You may have heard that, when using a baby sling or baby carrier with your precious bundle, one layer of sling roughly equals to one layer of clothing. That’s for the body parts in the sling or carrier – and until baby starts bringing arms out at around 3–4 months, they count as in the sling too.
What about the baby’s legs then? After all, they do stick out from birth. They may indeed need an extra layer or two, depending on the weather. In this article, I will share some information and tips on how to dress your baby in the sling or carrier to keep their legs and feet toasty and comfy.
Let’s start with the comfy part.
Babygros or footed bottoms
Onesies and footed bottoms seem like a handy choice to keep little tootsies warm. They can cause discomfort though and even compromise positioning for your baby.
This is a photo of Oscar, my longest serving weighted demo doll. He’s been with me for near 5 years now and has been put in and out of thousands of slings by hundreds of parents. And look what happened to his babygrow, which he’s worn most of that time. His toes are peeking out!!!
To show you why this happened, I’ve asked my 6 year old to model her PJ bottoms for you in three positions. Notice how much of her socks you can see in each picture.
1. standing up, legs straight
2. sitting, calves 90° to thighs
3. spread-squat at physiological normal angles
When we bend our knees, our trousers ride up. The higher the knee, the shorter the trousers are. If you wear a footed pair of bottoms, then the foot part will only go as far as your toes. The more you try to lift your leg, the more your toes get restricted.
When using a footed babygrow in a baby sling or carrier, parents often observe the following:
- Your baby can’t bend their knees at their natural angle and is unable to achieve a normal spread-squat position. This can compromise positioning and both your and baby’s comfort when babywearing.
- Your baby will push their legs down, arch their back and seem generally unhappy in the sling.
Often, when wearing from newborn, these symptoms only present after a few weeks or months – depending on how fast baby grows “into” their clothes. Baby suddenly seems to not like being worn any more.
If this sounds familiar, check your little one’s feet.
- Can you see a clear outline of baby’s toes through their babygrow?
- Are toes curled up, feet arched and seem to burst out of the bottoms?
If the answer is yes, it’s getting a bit too tight for comfort.
So how else can you make sure there’s no draught going up those wee legs? Here’s some ideas.
Alternatives to babygros and footed bottoms
Yes, even for boys! Growing up in Germany, we all spent the colder months in tights. They are comfy, elastic enough to get your knees to your ears if you wanted to (and were able to) and all you need to do when heading out is throw a pair of jeans or rain bottoms over – done.
Jeans, by the way, can be a bit stiff for optimal positioning too …
Buy socks that go all the way up to the knee, and stay there. They’ll close the gap.
Use them as an extra layer under trousers, over trousers or over tights. Or just on their own when it’s warmer. They can be put on and taken off while baby is in the sling. I use them on myself when it’s nippy out and they’ve plenty other uses too!
When it’s chilly and wet too (in Ireland? Never!), lightweight, waterproof thinsulate lined booties are fab. They go up to above mid-calf too, so cover any gaps that may appear when trousers ride up.
You can learn more about weather proofing when out and about while babywearing in my Wet, Cold, Windy and Babywearing in Warm Weather articles. After all there’s no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing …