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Babies and living in a hot, sticky climate

(21 Posts)
BeanMachine Sun 04-Oct-09 12:07:11

This is my first posting on mumsnet - it has been a great source of info so far, so hope some people can give me some reassurance now.

I live in Vietnam and had my first child (daughter) here a month ago.

What is bothering me is the hot, sticky climate and how to cope with a hot and sweaty baby during the day and get a temperate room at night. What do others do in such heat? Especially during the day, out and about? She is already in minimal clothing (but of course needs to be covered to avoid the sun), but whether it's a sling or pram she gets so hot and sweaty...

And at night - our air con could theoretically cool the room to 18 degrees, but is just not good enough and anyway, that would result in exhorbitant electricity bills!

Logic tells me that babies are born and thrive in such climates all the time, but wondering what others' thoughts on the matter were! Just tell me if I'm being a bit PFB!

Rosa Sun 04-Oct-09 12:24:59

COngratulations- It is hard I agree I live in Italy and we only have the hot and sticky and unbearable weather a few months of the year - We get to about average 88 -95% humidity and well into the 30's. WIth my dd - In pram , cotton mattress , cotton sheet , cotton vest - I used a sun shade rather than a shade a babe as I felt more air passed through.
When BF/ feeding put a cotton muslin between you and the baby to absorb sweat.
Bath together for those bonding moments !
In the cot make it as open as possible. I had a mozzie net over it as we have horrible blighters here. Put a normal cotton sheet folded over under the baby's sheet - forget towels and cot liners.
Put a fan on the floor to circulate any air there is ( make sure baby no in direct fire). we also have a dehumidifier that helps a bit . However on some nights it was all 4 of us in 1 room and A/C on just for a bit it was too much !
I was taught avoid sudden changes from hot to cold - into A/C places that can do more damage than the sweating.
Good luck and hope it cools down soon !

BeanMachine Sun 04-Oct-09 15:32:39

Thanks for that reassurance! The info re. going into highly cooled places especially makes sense - I've noticed already that my DD doesn't like it when it's suddenly colder.

Looking forward to the cooler months of December-February already (although I'll be going back to the North of Scotland for a month over Christmas/NY, so that'll be a whole new experience in terms of temperature control!).

JJsandcat Sun 04-Oct-09 17:57:46

Congrats!!! I had my LO in Singapore, very much like Vietnam. TBH, it was a pain getting her out even in the early mornings and late arvos, not to mention Dengue and Malaria.

I honestly think you should spend that extra bit and get your AC renewed or fixed. It will make your days easier and keep your furniture/clothes,etc. from rotting. Also think of how well fungi, bacteria and mould thrive in faulty aircons and you're breathing it all in.

I went for a jog with mine at 7ish AM, then spent the day mall-crwaling or inside (coffee mornings, baby cafe, etc) and the an afternoon dip in the pool or another walk, then bath, then bed in a cool quiet room.

We're relocated to a desert climate and I have ACs running all day but do go out very early morning and just before bed. We have our own pool and my LO just loves it. TBH, I don't want to freeze in Europe now smile

Your LO will get used to the heat, just do as you already do, limit sun exposure, get the AC fixed and you're set. There must be places to go where they have fans, my DD still looooves looking at fans and was mesmerized as a baby while I could enjoy my cuppa at a cafe.

gio71 Sun 04-Oct-09 20:30:04

second what everyones said. We also live in Italy and I also panicked after reading all the baby books saying to keep the baby's bedroom at a max of 18 degrees! Even with fans in summer the temperature in our bedroom was usually 30 degrees in the evening. In the end I used the same logic you mentioned to rationalise my worries as millions of babies have been bought up in that same climate and been fine! As it is at nearly 3 ds doesn't seem bothered particularly by the heat. When it was hot he slept just in a nappy. I make sure he drinks plenty of water. As Rosa said if you have ac don't make the difference too extreme between the ac temp and outside temp as that can bring on chills etc.
All my Italian relations panic the other way round when I take DS back to the UK, they are horrified at the idea he goes out of the house when it rains and I keep the fact he happily goes splashing in puddles a secret from them.....

NezLiquide Mon 05-Oct-09 04:53:03

Congrats. Like JJ I live in Singapore and had DS here. I read lots of books from the UK all telling me that DS room should be below 18 degrees or something which wasn't possible - our aircon also goes to 18 but in reality with a thermometer on DS monitor it is usually around 21-23 degrees. When DS was a bit younger (he's now nearly 14mo) we would go out only really in the morning/evening and only short trips in the daytime (to the taxi from the taxi)! But now he's a bit better but still gets very sweaty when out in the day.

I bought a pram fan and a lining for the pram that is supposed to take the sweat away. I also had a baby bjorn air carrier as this was supposed to be the coolest.

Also I didn't gave DS water until he started solids (he was ebf) because I think this is the current guidelines on feeding and DS didn't get dehydrated. Sometimes his fontanelle would look a little depressed so I just

Would ditto the advice about sudden change in temperature as some of the air con can be very fierce (she says sitting at work wearing a jacket). It took us ages to realise why DS wouldn't settle back to sleep after a feed and change in the night as his changing table was under the air-con so as soon as we took his nappy off he'd pee and then we'd have to change his sleep suit as well resulting in him getting cold and upset and me getting less and less sleep!

Oh and he's always slept in a sleepsuit and 0.5 tog grobag and never feels hot in the morning.

mangostickyrice Mon 05-Oct-09 05:54:28

We're in Thailand - the north, so a little less sticky, but still 35+ degrees at the moment. Luckily I hadn't read any advice about keeping rooms at 18 degrees, we've never had air con at all so that wouldn't have worked for us with dd

I'd say just observe people around you. Dp is local, and gave dd baths every day, sometimes twice a day from birth - it helped keep her cool. You need to keep her covered in the sun, but if you can do it with a really good parasol rather than clothes, that'll help. Here we pretty much never see babies in the middle of the day, so if you can organise yourself to go out in the early mornings and late afternoons and just stay in during the hottest times that'll help.

And your baby will let you know if it's not happy. A friend of mine, after struggling with slings for ages, realised that her hot-season baby was just too damned hot and would be much happier in a pram despite my friends' determination to be ap!

flimflammum Mon 05-Oct-09 06:23:52

I'm in Singapore too (hello Nezliquide!), and though my children were older when we moved here, I sympathise, you're not being PFB. My DCs are currently 21 months (DD) and 4 years (DS) and we don't usually go outdoors between about 11am and 4pm, certainly not in the sun. DD has got heat rash occasionally, which makes me feel guilty, but other than that doesn't seem too bothered by the heat (except that she wants to be carried rather than walk when it's hot). I have aircon on in their bedrooms at about 24-25 degrees, and DD sleeps in pajamas and a 0.5tog grobag, and seems fine with that.

I have seen some local babies here with a kind of beaded thing to sit/lie on in their pushchairs (like the things taxi-drivers often sit on) which I imagine lets the air circulate beneath them - don't know if you could find one in Vietnam.

Buda Mon 05-Oct-09 06:40:10

Where in Vietnam are you? I lived there for 6 years in HCMC - from 1995 to 2001. Left while PG with DS.

I do have friends there who have had babies there though. I lived in a serviced apartment and we never had power cuts as there was a generator - one of my friends lived in a house and there were frequent power cuts and she would come over to me as her DS just got too hot. She called our apartment the PPP - Palace of Perpetual Power!

I think all the advice you have had already is good. Not going out with baby at hottest part of day obv. They hardly need any clothes. Keeping the temp inside as consistent as poss is good but I know that is hard. Electricity bills from air con can be horrendous.

kreecherlivesupstairs Mon 05-Oct-09 08:04:05

Nothing to add to the great advice already given. Our dd was born in Oman and we moved to Bangkok when she was 2.5. I never put the a/c on for her when she was a small baby, mainly because we slept with ceiling fans. In Thailand she used a ceiling fan too. I think that children adapt much better than adults. They haven't had anything to compare the weather/seasons/temp to so don't fret IYSWIM. She had a shock when we took her to Aus for a holiday, she'd not long been toilet trained but hated the cold seats. Me or dh had to warm it up for her or it 'bit me on the buttock'.

Sakura Mon 05-Oct-09 08:23:00

I live in the very south of Japan- subtropical and very very humid. No advice, but I just want to commiserate.
We have the airconditioner on all the time, basically. I know air con isn`t nice and can actually cause colds. I hate it, but when I went through a phase where I stopped using it I was miserable. I became very lethargic, put weight etc. I think for modern living (unless you`re okay to have siestas all day) you do really need the air con.

mangostickyrice Mon 05-Oct-09 08:38:42

<looks at dd and dp busy siesta-ing>

<decides modern life is overrated>

BeanMachine Mon 05-Oct-09 10:51:20

Thanks, everyone. Useful advice and sympathy!

Sounds like I just need to accept that I shouldn't go rushing around in the midday heat any more and will just try to go with the flow smile. Also sounds like it might be useful to try and track down some pram accessories (e.g. parasol and fan). Singapore-people: any recommendations for good baby shops? DP heads there quite a bit for work and we're all hoping to get there soon for "a break" [been stuck in this city since early June and need out!].

Buda: I'm in HCMC. We're also in a place with very rare (once in 2.5 years so far) power outages, so that's good.

It's funny, before this we lived in Moscow, so in winter we'd have had the opposite problem: the last winter we were there it reached 30 below...

Buda Mon 05-Oct-09 10:57:49

Hi BeanMachine!

Did you actually have your baby in HCMC? Wow. It has come on! None of the expats had their babies there when we lived there.

We lived on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai - Somerset Chancellor Court?

Are you in touch with other mums there? I still have a good friend there. I really miss it and am dying to go back for a visit. Hope to next year. Was last there in 2002 when DS was around 8 months old.

I miss the shopping and the food and the fruit and veg.

We are in Budapest now. Could have moved to Moscow but I never really fancied it. Had some friends who moved from VN to Moscow and lasted around 6 months before heading back to Asia.

mangostickyrice Mon 05-Oct-09 11:07:44

Not one of the Singapore peeps, but I got dd's Ergo shipped from here and the service was good

NezLiquide Tue 06-Oct-09 05:50:12

Bean there are several Mothercare stores in Singapore for most things you need - the largest is at Harbourfront. Mother's Work is also ok (Tanglin Mall and Great World City) but expensive (as is Mothercare here but most things are!). If you let us know what you're looking for then can help.

Mango I also got DS's ergo from there and was impressed with the service.

We're thinking of taking DS to Vietnam in early January so might need some advice then!

BeanMachine Tue 06-Oct-09 06:25:46

Thanks Mango and Nez for the shopping advice. And, of course, if you need Vietnam advice, Nez, I'd be happy to help.

Buda: we stayed in Somerset CC for the first 2 weeks we lived here! We're out in Saigon South now - probably a part of town you'd not even recognise if you've not been here for 7 years. Among other things, there's a big international [French-run] hospital - so it's possible to stay here and have babies now!

There is a pretty good network of mums here, but need to get to know them, as all my current group of friends are child-less!

BudaBones Tue 06-Oct-09 08:02:32

How funny BeanMachine! We lived in Apt 808! Wonder if it is all still the same? Is The Salon still there? And Ciao Cafe? Their Nasi Goreng was my regular hangover cure! Oh I want to go back!!!!!!!

Saigon South???? Eeh by gum there were no such thing when I were a lass. People mainly lived in town or out in An Phu. I have two good friends still there but neither have babies now - all school age. And another friend has a teenager.

Have you tracked down a baby group? They tend to be very social. And is ILV still going (International Ladies of Vietnam)? Another good way to meet people. How long have you been there?

BeanMachine Wed 07-Oct-09 09:54:55

Buda: Somerset still the same (I had students there until recently), and the Salon. Ciao Cafe is now Highlands Coffee...

An Phu is still a big expat area (mostly Westerners), but Saigon South is hot on its heels - mostly Asian expats and rich Vietnamese though. You'd not recognise it as Vietnam: wide roads, pavements, park areas etc. You can actually push a pram around in relative safety!

We've been here nearly 3 years. I did join ILV at first, but then got a job, so didn't have time for that. It's fun here, although I do feel the need to escape for a bit as I've been stuck in the city since early June...

BudaBones Wed 07-Oct-09 11:27:29

Wow at the pavements! I know most of my friends who had babies when we were there missed being able to push a pram around.

I totally understand needing to escape. I used to feel like that too. Lots of trips to Bangkok and Singapore for civilisation.

Chandon Sat 24-Oct-09 10:50:14

I have lived in a hot country with no airco.

I found those simple fans (ceiling fans or standing ones that rotate) make a HUGE difference. Much better than airco, as it allows you body to adapt to the temperature. As your baby was born there, she´ll adapt and will suffer less than you.

I used to put a thick towel in the buggy for her to sit on (not as sweaty as the synthetic liner it comes with) and just make sure they drink enough.

Also, sprinkle her with cool talcum powder after a bath.

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