Baby it’s… HOT outside! In my hometown, it snowed less than two weeks ago. Here in beautiful central Texas, temperatures are already reaching into the 90s and it is barely May! Each year at this time, we start to get a lot of questions about babywearing in the heat. Keep in mind that when you have another person attached to you there is always going to be some element of warmth, especially in hot weather. Below are a few tips for staying cool when summertime temperatures start making an appearance.
This goes for both you AND baby. Make sure to pack enough water for you and formula or water for your kiddo. Make sure to nurse breastfed babies regularly, and if you are breastfeeding make double sure you are getting enough water yourself!
Monitor your baby
Littles are not as good at regulating their body temperature as we are so be sure to keep an eye on them for signs of overheating. This is especially true for newborns and if you are wearing baby in a forward facing position. When baby is forward facing they are harder to see so use your selfie cam on your phone or a small mirror to monitor baby.
Choose lightweight clothing
Here in Austin this is not much of an issue, as it is basically a requirement to have a summer-based wardrobe. Stick with lightweight and light colored clothing for you and your kiddo. I also find it more comfortable to wear a higher neck shirt so there is a layer of fabric between myself and baby to help with the sweating. Baby can go in a diaper only, just be aware of their delicate skin. Babylegs makes SPF lightweight leg covers to help you stay safe out in the sun! Some of our volunteers also like to use arm coverings s such SPF sun sleeves to cover baby’s little legs when they are exposed.
Find a shady spot
If possible, avoid the hottest part of the day and stick to the shade whenever possible. Not enough shade? Bring the shade to you with a sun hat or an umbrella! A sun hat on you and/or baby will help to protect you from the intense summer sun. Still not enough shade? Dust off your umbrella and put it to use as a sun shade while enjoying all the fun activities Austin has to offer in the summer.
Bring the cool to you
Many of our volunteers use Frogg Toggs, cool washcloths or a small spray bottle of water to help cool down. We advise using caution when considering using these with either your newborn or young baby due to their inability to regulate their body temperatures. If you have an older infant, toddler or preschooler, these may be used in moderation to help them cool down. Toddlers and preschoolers are often entertained by spray bottles and hand held fans. These can be a fun, useful way to cool down.
Choose a warm, weather friendly carrier
As noted above, especially here in central Texas, babywearing will be warm in our summer heat. Below are some of our suggestions on carriers for summer wearing.
There are many that offer mesh panels to help keep kiddos cooler. Keep in mind that these panels help baby, not the wearer. Pognae, Ergo Ventus, Beco Cool, KinderPack, Bamberoo and Lillebaby are just a few of the options with vented panels (AND we have most of those in our Lending Library so be sure to check out one of our meetings!). It may also help to look for something with open sides like the Beco Gemini or lightweight body panels like the Action Baby Carrier, AngelPack and Connecta. While Onya does not have a vented panel it does have an SPF 50 hood, which is a welcome addition in the Texas sun.
These can be a great option for summer wearing as they are often light weight. Mei Tais often have smaller, thinner body panels than buckle carriers allowing airflow through the sides of the carrier, helping to keep caregiver and baby cooler. Consider a hip carry can be a quick and easy option in the summer heat.
Ah, the dreaded warm weather wrap question! What makes the best summer wrap? Choose a lightweight, thin, loose weave. Traditionally, hemp, silk and bamboo are insulators whereas linen, cotton and wool wick and breathe. However, these qualities are much more dependent on weave and design than fabric. Choose single layer carries like ruck, kangaroo or torso carries. Summer is a great time to find the shorty love!
As with most babywearing options, what works for one person may not work for another, so try different things to keep your family cool this summer! Babywearing in warm weather is going to get hot, so use some of the tricks above to stay as cool as possible and have fun enjoying all of the festivals, parks, watering holes and hiking trails this summer!