The VERY FIRST carrier I borrowed from the lending library was a water wrap and I proudly wore my weeks-old baby over my postpartum belly in a centered Poppins! I was desperate to keep things as normal as possible for my four year-old who suddenly wasn’t the only child anymore and “normal” meant being at the pool… every day. EVERY DAY! Before BWI, I didn’t know water wearing was a “thing” and now I credit it with keeping as much normalcy in our lives as possible. So, I PROUDLY present the beautiful and talented, Katie Dalton, to explain June’s (near and dear to my heart) Babywearing 102 topic: water wearing!It’s the ultimate summer conundrum in south Texas. You are hot. Baby is hot. If you’re caring for older children, they, too, are hot. Everyone is uncomfortable and not shy about voicing their discomfort loud and clear. The obvious solution is to head to the water to cool off! But how to keep those wet, slippery babies safely contained!? And supervise your older children simultaneously!? Water wearing to the rescue! There are a variety of quality, water safe carrier options available to suit your water wearing needs. By keeping some important safety tips in mind, the pool, beach, and splash pad can be a fun place for everyone all summer long!
The first order of business is SAFETY. When wearing your baby in the water, the same rules for out-of-water wearing apply. Keep baby visible and kissable while in an upright position. You should only wear your baby on your front or slightly off center on your hip in order to be able to monitor them closely at all times. Only submerge yourself to your knees and absolutely no higher than your waist. No swimming, snorkeling, diving, etc. while wearing baby in the water! Whether you are heading to the splash pad, playing in the sprinkler in the backyard, or showering while wearing, always be mindful of water entering or pooling near baby’s face to avoid inhalation or swallowing of water.
Ensure that you are comfortable with the conditions of the water before entering. Tell those older kids to knock off the splashing and be on the look out for rogue waves. Water carriers are not a substitute for a Coast Guard approved life vest and should not be used while doing any boating activities, so be sure to put your baby in a properly fitting life vest prior to climbing aboard.
There are many outstanding carrier options to help make your water excursion a breeze! Here are just a few to get you started:
Wrapsody WrapDuO: This is a lightweight, quick drying, stretchy wrap composed of Repreve blend sport knit. It provides UPF protection, which comes in handy if you have a baby who refuses to allow you to apply sunscreen on every square inch of them. Wrapsody recommends water use up to 35lbs. and land use up to 25lbs. but some caregivers will find it to be outgrown around the same time a traditional stretchy wrap would be. It’s only available in black and is one size but can be used outside of water.
Beachfront Baby Wrap: This is also a lightweight, quick drying option and is made from polyester jersey mesh. It can be worn from 8 to 30 lbs. and comes in a variety of colors. Several size options are available and it can be used in water or out.
Comfy Joey Water Sling: This carrier is composed of polyester sport mesh and available in a variety of colors. It can be used from birth up to 35lbs. and comes in several different sizes. Comfy Joey does not recommend extended use outside of the water.
Zanytoes Solarweave Water Sling: It is composed of nylon Solarweave fabric that provides UPF sun protection. Solarweave is highly breathable and quick drying. It can be customized with several fabric and ring color options, is one size, and can be worn from 12-35 lbs.
Beachfront Baby Water Sling: These are made from polyester jersey mesh, come in variety of colors and sizes, and are approved by the manufacturer to carry babies from 8-30 lbs.
Connecta: This carrier is made from Solarweave fabric and provides UPF sun protection. It comes in a variety of colors and is available in both infant (7.5 lbs+) and toddler sizes (18 months+) with standard and petite strap options. It can be used in and out of water and is ideal for hot weather.
Bitybean: This is a super lightweight buckle carrier available in a variety of colors and composed of nylon and polyester that can be used in and out of water. It is suitable for babies age 3 months and over who weigh between 8-40 lbs.
Kokadi Water TaiTai: This is composed of quick drying polyester and is suitable for newborns up to approximately 33 lbs. One size. Comes in a fun variety of characteristic Kokadi prints.
Other carriers suitable for your next water adventure and occasional splashing without submersion are the Onya Outback and Tekhni Repreve woven wraps. The Onya is made from a ripstop, moisture wicking fabric and Tekhni wraps are made from polyester Repreve and cotton.
Don’t forget your sunscreen, hats, and eye protection to make your water outing extra comfortable for you and your baby! Zip-up rashguard swimsuits with hoods are my favorite swimwear for delicate baby skin as well as long-sleeve rashguard swim shirts. As always, when out in the heat be sure to keep yourself and your child adequately hydrated and respect your limits.
A scorching summer with baby in tow need not deter you from water fun! There are so many opportunities for water recreation right around the corner. Babywearing International of Greater Austin can not wait to see the community utilizing babywearing to keep babies close while cooling off this summer!