How can I keep my baby warm in a sling now it’s getting colder?
What are they supposed to wear when you go outside?
What are you supposed to do when it rains?
All very common questions. Here’s my top tips for babywearing in the colder months.
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. (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 the fabulous Mamalila range. But 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 do the job, too.
Snowsuits and pramsuits are best avoided when babywearing. That 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 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. A pair of tights under trousers will stop their legs getting too chilly.
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 Baby Carrier.
Carry an umbrella. If you live in the UK, be sure to do this at least from September to May!! Keep a pocket sized one in your bag, along with a hat for baby. A giant transparent umbrella can be brilliant to keep you both dry AND stop you from bumping into people on the pavement. Lots of carriers have hoods that offer (some) protection from the elements so don’t forget to use them, too.
So: stay dry, stay cool, think LAYERS. Here’s more advice on babywearing safety.
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