Top tips for babywearing in cold weather

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 are my top tips for babywearing in the colder months.

As a rough rule of thumb when babywearing, you count as one layer of clothing and your sling counts as another. If you walk into a shop that has it’s heating turned up, that’s like putting your baby in a third layer. Always bear this 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 and just add a warm hat and some booties. Then, put a coat or hoodie over both of you. When you head indoors you can easily undo your coat and take off baby’s hat to help prevent them – or you- from overheating. Keeping baby close to your body will make you more aware of how warm of cool they are.

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 hard to get your sling or carrier fitting accurately, tightly and safely around a baby who 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 supported and protected.

As per the advice about car seats – slings need to fit snuggly 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 baby under your outdoor clothes.

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. I don’t like bulky padding, especially when I’m already wearing a coat and a rucksack, so this month I’ve been wearing 10 month old Joey in our Sleepy Nico a lot. When using a woven wrap or mei tai (our Fidella fly tai is a big fave at the moment)  under my coat, I prefer not to spread the fabric over my shoulders so my arms don’t feel restricted.

Carry an umbrella. Ideally one of those giant transparent ones so you both stay dry AND don’t bump into people on the pavement, or just keep a pocket sized one in your bag, along with a hat for baby. Lots of soft structures carriers and mei tais have hoods so don’t forget to use them.

Our top buys for babywearing coats, covers and accessories this autumn and winter

Mamalia All Weather soft shell jacket.  A decent investment at around £150, but I wouldn’t be without it. Ideal for both front and back carries, waterproof, excellent quality, looks good as a regular coat when worn without the insert, has hoods for Joey and I that actually stay up. Their sizing is very generous; I’m a size 10 and their XS is very roomy on me.

Momawo make a similar coat and if  you want something longer then check out these ones from Angelwings.   Verbaudet bump-to-baby parkas are great (I loved mine when I was pregnant and last winter when Joey was tiny) but be warned they are VERY warm. MaM make some lovely coats, capes and ponchos  for babywearing. Suse’s KinderCoat Deluxe is both a jacket and a fleece making is very versatile.  Lenny Lamb have a  quickly growing range in a lot of different colours and styles.

Boba Hoodies. I LOVE mine and we sell a lot of them at our shop. They’re made of high quality fabric and give a surprisingly flattering fit.  Suspiciously cheap babywearing hoodies on eBay may be best avoided as you might end up with baby’s head hole in the wrong place 🙂

A lightweight  ‘pack-a-mac’ raincoat with drawstring waist.  High street stores like Primark sell very inexpensive raincoats that expand a lot around the middle. They fold super small so keep one in your bag at all times, ready to whip out and do up round both of you. If your baby is 6 month old or over buy a size bigger than you normally would.

Any big zip up sweater can also do the trick. A lot of my mums often find something suitable if they have a good rummage through their other half’s wardrobe.

The Bundlebean  is a waterproof cover for both sling and buggies. I find these a bit cumbersome but they can be a good option if you want a rainproof layer for both buggy and sling journeys.

I ordered a couple of custom made balaclavas from Etsy for my giant-headed, hat-pulling-off eldest son.

H&M do good gender neutral tights.

For cold weather we love hand knitted boots that we hunt out on local Facebook groups and at craft fairs. These fleece lined, waterproof booties from Jojo Maman Bebe are really good and Mocc Ons are great for keeping feet and legs warm on cool autumn days.

And if you’re especially crafty you could try knitting your own panel extender for your coat, to fit round you and baby! Yeap, me neither….

Hannah Wallace

Owner & Consultant at Wear My Baby
Hannah founded Wear My Baby in 2014. Having set up Tooting Sling Meet, she went on to train and qualify as a Babywearing Consultant with Slingababy and the School of Babywearing. She has supported over 400 families to find the right baby carrier. She has two boys aged 3 and 1 who have both been carried since birth.
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