When the weather gets warmer parents often wonder if they can continue to safely carry their baby in a baby sling or carrier. Babies love being close to you, regardless of the weather, but it can make you both a little hot in the summer months. By thinking about how you’re dressing your baby and yourself, and taking some other simple steps, you can both be more comfortable and continue to safely babywear throughout the summer.
What to Dress Your Baby in When Babywearing in Summer?
Dressing your baby in minimal clothing can help keep them cool. Remember that the sling itself counts as a layer and you’re generating a lot of heat between you, so in warm weather babies don't need to wear a lot. Avoid layers as these trap heat and opt instead for loose, thin clothing. Natural fibres are best as these are breathable, so a pair of cotton trousers and a loose, long sleeved top, for example, is ideal. If it's very warm you can have them in just a nappy.
It’s important to remember to protect their head, legs and arms (if they're old enough to be arms out) from the sun. Sun hats with wide brims are brilliant for this, look for one with a safe chin strap if you’re back carrying to avoid it being pulled off constantly!
Long trousers will help keep their legs from being exposed to the sun but if they’re just in a nappy you can loosely drape a large muslin over their legs for a little added protection, but remember these are thin and it’s still possible to burn through thin material.
Choose a sun cream that’s age appropriate and suitable for your child. Remember to apply it 20 minutes before you go out and regularly reapply. Of course be careful, it’s best to apply before they go in the sling as you don’t want to mark your beautiful sling fabric!
How Should I Dress When Babywearing in the Heat?
Similar to your baby, choose loose natural fibre clothing to wear, such as cotton or linen. Consider just having one layer yourself to keep you cool and you can always pull on a cardigan, zip-up top or lightweight jacket over the top of your sling (if you’re front carrying) if you need it later.
A wide-brimmed hat can be a great option for you too, it will not only shade you but offer some protection to your baby as well.
If you’re at home and it’s very warm you could use this as an opportunity for some skin-to-skin time. This has lots of benefits including helping younger babies to regulate their temperature.
Other Tips For Staying Cool in the Summer
Even if you dress both of you appropriately babies can feel like little hot water bottles so follow these tips to help stay cool -
- If you are both starting to feel a bit hot you can place a dry muslin between you to help with the stickiness.
- A small hand held fan is great for creating a little cool air around you.
- Try to stay in the shade when possible and take regular breaks from the sling, allowing baby to lie in a shady spot.
- Lots of parents carry a parasol to create their own shade.
- Using a damp muslin between you will help cool you down, especially if the weather is very hot.
- Keep yourself well hydrated and remember babies will feed more often in the hot weather too, so offer them more drinks. If you're exclusively breastfeeding your baby doesn't need water, just offer extra feeds.
- Be careful when using the hood of a carrier. While it will offer some protection against the sun it will also raise the temperature around your baby as the air can no longer circulate. Never cover your baby’s face with the material.
- If you’re feeling too hot and bothered use a pram, but remember to never cover it with anything as that can raise the temperature to dangerous levels.
What Carrier Should I Use in the Summer?
Thinking about which sling to choose and how you use it can also help you stay cool.
Ring slings and meh dais can be good options. The lack of bulkiness, and the nature of the carries allows air to circulate around these slings.
A woven wrap is great for using in single layer passes. You could also consider a shorter wrap for the summer months, ensuring there’s less fabric wrapped round you both.
A Front Wrap Cross Carry Tied Under Bum is a nice single layer front carry you can do with your base -1 or -2.
You can use a shorty or base size-4 for a No No No Hip Carry.
A Ruck Back Carry can be a cooler option that can be done with base size-2.
Buckle and half-buckle carriers, which have less thick, bulky padding, can be cooler and are handy for folding up and popping in your bag.
In general hip and back carries are cooler than front carries, as tummy to tummy positions generate the most shared body heat. If your baby is younger you could try a seated sideways position. This ensures you’re still carrying in a safe, upright position on your front but the position will be a little cooler for you both.
Enjoy Your Summer Family Adventures
There are lots of things for families to do and places to go in the summer. It's great to get out for adventures and using a baby carrier makes this even easier. A sling allows you to negotiate trips to the beach, walks in the countryside and exploring towns and cities much easier than you could if you take a pram.
Travelling is also easier when you use a sling. You can be hands free and keep your little one safe and reassured in busy airports and train stations.
And carrying isn’t just for young babies, using a carrier with toddlers and preschoolers is often invaluable for travelling or long days out in the heat, and can help out their tired legs on the way home!
So you can continue to enjoy babywearing throughout the warmer months by dressing in lightweight clothing and using our simple tips.
Written by Jillyan Graham
Jill is a Baby Carrying Consultant based in the Scottish Borders and is Mum to two girls.
For more info about the work that she does visit: Carry Me Round