FALL AND WINTER BABYWEARING
While it can be hard to say goodbye to warm summer sun, babywearers tend to find that fall and winter months offer optimal babywearing weather. There is something about that crisp air, walking through crunchy leaves or snow with your loved one wrapped close against your body, sharing the same view of the world, that makes this season extra special. Babywearing is also a great way to keep your hands free while playing with your other children outside and does have the benefit of keeping both of you warmer.
Convenient, warm and safe babywearing during colder months is mainly a matter of choosing the right wrap or ring sling, the right carry and the right clothes for you and your child.
Here are some helpful tips for wearing your baby in the fall and winter:
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CARRIER
The Zeitgeist baby carrier is a year-round staple carrier. Woven wraps and ring slings offer convenient flexibility to adjust to the extra layers during colder months and can also provide extra warmth. Some woven wrap and ring sling blends are more ideal for winter and autumn than others.
A medium-weight to thicker woven baby wrap is your best option for the colder months. Cashmere, vicuña or merino wool blends are often favorites as a dense harness against a cold winter day and can be suitable for newborns and toddlers alike. These blends help regulate temperatures and are cozy and warm.
Some babywearers opt for a ring sling for facing the winter months outside, as it is easy and simple to take on and off and does not have dragging wings like a baby wrap. Similar to woven wraps, a wool blend is optimal for colder months, however a cotton blend can suffice if using enough layers.
CHOOSING A CARRY FOR COLD WEATHER
The simplest way to carry your baby in inclement weather is to put your child in a Zeitgeist baby carrier, woven wrap or ring sling against your chest. Front carries are ideal in colder weather as you can closely monitor what your little one is doing and how the weather is affecting them.
Multiple layer baby wrap carries are a comfortable choice for fall/winter babywearing as they often require more fabric, which means more layers. The traditional front wrap cross carry (FWCC) has three layers spread fully over the baby and is also a good carry for beginners. If you spread out the cross passes on the reinforced kangaroo, this carry can be warm and one of the most comfortable front carries. Also, remember that with the layers, you and the baby are both now taking up more space which means you may need to go up one wrap size, or modify the carry to use less wrap.
In any of the upright positions, regardless of the season, always check that the baby’s knees are higher than the hips, in the “frog” position. This will not only keep baby safe from sliding out of the sling but also distribute their weight more evenly.
PICKING THE RIGHT FALL & WINTER BABYWEARING OUTFIT
For the child
Wearing your baby close to your body, meaning under a coat or jacket, allows for you and your loved one to share body heat. With this shared heat, it is important not to overdress your child, to prevent overheating. Depending on how cold it is, you may likely be able to put your baby in a wrap or ring sling in his or her indoor clothes. The areas to focus on keeping warm are the extremities, ensuring that the hands, feet and head are covered and protected from the weather with a warm hat, gloves and booties. Remember that sleeves and pants will ride up, choosing slightly longer pants, leggings, or socks that can be pulled up help to avoid this.
For the babywearer
The simplest way to carry your baby in inclement weather is to wear your child in a carrier in your front, then put a roomy coat on over both of you. You can wear your baby or toddler either on the inside or outside of your coat. We suggest underneath for younger babies, this way breastfeeding is still possible and they are completely protected from the elements and it allows you to take off your coat if you arrive back home with a sleeping baby or want to have more flexibility when exploring a city.
Even when it is well below zero, do not forget that your baby will be pressed against your body, and you will both be sharing body heat. Dressing in layers is very important. Think about the function of each layer and choose thin ones to help trap the most body heat without adding excess bulk. It is a lot easier to achieve a tight, attractive and comfortable carry when you are not wrapping over bulky sweaters and coats.
If you are using a coat not made for babywearing, you will probably want a scarf to cover your chest above your baby’s head in a front carry. Ponchos and capes are also very stylish babywearing accessories. A good pair of boots also help prevent slipping.
If you have an older child or want to do a back carry, you may find it easier to wear them over your own clothes. Bundling yourself and your baby individually means that you lose the benefit of combined body heat, therefore it is important that you both dress in warm winter gear.
BABYWEARING IN COLD WEATHER
In addition to choosing the right carrier and outfit, it is also important to always check that baby is safe in the carry, that they have enough breathing space and that no fabric is covering their face. The added safety point to remember is to not only ensure that your baby is warm enough but also that they are not overheating due to the shared body heat.
Last but not least, styling a carrier for fall and winter months can be a perfect way to feel stylish and vivacious while combating the cold, biting winds together.