Baby it’s cold outside!
With our current cold snap you may be concerned about keeping yourself and baby warm and safe whilst using your sling. With a few simple considerations you can carry on babywearing snugly and safely when the mercury drops.
Layers, layers, layers
When it’s freezing outside it can be very tempting to bundle baby up in her thickest snowsuit. These suits are great in the buggy but are less suited to the sling. Thick or padded snowsuits can make it difficult for you to position baby well in the sling and may lead to thick fabric creeping up around baby’s face which can compromise the nice clear airway that we’re looking for. In addition it could lead to baby overheating, especially if you are going in and out of buildings or baby falls asleep while you need to go inside. Instead think of layers, layers and more layers! Remember the sling counts as a layer of fabric (or more if you’re using a stretchy wrap or a multi pass carry in a woven wrap) and baby has your body heat to keep them warm and regulate their temperature too. I would suggest dressing baby in her normal indoor clothes, adding a light jacket or cardigan, and pay extra attention to covering any body parts outside the sling: hats, gloves and extra layers on the feet. You can buy special legwarmers or babywearing booties to cover little legs; alternatively you can make use of what you already have at home - a pair of adult socks will cover at least half a little baby leg!
Do I need a special coat?
There are a number of specific babywearing coats on the market. These are usually designed with an extra panel to extend the coat around both you and baby; often they can be adapted to be worn for front and back carries and some can be worn as a normal coat when you don’t have a child with you. I liked the Momawo 4-in-1 Babywearing Coat but there are so many other options to suit your personal style and budget. If this is your first child and you’re considering more, or if you babywear more than use a buggy, this could be a good investment to make. If you don’t need or want a full coat, you can also buy thinner fleece jumpers or jackets with space for baby. I used one from eBay and got more than a few funny looks at a little baby head peeking out of my jumper!
If your budget doesn’t extend to a coat, or you don’t think you babywear enough to need one, you can make use of what you already have, perhaps your old maternity coat or a man’s coat that is big enough to go over both of you. Drawstring waists can give you a bit more baby space too.
Comfort and practicality
As well as not wanting baby to overheat, we want to make sure that the wearer isn’t uncomfortably hot either! You don’t want to get stuck with a sleeping baby on top of your thick winter coat when it’s time to go indoors! You may find it more comfortable to put baby in the sling on top of your indoor clothes where possible, then put a cardigan, jacket and coat on afterwards. This means you can also adapt your own layers and temperature for your own comfort.
Where you wear baby in relation to your own outdoor clothing will depend on baby’s age. A smaller baby may feel more comfortable inside your coat as above, while a walking toddler would wear his own coat in the sling (as he will have greater head and motor control to keep his face clear of fabric) and be carried on top of your coat for ease of going up and down a lot more often.
And finally just as you would when walking by yourself without baby, take extra care if the ground is icy or plan an alternative route or time of day if necessary. Carrying a baby in a sling alters your centre of gravity a little so may put you off balance when trying to judge and negotiate a slippery pathway.
With a few extra considerations you can carry on carrying and enjoy your winter adventures together!