As the temperature rises and we ease into summer, many of us will be finding ourselves outside more often with our kiddos. It’ll be trips to the zoo, the beach, lake or river, a play ground, camping or just walks around the neighborhood. But along with all that fun…there is one thing that looms above us all. Being too hot. I don’t like it and I’m sure you don’t either. And the baby that you have strapped to yourself via your favorite carrier doesn’t like it either! So what do you do when it’s hot outside and you babywear? Friends, let me give you a few tips that I’ve come across.
As you read through each of the follow tips, ask yourself the following questions: What kind of climate are you in? What activity will we be doing? How old is your child? These will help guide you to making a decision that is best for you and your worn child(ren).
1. Consider your carrier material. It’s hard to make a blanket comment about “this carrier is BEST for the hot weather!” because each person has their own unique temperature tolerance or material preference. However, it is generally recommended to opt for lighter weight, airy fabrics or carriers that incorporate materials for increased air flow.
My sister-in-love, who moved to San Diego in the Spring after being a Washingtonian for her whole life, is an soft structured carrier veteran but during her third pregnancy (thanks to, you know, her fabulous blogger sister in law) became encouraged to start trying out wraps. She wanted something breezy yet supportive for the hot summer ahead, and started belly wrapping with her Wrapsody Haumea in the last week of her pregnancy. Talk about birthy vibes! Since then she has been wrapping her sweet squishy bundle, and you can see why the Wrapsody Haumea gets 6 thumbs up on The Pierogie Mama.
2. How many layers are we talking about? Woven wraps vary greatly in thickness and heat based on what they are made of, so some wraps may not do well for you and baby in the heat. Opt for a single layer pass (such as FWCC) and shorter wrap lengths. Many soft structured carrier brands are now offering “sport” versions of their carriers which incorporate breathable layers to allow air flow as well.
3. Consider what you are wearing. Dressing lightly is most ideal, but I always like to keep a light fabric between myself and baby during the heat because we both get sweaty and sticky. A small prefold between baby’s head and my chest kept both of us happy. I also opt for a wide brimmed hat as it gives shade over the baby’s head too.
4. What is your baby wearing? Same goes for baby as it does you!
5. Take the proper measures of sun protection for both of you, as with all outdoor play. Fabric provides minimal amounts of protection from the sun and parts of baby will be exposed outside of clothes and being tucked into their carrier or wrap. Use sunscreen often and stay in the shade or indoors during the hottest part of the day.
6. As developmentally appropriate, switch between front and back carry. Keeping my kids on my back helps cool me down, but it is also important to mention that another set of eyes on your child is helpful during hot weather since you won’t be able to see their face as easily as with front carry. Be aware of how your child is doing back there! Too much sun and dehydration is a risk when you can’t readily see their face.
7. On that note – hydration is key! A good hydration tip in general is to start upping your water intake the day before you plan on doing any activity in the sun, especially if you are breastfeeding. Breast milk is amazing in the way that your milk content will respond to your baby’s hydration needs and provides the proper liquids that your baby needs in hot weather. Keep a water bottle on hand at all times for you and your child if they are old enough to drink water; some SSC have rings that you can easily clip a D-ring with a water bottle to.
8. When I did a little bit of crowd sourcing for ideas on babywearing in the heat, chilly pads kept being recommended over and over! There are tons of companies who make it, and I can’t recommend any specific one since I haven’t personally tried them yet, but the idea is that they are made from a hyper-evaporative material that soaks up moisture quickly but stays dry to the touch. They are popular for athletics and working out. Frogg Toggs are a popular choice.
9. And my final tip on babywearing in hot weather is…If it gets too hot for either of you, remove baby and head indoors immediately to cool down! Heat exhaustion, heat stroke, dehydration and just being sun beat is not fun for anyone.