Baby It’s Cold Outside: Top Tips for Using Slings in Cold and Wet Weather

How should I dress my baby when we go out in the cold? Do they need a snowsuit if they’re in a baby carrier? And what do I do if starts raining while they’re in the sling?

All very common questions. Here are our top tips for babywearing in the colder months.

HOW MANY LAYERS?

As a rough rule of thumb when babywearing, you count as one layer of clothing for your baby, and your sling counts as at least another. If you walk into a warm shop, house or cafe, that’s like putting a third layer on them. Always bear this in mind when dressing yourself and your baby.  In our experience, parents here in the UK are often more likely to over than under-dress their babies in cold weather, whether in slings or buggies.

Unless it’s bitterly cold outside,  ideally keep newborn babies in ‘indoor’ clothing, adding a warm hat or elephant hood and booties if needed, plus a coat, cardigan or suitable hoodie over both of you. This will reduce the risk of baby overheating. (Always ensure there is no fabric covering your baby’s face.)

how many layers to put on baby in cold weather

When you head indoors you can easily undo your coat to help prevent them – and you- from overheating. Keeping baby close to your body, without bulky fabric between you, will make you more aware of how warm or cool they are.

Warm but lightweight all-in-one cotton and fleece suits come in very handy for babywearing, especially if you don’t want to wear a coat yourself.  Opt for lightweight options that provide warmth without bulk, and put them on over 1 or 2 layers of your baby’s regular cotton clothing.  If a suit covers the feet then it’s a good idea to size up, so that there’s no additional pressure on your baby’s feet when they tuck their legs up. Or go for something footless (or with optional feet) like these fantastic all-in-one suits from Loud +Proud, matched with these brilliant babywearing booties from Mamalila.

AVOID SNOWSUITS WHERE POSSIBLE

Snowsuits and thick, padded pram suits are best avoided when babywearing. The big puffy garment makes it hard to tell how warm your baby is and they’re more likely to overheat. Remember it’s harder to get your sling or carrier fitting accurately, tightly and safely around a baby who is wearing a big puffy suit.

This is especially critical with very young babies: if the sling is not snug and safe then the baby’s posture and airways may not be adequately supported and protected. As per advice relating to car seats – slings need to fit snugly around your baby’s body, not their clothing. For a comfortable fit, slings need to hug the contours of your body too – another good reason to wear young babies inside your outdoor clothing.

However, if you’re wearing a bigger baby or toddler, especially if they’re alternating between splashing in muddy puddles and being carried, wearing them over your coat might be a more sensible solution. You’ll keep each other warm so you’re unlikely to need arctic wear, but woollen jumpers and thin coats (think layers, not bulk) for you both, if you’re off to a muddy park, may be a good idea.

INVEST IN A BABYWEARING COAT

You can buy special babywearing coats with inserts to accommodate your baby, like our fabulous jackets and coats from Mamalila and  Wombat & Co. London. There are lightweight all-year options like the much-loved Mamalila Softshell Jacket, the teddy-fleece line Mamalila Winter Jacket, through to the snuggly,winter-weight Wallaby Babywearing Coat and many more styles in between. 

And not to leave Dad out, we also have the parka-style Bandicoot Babywearing Coat, Mamalila Softshell Jacket for men and lots more babywearing coats and jackets.

PROTECT THOSE EXTREMITIES

A pair of leg warmers, leggings or tights will stop little legs getting too chilly. Check out our favourites from Hoppediz and Blade & Rose. Remember to pop a hat, snood or hood onto your baby, as this is likely to be the most exposed part of their body. And to keep little pre-walking feet warm, we cannot rave enough about these waterproof, windproof quilted booties from Mamalila. We’ve been searching for year for sling-friendly booties that actually stay on – and these really do the job!

OPT FOR LIGHTWEIGHT SLINGS

Choose a lightweight sling to wear under your coat. You don’t need a special warm ‘winter’ sling or carrier. In fact, if you’re going to be wearing a heavy coat and a rucksack, as well as a baby or toddler, you might want to reach for a lightweight carrier like an Izmi Baby Carrier or Integra Baby Carrier.

BRILLIANT BABY CARRIER COVERS

In wet months – that’s August to May in the UK! – carry a lightweight babywearing cover or umbrella, along with a hat for baby.

Baby carrier covers like the  Bundlebean Fleece-lined Cover and super lightweight Bundlebean Babywearing Raincover are a brilliant keep-in-your-bag options. These waterproof baby carrier covers come in so handy throughout the year. The ZipUsIn universal coat extension panel is a really nifty alternative too, fitting both mens and womens coats.

A giant transparent umbrella can also be brilliant to keep you both dry AND stop you from bumping into people on the pavement!

So: stay dry, stay cool, think LAYERS. Here’s more advice on babywearing safety. 

Updated November 2020.

Hannah Wallace
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11 Comments

  1. Sonya on November 3, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Hannah. What would you recommend baby wears in winter if worn over the parents coat but underneath a cover, such as the Bundlebean?

    • Hannah Wallace on November 3, 2020 at 1:50 pm

      Hi Sonia. If its a thick fleece lined Bundlebean then most of the time they’ll be fine in their normal clothes, plus a hat. In winter – and/or if you’re just using the non-lined Bundlebean raincover – then a light all-in-one suit over their ‘indoor’s clothes is ideal. These fab ones from Loud and Proud do the job perfectly: https://wearmybaby.co.uk/brand-category/loud-proud/

  2. Anna on January 8, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Hi Hannah, what would you recommend at 0-5 degree Celsius for a 3 month old in Ergo baby carrier please? At home he usually wears one layer of onesie but not sure what to put on him when we go out for a long walk in the cold

    • Hannah Wallace on January 9, 2021 at 3:28 pm

      I’d say ideally go for the Ergobaby All Weather cover, plus one of the all-in-one suits from Loud & Proud. The cover will stop any windchill, plus the suit will add warmth without overheating. Af course some parents/ babies are cooler/hotter than other but this is a good approximation 🙂

  3. Rachel on January 15, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    Hi, I’m still a little unclear. What would you recommend baby wears under a fabric stretchy sling and a baby wearing coat? A vest, onesie, cardigan, booties and hat or is that too much? Xx

    • Hannah Wallace on January 15, 2021 at 1:55 pm

      If it’s very, very cold (mid winter) then yes, that sounds about right. It will vary from person to person, how cold/hot you tend to feel yourself, and on exactly how cold/cool/damp it is outside – so it’s impossible to give a precise formula. It also depends on the warmth/thickness of your babywearing coat.

  4. Cara on January 20, 2021 at 9:49 am

    Hi I was just wondering – what would you recommend for a rainy walk if the baby is forward facing? I’ve found lots of waterproof covers with hoods but they only seem to be any good if the baby is facing inwards. Obviously wouldn’t be heading out in torrential rain but just if it’s a bit wet – I live in Scotland so this is pretty much our weather from now until about April 😂 thanks!

  5. Raya on January 22, 2021 at 2:38 am

    Hi, i really struggle with what to put on feet we have some fleece lined baby wearing boots but when its windy and snowing my little one13th months still has cold feet and lower legs despite 2 pair of thin trousers … how can i keep this bit warm ?

    • Hannah Wallace on January 24, 2021 at 11:25 am

      Have you got a baby carrier over the top? The Fleece Lined bBundlebean would keep him super snug 🙂

  6. Victoria on February 4, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    Hi I have the little frog ring sling. My baby is almost 8 months old. In this cold and recently snowy weather what do you recommend I dress her in when in the ring sling ?
    Would long sleeve vest top tights leggings and a lightweight coat be sufficient? Or should i put more layers on her ? I would be wearing a jumper and my parka unzipped. Tia x

    • Hannah Wallace on February 5, 2021 at 11:04 am

      It depends very much on the weather/ wind chill and whether you’re a hot or warm person. If it’s really snowing then I’d recommend one extra layer on her legs and some booties; or a bundlebean cover x

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