Do babies get cold in slings? Do I need a babywearing coat? What about a baby carrier cover for when it’s raining? How should I dress my baby when we go out in the cold?
All very common questions. Here are my 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 my 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, I advise people to keep small babies in ‘indoor’ clothing, adding a warm hat and some booties, plus a coat 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.) When you head indoors you can easily undo your coat to help prevent them – or 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.
You can buy special babywearing coats with inserts to accommodate your baby, like our fabulous Wombat & Co. London range. For Mum, we have the Wallaby Babywearing Coat. Suitable from pregnancy until preschool, the Wallaby ticks all the right boxes for a babywearing coat. And not to leave Dad out, we also have the parka-style Bandicoot Babywearing Coat for men.
A maternity coat, a one-size-bigger-than-usual lightweight raincoat (ideally with a drawstring waist to cinch it back down when you’re on your own), or a generously sized cardigan or zip-up hoodie from your winter wardrobe can also do the job.
AVOID SNOWSUITS IF POSSIBLE
Snowsuits and pramsuits are best avoided when babywearing. The big puffy garment makes it hard to tell how warm they actually are 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.
Choose a lightweight sling to wear under your coat. You don’t need a special warm ‘winter’ sling or carrier. In fact, if I’m going to be wearing a heavy coat and a rucksack, as well as my toddler, I usually reach for a lightweight carrier like a Connecta Toddler or Connecta Baby Carrier.
BABY CARRIER COVER
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.
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.