god-made-a-mother-when-the-giving-tree-is-really-the-giving-mother/

image credit: Ann Voskamp

And then this amazing post from messymiddle.wordpress.com :

http://messymiddle.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/an-open-letter-to-pastors-a-non-mom-speaks-about-mothers-day/

image credit: MessyMiddle.Wordpress.com

Happy Mother’s Day~we all came from a mother and that makes me happy to celebrate all of us.

Mennonite Girls Can Cook- Celebrations { A Book Review}

This book could not have landed in my mailbox on a better week than this! Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I can almost guarantee that this is THE go-to gift this year. Let me tell you why.

First of all, I’m going to change up how I review books. I would like to break my posts into three sections:

The Bones(the physical appearance and structure of the book)

The Flesh( the content and meaty portions)

The Soul( this is the part where I give you my honest opinion)

The Bones:

I have never owned a MGCC book before so I wasn’t sure what all the fuss is about. After all, they have a website(it’s fabulous) and who really needs another cookbook in their collection?  Well, this is somewhat different than a cookbook. It is about 8 1/2 ” wide by 10 1/4″ tall. It is a hardcover and the photography on the cover is absolutely stunning. The inside is equally as beautiful: full colour photos, 2 page layouts, step by step instructions all meticulously chosen for their inviting warmth.

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I love how this is a book about celebrating ALL of the seasons of life. Whether it is a Christmas family dinner or camping around a fire, there are recipes and ideas for how to make each occasion simple yet special. But I digress:

Broken into “Celebratory” sections like  Celebrating Birth, Family, Community, Hospitality, Milestones and more, there are recipes for every occasion.

The final sections of the book focus on Gluten-Free Cooking, Hosting tips and a thorough index.  There is even a nice little biography about each of the contributors in the MGCC group.

Each recipe is very clear and easy to follow and the book opens nicely to allow you to read while you work. Photos are so important to me and this book has TONS!

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The Flesh:

I touched on this above a bit, but the recipes are definitely the star of the show in this book. And you may wonder who really needs another cookbook? The way this book is broken into life celebrations really adds to the value for me. Who of us doesn’t have a community picnic, potluck, anniversary, holiday or gathering to plan something for? The recipes are so easy to follow and use ingredients you already have on hand or can access easily. This is a major plus for me!

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The added bonus in this book is that each section begins with a memory, an essay, an encouragement from one of the authors. Gentle reminders of how gathering around a table is so important in every family and also how we pass these simple traditions on to our children and grandchildren.

The photos are inspiring enough to make this a coffee table book ready to browse, filled with stunning photography and inspiring messages.

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I particularly love the personal touches each author adds to her recipes.

You will find recipes from Taco in a Bag for the hiking trail to Chocolate Sheet Cake to Gluten Free Baked Rice Pudding. This book has it all!

The Soul:

With online sources like Pinterest and All Recipes it might be easy to ignore another cookbook on the shelf that may or may not ever get used. I certainly feel that way about my recipe book cover.  But this book will make you put down your smartphone or tablet, walk away from your computer and sit with a solid, beautiful book in your hands and be inspired. It truly is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen in the ‘cookbook’ category.  Useful for empty-nesters and new brides-to-be, oozing with encouragement and wisdom and inspiring enough to make even the most timid cook want to try something new. Soul-full with just the right amount of faith-induced messages of comfort and hope for your journey, whatever that may be.

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And if that isn’t enough of a reason to buy this book, the royalties from the sale of this book will go to provide safe,clean drinking water in Africa.  These women embody what it means to give and be hospitable, celebrating all things around the table!

You might still have time to order one from Amazon and have it arrive for Mother’s Day. The price is worth it~you won’t be disappointed! (hint, hint, family reading this) .

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“Book has been provided courtesy of MennoMedia and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Herald Press, a publishing imprint of MennoMedia”.

Once Upon A Time I Had Babies

Babies,babies, babies!!! Listen people, I’m past the point of no return when it comes to having babies but oh my, all of these people having babies are making me nostalgic for my sweet little bundles.

I willingly admit, I am a lover of babies. I love their smell. I love how their heavy heads fall over the crook of my arm when they’re passed out from breast milk overdose. I love how they giggle and coo and I love that you can hold them and they can’t run away! OH give me a baby to hold!
Nieces and nephews and friends and all manner of people are having babies!
My last baby~she had a rough start. My nursing time was spent watching too many monitors.

My last baby~she had a rough start. My nursing time was spent watching too many monitors.

I was thinking a while ago about starting a mommy and baby blog and it’s something I’m considering again. Not because I’m a know it all but because there are a lot of moms who aren’t learning to trust their most precious resource: their instinct.  Your mommy-gut is your best friend and you should always trust it.  I read a quote earlier today that said,

” Doubt your doubts before you doubt yourself.”

This should be the mantra for all new moms! We are so hard on ourselves! We doubt the questions and the worries but we never should. We are moms and we know our babies better than any nurse or doctor or well-meaning friend.

 

I had 4 babies, all by c-section. I didn’t sleep through the night for 7 years. I nursed, bottle fed, gave pablum at 10 days to one , made my own formula for one, couldn’t stop nursing one, suffered mastitis, post-op infections, a baby in NICU and a few other common new-mom crises. Yep, I think I’ve earned some stripes of honor….or maybe that’s what all those stretch marks are for.  Whatever the case, I’ve seen it, done it , been there.  So what would a mommy and baby blog look like? You tell me. What are your questions and concerns. What are those things you wish someone would have told you? (We all have a truck load of those, don’t we?)   I’m also thinking of inviting some guest posts from current moms in the thick of it. Let’s face it, times have changed and I may be a little rusty on what’s acceptable(whatever) and what the current issues are. And I know I have forgotten how tired “MOM-tired” is.  No one knows Mom-Tired until they’ve been a mom.

No glamorous shots for this mom~meeting my firstborn for the first time more than 2 hours after he was born. Surreal. And oh, so young.

No glamorous shots for this mom~meeting my firstborn for the first time more than 2 hours after he was born. Surreal. And oh, so young.

Mommies unite! Sign up! 6 weeks of mommy-baby blogs coming up!

Help for that Cold or Flu {Home remedies and common sense}

Good grief you all are a bunch of sickies! I mean really! The flu season is early and it is brutal.

For the past 3 years we have managed to avoid the really nasty flu that levels a person for a three or more days. We’ve had a few minor colds and sinus infections and there have been coughs and some minor fevers but for the most part, we have been pretty healthy in spite of working and going to school with people who are clearly not well.

After 20 years of mothering four kids through school, church activities, sports, brutally cold winters and running my own dayhome, I have figured out a few tricks to combat illness.  You’ve probably heard of many of them but some may surprise you. I’m not a doctor or a health professional; I’m a mom. And this is common sense and few of “Grandma’s” remedies thrown in.

1. Don’t sanitize everything!  I do not clean my house like a crazy lady with OCD. Sorry, but germs are everywhere and I’m not going to kill myself trying to purge the house of every form of bacteria. In fact, I am almost exclusively opposed to the use of disinfecting wipes and anti-bacterial hand cleaners and soaps. They are actually making the transmission of germs worse(in my opinion).  Have you noticed how kids and families are getting sicker and for a longer period of time? I blame the over-sanitization of everything around us. Our immune systems simply cannot fight every little germ that comes along if we have been kept from building immunity to them. Now, I’m not suggesting you don’t clean up after a sick person or do preventative measures if you have a revolving door of little ones in your house…but temper that with common sense. Remember, some of us grew up eating dirt, dog food and the occasional helping of yellow snow. There was a time when “getting dirty” was considered healthy.

2. I use onions. A lot. Even if you don’t like onions, buy some. They’re cheap like borscht! There is much information on the internet which you can research but this is what I do: cut an onion, leave half on the kitchen counter at all times. Leave half or quarter onions on a glass plate or in a glass tumbler by the bedside of anyone who may be getting sick. Do this early~don’t wait till someone is so congested and feverish that they’re in it for the long haul. Change your onions out every 2-3 days during flu season. Yes, there is a bit of an odour at first but the onions do absorb bacteria and germs preventing them from being absorbed into your respiratory system. Also, boil some onions and inhale the steam for sinus infections. Drink onion broth when you have a cold and you can even try putting vicks on the bottom of your feet, add some slices of onion and put socks on to relieve sinus congestion.

3.Lemons/Honey:  My GO-TO remedy for coughs, colds and congestion is hot water with lemon juice and honey. I will swear by this till my dying day. Don’t just drink one cup, drink multiple~all day every day when you feel a cold coming on or even to prevent it. Lemons kill the bacteria in your respiratory system and honey is a natural healer and anti-inflammatory. Use raw honey if you can get it. Make it stronger if you are very congested or if you have a sore throat.

4. Cayenne pepper~ I don’t like really spicy foods and I certainly don’t like “hot” drinks but cayenne pepper is one of THE best remedies for congestion. Sprinkle a little into your lemon/honey drink. You will be amazed how quickly you feel better.

5. For sore throats and persistent hacking coughs, try this: (as seen on Pinterest) :¼ teaspoon Cayenne, ¼ teaspoon Ginger, 1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar (organic, like Bragg’s is preferred), 2 Tablespoon Water, 1 Tablespoon Honey (locally produced raw honey if possible.) Dissolve cayenne and ginger in cider vinegar and water. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough.  Note: this doesn’t dissolve perfectly. Always shake well before using.

6. Fever. You know, a fever is not a bad thing. And sometimes making a person comfortable with rest and fluids and a cool cloth is a much better method than masking the fever with Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen .  Fever is the body’s way of killing off infection.  It’s a burning process and if you medicate the fever away, you’ve taken away the process of cleansing the body of those nasty infections critters~which may just tick them off and make them come back with a vengeance  Check out this article on fevers in children~enlightening! Fever Benefits 

7.Cinnamon/Honey

8. Vicks vapour rub or some other comparable product.  Do not ignore what generations before us have learned: the use of menthol and eucalyptus rubbed on chests, throats, backs and feet for congestion, coughing and upper respiratory infections like bronchitis and strep throat.  Wrap the area with cotton or wool to keep the heat in and help it penetrate. Rubbing vicks on your feet and wearing socks to bed helps to relieve congestion as you sleep and is also a really great way to help little kids out without fear of them getting their hands into in and then rubbing eyes. OUCH!  And moms,here’s a trick: Vicks is pretty strong for babies and toddlers. If you want to *dilute* it a bit, mix it 50/50 (or less) with petroleum jelly OR a lanolin based scent-free lotion. Way cheaper and more effective than buying “baby safe” products.

9. Mustard Plaster~oh, I have bad memories of these. Nasty,foul smelling and burning hot. HOWEVER, they work! There are precautions though. If you are using one on a child, be aware of how hot it gets. Check it often and and protect skin with a layer or two of cotton. (something that you will throw out like an old sheet or pillow case works best).  Don’t know what a mustard plaster is? You obviously didn’t have my mother as your bedside nurse~we endured them with every illness. Works best for chest congestions like pneumonia or bronchitis.  Simply, a mustard plaster is a paste made with flour and no…NOT hot dog mustard! Dry powdered mustard. “Since mustard seed is a stimulant it will warm the circulatory system. This can result in dilated blood vessels, plus a warmed system can help burn and metabolize fat in the body. As a warming herb, mustard seed will encourage perspiration that can lower fevers and cleanse the body of toxins. This will help the body fight colds and flu.”

Click on this link for more info but here’s the basics:

A mustard plaster is made by using 4 tablespoons of flour, 2 tablespoons dry mustard, and lukewarm water. A paste is made that is easily spread but not too watery.

The most effective way to apply any poultice is to use 100 percent flannel and spread the mixture over on half of the flannel and fold the other half to make a package. Apply the poultice to the chest, cover with a heavy blanket to encourage sweating. Do not apply the mustard plaster directly to the skin as it will burn.

The mustard plaster should be left on for up to 20 minutes. If the skin turns red remove the plaster immediately.

10. Fluids. You’ve heard it, but do you do it? Clear fluids when you’re sick. No milk, no chocolate milk, (actually, dairy products are just bad when you have a cold or respiratory infection as they promote bacteria and mucous).  Hot herbal teas, clear juice(but really, keep it to a minimum on the sugary drinks), chicken soup broth(more coming on that), hot water with lemon and honey.  And water. WATER. Room temperature water is sometimes easier to ingest for kids and even when you’re feeling really poorly. The shock of cold water can chill a feverish body.

11. Cook a chicken. You know those cheaper utility chickens in the frozen food section that you often ignore? Well, when they’re cheap, buy a few. It’s very easy to make homemade chicken soup and it’s so healing and therapeutic(this is also great for new moms who are healing and nursing).   Boil your chicken in a large pot for a couple hours. You’ll need to keep adding water as it boils down. Add an entire chopped onion.  In the last 45 minutes you can add some grated carrots and  diced celery. Then add about a dozen whole peppercorns(you won’t be eating these but they’re great for flavour), sea salt(to taste), 1 whole Star of Anise(found in your whole foods/bulk/spice section), 1 bay leaf.

Boil and then simmer for 1/2 hour. Serve over cooked egg noodles or simply drink the broth. So good and it really does contribute to a faster recovery. Grandma was right!

12. Vapourizer. Every home should have at least one. When you feel that scratchy feeling in your throat, it’s time to humidify. If you don’t have one, put a pot of water on your stove to simmer. You’ll know your house is getting steamy when you can’t see out your windows! This is very important during the dry winter months. A dry throat is a hot-bed for new germs and bacteria to collect.

13.Rest. I know this shouldn’t even be a necessary point but most people don’t take enough time to rest and recover. If your kids are sick, they need to sleep, lay down, and NOT go to school or sports. That perpetuates the cycle of infection and is the number 1 reason why so many young families get hammered with illness.

ooops….almost forgot!! Ventilation! This is a biggie. If you live in a house with sealed doors and windows in the winter , you are essentially living in a microbe-infested petri dish. Ick. Open windows. Go out for a walk. Get fresh air. This is essential every day no matter how sick you are. Stale air will be the reason you get sick(likely) and the reason you stay sick. That’s why so many people get sick when it’s super cold and over the holidays~hanging around in houses with poor ventilation and then not getting enough fresh air once they’re sick to clear the lungs and cobwebs out of their system.

Finally, this is not an exhaustive list. I’m sure you all have other ideas. The most important thing to remember is that a cold and flu are NOT reasons to go the ER or your doctors’ offices unless a temperature over 103*F lasts longer than 24 hours in children or longer than 48 hours for adults. That can indicate a bacterial infection which must be treated.

Common sense dictates that when your body is run down, you are more susceptible to infections so slow down, take it easy, get enough sleep at night and don’t be the hero who has to be involved in every committee and every activity. It’s okay to say no.

I hope everyone stays healthy! This is a bad year for flus so stay strong and fight smart!

A Prayer for Our Teens Writing Finals

I have slightly edited this post from last June where I’m praying for my kids writing finals~it’s all I can do to help them now.

I have  two teens writing finals this week; one who is writing her semester 1 finals for grade 12~she’s nearly done. And I know how completely overwhelming studying,cramming, and writing can be. And so……my mother’s heart is praying for my kids and all of their peers who are writing too.

Dear Lord,

You have given wisdom to those who seek knowledge and you have blessed us with strong, healthy minds that hunger to learn.  Bless my children this day, and this week, as they see the fruits of their labours culminate in the writing of exams that are designed to test their knowledge.

I pray that you would guide them to study those areas most important.  Help them to discern wisely what time they spend on each subject and when it is necessary to put the books away and just rest.

I pray that as they sit at their desks, with pencil in hand, that you would give them pause to breathe, to concentrate and to recall all that they have learned.

Help them to not be flustered or panicked.  Give them sharp minds and clear focus.  Sharpen their memories and give them the right words to lay out on that paper to answer the questions before them.

I pray that you would bless the work of their minds over this past year and that all of their late nights, long projects, boring reading and difficult questioning would not be in vain but that you would multiply what they already know into good marks for solid effort.

Give them peace about finishing and handing in their completed exams , knowing that they did what they were asked to the best of their abilities.  And help them to shake off any concerns or worry so they can focus on the next.

And Lord, bless their summers, that they would be renewed in mind and body and challenged for the next years’ work.

And bless all those who are graduating and writing for the last time.  I pray that they would be filled with humility at all that they have learned and understand that this has been the groundwork laid for what is to come but not the end-all and be-all of their lives.  Bless all that they do~that they would use their gifts, talents and knowledge to bring Glory to Your name and no other.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Babies and Heat {A public service announcement}

I was a new mother once. I was a rookie. I am still a rookie when it comes to teens and growing up. Mothering is a job you never actually perfect but you sure learn a lot.  It is an education of decades. I wish I had known some things earlier instead of finding out the hard way.  But we’ve all survived somewhat unscathed ( I think). 

I have 4 kids. Which means I had 4 babies.  2 of my babies were summer babies: one born in the spring so she was small through a very hot summer and one born in the dead heat of August.   I love summer babies. You don’t have to bundle them up in snowsuits and piles of blankets on top of their tiny bodies.  Laying on picnic blankets in shady parks and lazy on sofas with diaper shirts and thin blankets is so much easier than cold toes and noses.

But lately I’ve been seeing some mommies who are rookies making mistakes that might have disastrous consequences.  It’s one thing to fumble your way through diaper changes and bottle feedings but it’s completely heart-wrenching to ignorantly or stupidly over-expose a baby to the elements. 

I’ve been at the beach and in malls, in restaurants and parking lots and I see parents doing things that are downright dangerous for their wee babies.  It’s scary and it’s almost criminal.  But what to do? Do you over-step and say something?  Sometimes.  Other times I wish I had but I chickened out. That was a mistake on my part. So, I will use this platform to share some things that I have learned in caring for babies over many, many years.  I hope it helps anyone out there who might not know or may have been ill-informed.

First of all, I am not a doctor or nurse. I’m a mom. And I speak from my experience not from text books or studies. If that bothers you, stop reading now. Also, I always suggest you confirm with a doctor, health nurse, your own mom , someone you trust  if you have questions.  And above all moms, trust your instincts but be willing to let others help you out too when your instincts might be clouded by lack of sleep. 😉

1. Babies at the beach-  I rarely took mine but if I did, they were in the shade if they were under 6 months.  The beach is not really a baby’s friend.  Loud noises, people running and potentially not looking out for tiny people and sand and mosquitoes can really be bad too.  If you insist on going to the beach with your baby, take her in a stroller with a mosquito net, have an umbrella for extra shade and if possible , sit in a shaded treed area. Direct sun is not good for babies especially by water and for long periods of time. Make sure the stroller gets ventilation. Babies can overheat quickly. They don’t need flannel sleepers and blankets piled on them. If you’re comfortable, your baby only needs one more layer than you to be comfortable( I will repeat this often).

2. Babies in vehicles~ I sure wish I didn’t need to say anything about this but I have already seen parents leave babies in cars in 35*C heat this summer. Try this: sit in your car with the windows cracked an inch. Turn off the engine. No A/C running. Watch the clock and record how you feel after 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes.(if you even get that far). I can’t get past 5 minutes. Imagine a helpless baby, with no ability to get airflow, hydration or the ability to move away from the heat. Do this on a day when the temp is only 23* and you will still be shocked at how fast it gets hot in a vehicle. If you are not willing to do this experiment yourself then you should NEVER EVER consider leaving a baby/child in a non-airconditioned vehicle on a warm/hot day. EVER. This is Stupidity run amuck.  Remember, if you are uncomfortable, your baby will be too.

3. Babies in air-conditioned stores:  This is kind of the opposite but applies to hot weather.  If you have a small baby; I’m talking under 6 months old, and you go into an air conditioned grocery store on a hot summer day, chances are they will have the temp quite cool to keep produce fresh and crisp.  Very often, parents forget that a small baby doesn’t have the ability to quickly adjust from one extreme to another and they aren’t prepared with a blanket or something covering baby.  Do not assume that because your baby is comfy in her carseat with just a onesie on in the vehicle or outside that she will be equally comfortable in a very cool store. Take a small blanket to cover her legs  at the very least. Crying babies are uncomfortable babies and I hear a lot of them in stores in the summer time. Pay attention.

4. Babies in un-airconditioned houses/buildings~ When I had my 3rd baby in August of 1998, it was over 30*C every day. We lived in a townhouse that was quite old and had no A/C. The two kids bedrooms on the south side of the building were always hot. We used fans and whatever measures to keep the air flowing but it was too hot. Bringing a baby home, trying to get rest, be hydrated enough to nurse and keep baby’s temp normal was challenging.  We had to move to the basement or the main floor.  Babies are like us; they need airflow. They need a cool breeze. They need a room temperature around 21 or 22*C to be perfectly comfy in a sleeper and swaddled. Remember, babies like to be swaddled and cozy so when the temperature goes up, you have to figure out what adjustments need to be made. Instead of a sleeper, maybe a onesie. Instead of a thick receiving blanket, maybe a thin one.  Instead of upstairs sleeping , maybe downstairs or move in with a family member with A/C for a while.  Babies who are overheated are lethargic and lazy. They may not nurse as well which means they’re less likely to stay hydrated and able to cool themselves down by sweating. If your baby is sweating, he’s hot. If he is flushed and red, he’s hot.  If he has heat rash…..

Think of it this way: in the winter when it’s cold out, most of us turn up our furnace thermostat to about 23-24* in our houses.  That is a comfortable room temperature.  We would never think of turning our furnace on so that it heated our houses to 35 or 40* in the winter! That would be crazy. We would be so hot and uncomfortable. And yet, people will endure it in the summer, not use A/C because of fears about the air being too cool for a baby. But it makes no sense. If 35* is too hot for you or your baby to be comfortable in the winter , then it’s certainly going to be uncomfortable in the summer.

Babies who are overheated have died of heat exhaustion and SIDS. Babies who are well ventilated, comfortable like mom and dad( remember , I said I would repeat that)  eat well, sleep well and respond well.  Moms and dads who are comfortable and not overheated also sleep better and are much more able to provide the care their newborns need. 

It breaks my heart to see babies on beaches crying and sweating.  I cringe at tiny newborns in carseats with barely any clothes on in very cold air conditioned stores.  I get frustrated with parents who sit in closed up houses, without a breeze, fans, or air conditioning working while their babies helplessly suffer in the heat. 

Parents, if you’re comfortable, your babies will be comfortable. Trust me. I’ve been there.

Some tips on dressing baby for hot weather: http://www.parents.com/baby/care/newborn/making-baby-comfortable-in-summer-heat/

And a few other tips about keeping your baby cool: http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=305&id=1605

And one more: 10 Ways to Keep your Newborn Cool