Kid playing with dog

Have Fun in the Sun Safely All Year Long

March 27, 2024 General /Family

The sun is essential to our daily lives.

It gives us light, warms us, helps plants grow our food, impacts our sleep patterns, and gives us Vitamin D. But it can also cause burns, make us dehydrated and even cause possible health problems that we may not see for many years.

It’s important to protect ourselves and our children from the damaging UV rays while we enjoy the sunlight and have fun outside. When possible, you should avoid outdoor activities between 10:00am and 4:00pm when the sun is the strongest.

Use Sunscreen!

Using sunscreen is important to protect our skin. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Use sunscreen with a broad-spectrum sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, but 30 SPF or higher is best. Remember to put sunscreen on 15-30 minutes before going outside and then reapply every 2 hours, or more frequently if swimming.

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Did you know?

Just because you are in the shade does not mean you can avoid using sunscreen! The sun’s UV rays still reflect off things like cement, sand, and snow, so you can still get burned. That’s right, snow! The UV rays are still there even when it is cold outside, so remember to use sunscreen on the nose, face, and ears when outside in the winter too.

Dress for the Sun

Everyone should wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, swim shirts, hats, and sunglasses. Hats should have a wide brim to protect the ears, the nose and neck. Sunglasses are not just for adults, babies and children should wear UV protective sunglasses too, they are not just cute, but very important to protect their young eyes. The sun’s UV rays can cause damage to the skin and eyes that can cause skin cancer and cataracts later in life, so it is very important to prevent the damage in childhood.

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Avoid the Burn

Sunburns are skin damage that we can see and feel right away. With a burn, if the skin is just warm and tender, treatment can be done at home by using cool compresses, pure aloe vera gel (medicated lotions are not recommended), staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and over the counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen depending on your child’s age. If your baby or child has blisters, fever, chills, headache or flu like symptoms, call their healthcare provider or go to urgent care for treatment. More severe burns require an emergency room and possible hospitalization and need to be taken very seriously, so call 911 if necessary.

Stay Hydrated!

Overheating can lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion or heat stroke, so it is very important to drink lots of fluids (water!) when outside in the sun, even if it is not extremely hot. To prevent dehydration in babies, feed them more frequently and make sure they are having wet diapers. Seek emergency medical treatment when needed.

Remember, children need to spend time outside every day for their health and development, so parents need to protect their skin and eyes so they can have lots of fun playing outside all year long.

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Side Lying Hold

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross Cradle Hold

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Football Hold

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: