Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dealing with the heat

I used to live in Texas, land of 100+ degree summers, so you'd think I'd be used to the humid heat by now.  I think everything changes when you have a baby, including your own relationship to the sun and heat.

Namely, I'm getting concerned that Cupcake is not dealing well with the summer that decided to show up full force on Memorial Day weekend.  How timely of it, right?  My poor child is only about to turn 8 months, and after living through one of the coldest and stormiest winters on record, she is probably ill prepared for the sweat and discomfors that come with summer.  What am I supposed to do?

I am also incredibly paranoid about MCAD and excessive heat.  I wouldn't even have thought the two issues were related, but then there was an online discussion on our FOD support group.  Some parents were concerned that in summer, their otherwise energetic children/toddlers struggle with low energy levels and muscle aches.  Note to self: must stop reading the FOD emails; they only worry me and feed hypochondriac tendencies I didn't even know I had.  Nevertheless, is there a relationship between MCAD and problems with excessive heat?

Our doctors never told us anything about it.  Now, that doesn't necessarily mean there's no connection, as I'm well aware that MCAD and FODs in general are a recent diagnosis and doctors are still finding out what the disorder entails.  So I need to observe my baby, and see if anything seems out of the ordinary.

She gets little sweat beads on her nose.  Do all babies do that?  My instincts say yes, but it also wasn't that hot when these sweat beads started (last week was in the low 80's).  We are also having trouble figuring out how much to cool the apartment.  She's been waking up in the mornings covered in sweat (that's bad, right?), so we're now turning on the window unit at night.  But is the air blowing directly at her?  Should we keep the house really cool and still cover her?  The other night she slept with only a onesie and her feet felt really cold in the middle of the night.  Aaaaahhhh, I hate second guessing myself, specially because the MCAD makes me paranoid about her body temperature (Also, I still prescribe by the old fashioned idea that being cold gives you a cold, and I don't want her to get sick from the AC, since she FINALLY got over her stuffy nose.  What, it's not the cold air, it's people's germs?  Shut up!  You can't convince me that sudden changes in temperature don't contribute to getting sick.)  
Why would heat exacerbate an MCAD problem?  Our doctors have explained that high body heat means more calories burned, which means less time before the body is fasting.  However, this assumption is based on fevers, when the body is actively fighting an infection, and the heat is probably an exothermic reaction to the energy already being spent.  That made much more sense in my head.  So fighting infection = calories burned, with a side effect of high temperature.   If this is all vaguely accurate, then the body being overheated from the outside (as in the sun) shouldn't affect it's internal sugar levels.  Right?

As for muscle aches or weakness.  I can't tell if Cupcake is tired because, well, the heat will tire all of us, or if she's having a harder time.  We were practicing standing while at the park, (she loves standing) and her legs felt as strong as always.  She's still not crawling, but I'm convinced that has nothing to do with muscle weakness.  Some babies just never crawl, and she looks like she might skip it altogether and start walking.  I have to keep observing her.

So, since it's gonna hit 90 today, how much water do I give her?  I want Cupcake to be hydrated, but I also don't want her belly to get full and then don't drink as much milk, which has all the nutrients and sugars that she needs in addition to being a refreshing liquid.  Do I feed her more often since she's sweating?

What about at night?  She's waking every 3.5 hours right now, and I'm exhausted.  I'm ready to try a little tough love in order to keep my sanity.  (This is a point of contention with my husband, who would happily respond to every stir and fuss, which... he's more than welcome to do, but I just don't have it in me at night.  So, do I let him deal with it on his own, or do we need to have a more unified front?)  But really, could she actually be legitimately hungry/thirsty at night because of the summer temperatures?  And if I don't nurse her all those times, am I affecting her glucose levels?

I don't really expect answers to all this, but it's so confusing to be a parent.  For everyone.  I wish she could just tell me what she needs, if she feels achy, if she's thirsty, if her neck hurts from the heat rash.  But I doubt she's even wrapped her head around the sun being the heat source, so I guess I'll have to wait on her info.


  1. We've been stressing about this with Klaw, too. I think the heat & FOD connection is mainly that ANYTHING that causes the body to work harder & burn more calories (or use more fluids, too, maybe?) puts the FOD person at risk of crisis.

    I've been trying to keep Klaw indoors during the hottest part of the day and I'm keeping fresh fruit on hand at all times. We have a little lunch cooler that I keep a bottle of water, several baggies of cut fresh fruit (usually some type of melon & orange slices for the sugars & water content). Gatorade makes G Series Prime01 which is b vitamins & carbohydrates. I'm keeping one pouch of that with me at all times. I figure I have my bases covered. We are both starting to feel a bit housebound and he wants to play.

    I realize I am probably going a touch overboard, too. ;-)

  2. OH - she really could be thirstier due to the heat. Klaw has upped his water intake. He only gets Monogen (formula) 2-3x a day now but on really hot days, he'll practically scream for a bottle over solid food.