The days are getting longer and, dare I say it, sunnier and warmer! Secretely we are hoping for a similar summer to the last two years with plenty of sunshine and some hot days. And questions turn from “How do I keep baby warm in the sling out and about” to “How do I keep my baby cool and protected from the sun in a baby carrier?”
Two things remain the same through all seasons:
- You help baby regulate their temperature. When you break a sweat to cool down, this will help cool down your little one as well when worn close to skin. So essentially you are their fridge or fan! And when you get into a cooler building, your body will help warm baby up again.
- Be onions, aka remember layers. One layer of sling usually equals one layer of clothing. Under the sling, choose light, wide natural fibre layers for you and baby, so you can adjust clothing to quickly changing temperatures (sun in, sun out – this is Ireland after all!). And don’t forget to put your final layer over the sling, like a light cardigan, so you can remove it easily.
Other than that, and staying in the shade, here’s what worked for us over the years, including in the hot German summers on our annual family visit (the joys of living abroad). Two of my babies are natural hot water bottles and get warm quickly. One is a bit of a cooler nature.
1. Choose carries with less body contact
Hip carries and high back carries are great in warm weather as they offer some ventilation for wearer and baby. Adjustable hip carries in a woven wrap or ring sling can be used from birth. High back carries can be achieved with woven or hybrid wraps, Mei Tais or half buckles. Some people can manage high back carries in buckle carriers too.
2. Reduce skin to skin contact
Warm skin on very warm skin can get sticky and sweaty. This is usually an issue when baby sleeps in a front carry. Sticking (pardon the pun!) one layer of a muslin between you and baby, ensuring their face is visible at all times and nose free of fabric, can solve this.
3. Protect sensitive skin on face, ears and neck
If being in direct sun light is unavoidable, protect your little one’s face, neck and ears. Choose a light cotton sun hat with a wide brim all around and a neck flap. Ideally with a tie to keep it in place, so you sun hat can offer protection from stiff breezes too! I love these adjustable sun hats that grow with your little one and offer UV protection too.
4. Protect arms, legs and feet
In really warm and calm (i.e. not too windy) weather, baby doesn’t necessarily need any clothes when in the sling. Arms and legs do need protection from direct sunlight though. Leg warmers like these work great for both and are quick to put on and off as required. Pull the leg warmers all the way over the little toes to keep feet protected and allow air to get to them at the same time. Beats socks. As a rule of thumb: the darker and denser the fabric, the higher the UVP.
5. Use the magic of water, on the go
A little spray bottle, with a drop of refreshing mint or orange oil (do not spray directly onto baby) in the bag works way better than a pocket fan. On really hot days I’ve soaked leg warmers in cold water, wrung them out and we wore them on our arms (again, not with small babies and be aware that wet clothes offer less UV protection). Sooo refreshing!
6. Choose a light fabric sling or carrier
Slings made of lighter fabric, like the Wrapsody hybrid and WrapDuo wraps, have the obvious advantage of being more breathable. They are also much easier to wash and quicker to dry – which is handy when you get sweaty wearing your baby or wet splashing in the pool. Buckle carriers and Mei Tais usually have at least two layers of fabric in the panel, plus padding in straps. The Isara is an example of a really lightweight buckle carrier that works well in warm weather. Particularly buckle carriers should be washed as little as possible to avoid excess wear.
What tricks have you up your sleeve to keep cool while babywearing?