“How do I keep my baby warm when babywearing in winter?” This might be something you’re wondering as the weather gets colder. Parents often worry about how to dress their baby in cold weather, especially when they’re in a sling.
Carrying your child in a sling is actually one of the easiest ways to stay cosy, but it can be hard to know what you should both wear, so here’s our tips for what to wear when carrying your baby in a sling this winter.
How to Dress Your Baby For Babywearing In Winter
Did you know that most people overdress babies in carriers?
When you carry your baby you share body heat, especially in a front carry when you're tummy to tummy, and the sling also adds an extra layer. This is something to be aware of when dressing your child as young babies cannot regulate their temperature so overheating can be a possibility.
Keeping an eye on your baby’s temperature is quick and easy when you’re carrying them. Just feel their back or tummy to make sure they're not too hot or cold.
Layers of clothing are a great option as they trap heat between the layers, helping to keep your baby warm, and you can easily take them on and off as needed. Lots of parents favour woollen clothing as it’s warm and breathable. A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in a similar number of layers as you’re wearing.
It's best to avoid dressing babies in snowsuits or thick padded pram suits as these can cause dangerous overheating and poor positioning. Not only will you find it hard to tuck their pelvis and achieve a good position but, more crucially, it can cause babies to slump down, causing the sling to not support and fit them as well. This can also result in material being trapped around their neck, chin and mouth. Both of these issues can lead to their airway being affected and breathing being compromised.
A better alternative to a snowsuit is to dress in lots of layers, a lightweight fleece suit or a babywearing coat or cover.
However, you dress your baby to keep their core warm, it's important to remember to protect their extremities on colder days. A warm hat is a must and cosy thick socks and booties keep feet warm. Woollen tights or baby leg warmers are great for protecting baby’s legs when they’re in a sling, especially to cover any exposed skin if their trousers ride up.
What Should I Wear When Babywearing?
Just like for your baby, layers are key to helping you maintain a comfortable temperature. Round the house it can be useful to layer over your sling if you're carrying on your front - a cosy cardigan over the top and be pulled round to keep you both warm.
If it’s cold but dry outside then simply layering up can be the most comfortable and easiest option, especially if you’re back carrying. Longer wraps are great for the winter as it gives you plenty of length to wrap over layers and you have the benefit of choosing carries with multiple passes to add warmth. A Double Hammock back carry with you both dressed in layers, thick woolly jumpers, gloves and hats can keep you both lovely and cosy on winter walks.
For front carries you can fasten an oversized coat round you both, or buy a zip-in panel which extends your normal winter coat, allowing you to zip it up round both of you.
A babywearing coat is a great option. These have an extra panel to fit your baby and this can often be changed to the back for back carrying. If you do use a coat you'll probably both be quite snug due to the heat you generate together and you may not need as many layers on either of you.
Finally, babywearing covers can work well, especially to share with a partner as one size fits all. Many covers are universal and can be worn over the top of any type of sling.
It’s important to think about what you’re wearing on your feet. Footwear with grips is essential in snowy or icy weather. You can even get snow chains for your shoes. These ice grips, like Yaktrax, are worn over the top of your shoes and provide great traction on icy surfaces.
How to Dress Your Toddler When Carrying in a Sling?
We need to be extra careful with babies because they don't have full trunk control, and they can't tell us if there's an issue. So, as mentioned, it’s best to avoid snowsuits.
However, older toddlers aren't at risk of slumping so this is much less of a problem. Depending on their development stage, they might also be able to complain if they're not comfortable...often loudly!
If you will be carrying your toddler for longer periods then following the same rule of thumb for babies is a good idea. But, if they will only be carried for short periods and then be down to play you can dress them in a snowsuit. Your toddler may not be as comfortable in the sling with all that padding, but if you're not going far this is probably not too much of an issue. If you're back carrying you won’t be sharing so much body heat either. And, if they will be playing in the cold, then they will need the warmth of a snow suit while playing.
What Sling Should I Use In Winter?
A wrap is great for keeping you both cosy and they can also look beautiful in wintery scenes! Wool blends are ideal for winter - the temperature regulating properties can keep you both warm, but comfortable even if the weather gets warmer.
Bamboo gives wraps a lovely cushy thickness, while silk and hemp blends are strong and temperature regulating - allowing you and your little one to maintain regular body temperature.
Ring slings are perfect for carrying toddlers and preschoolers who want up and down often, or for newborns round the house as they allow you to easily add or remove layers of clothing.
Carriers, like the Cairis, are really useful on cold days when you want to be able to carry over the top of bulky winter coats.
Enjoy Some Fun This Winter
Using a sling in the winter is a great way to get out of the house and enjoy the season. You’ll both stay warmer thanks to the shared body heat and if it snows a buggy may become impossible to use and babywearing will be far more practical.
If you’d like any help choosing a sling for the wintery weather you can message us using the chat service and we’ll be happy to help.
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