Everything you need to know about breastfeeding in a heatwave.

Breastfeeding is thirsty work at the best of times, let alone during a heatwave.

As temperatures in parts of Australia climb above 40C, experts say more feeds may be required in hot weather.

“What we suggest is breastfeeding to need,” says Vanessa Campbell from the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA).

“So just like mum will reach for a drink bottle frequently over the course of a hot day, babies are likely to breastfeed a bit more often on a hot day as well.

“There’s nothing wrong with a quick top up and increasing fluids on a hot day,” she added.

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The trained breastfeeding counsellor said there was no need for new mothers to give exclusively breastfed babies any water.

“For babies under six months that are exclusively breastfed and are feeding on demand there is no need to offer anything additional.  All the hydration and, all the fluid they need will be in the breast milk they’re getting,” she said.

The mother of two said it was a good idea for mothers to monitor their infant’s urine output and watch if the amount drops or the colour becomes more concentrated.

breastfeeding her newborn
Babies "should be watched carefully during hot weather". Image via iStock.

"The best and the quickest indicator [of dehydration] is urine output.  What goes in has to come out, so if babies are dehydrated the output will reduce or won’t be there.

"If babies are making the signs that they’re thirsty and asking for a breastfeed we do suggest on hot days just feed for comfort and keep babies in light cool clothing and monitor what’s coming out the other end," she said.


The Women's Royal Hospital also say breastfed babies may need extra feeds during hot weather.

"Breastfeeding mums don't need to give very young babies extra water during a heatwave as the breast milk provides their babies with all they need, although mums should make sure they drink plenty of fluid," says a statement on their website.

The hospital says it's best to avoid taking babies or young children outside in extreme temperatures.

For more information visit the hospital's heatwave precautions statement here.

For more information from the ABA visit here.

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