It’s getting cold in Seattle! Though we are lucky to live in a fairly temperate area, there are definitely days when it dips just below freezing. For those of us that enjoy the outdoors year round, or venture out on foot, it’s important to bundle up to keep our little ones safe and warm.
[Image text: Winter Wearing, a lesson in layers. Babywearing International. When the Temperature outside decreases, clothing layers on baby’s extremities increase. Multiple thin layers of long sleeves, pants, socks, mittens, and a hat will keep baby’s extremities warm. Watch for overheating and remove a layer of clothing if baby gets too hot. Ensure baby has minimal skin exposed, but keep the face clear. In extra cold weather, dress baby in overlapping thin layers and wear a larger coat that covers you and baby. Remember, your body heat and the carrier will keep baby warm as well!]
As always, the same babywearing safety principles apply with cold weather wearing. Protect their airway with proper support, keep them close enough to kiss, and use an appropriately fitted carrier including infant inserts if necessary. Some extra considerations are needed with winter clothing. Some extra puffy coats make tightening with wraps, meh dais, or ring slings very difficult. Slippery waterproof material is also notoriously difficult to tighten and makes maintaining a seat almost impossible if you have a leg straightener. Either change the clothes you chose or select a different style carrier to overcome these challenges.
[Image description: smiling mother outside in the snow. She has an open winter coat and is wearing her child on the front with an SSC covered in a yellow rain jacket.] Photo credit: Seattle Babywearers member Natasha
Dress in Layers
Dressing both yourself and your kiddo in layers individually as well as combined will help you stay warm. Be aware of little one and don’t over dress- remember that your combined body heat will be helping you both! Depending on the situation you may want to be fully bundled individually before you put on a carrier, like if your child will be getting down to play in the snow. Other times it may be more beneficial to add the layers over the carrier, like if you are walking around in and out of buildings where you may want to take off an outer layer without taking baby down.
[Image text: Winter Wearing, Beware of the Bulk. Babywearing International. If you or baby are wearing a bulky jacket, you may have to alter your carry. Carrier straps may slip on slick fabrics. Monitor baby’s position often to ensure they haven’t shifted in the carrier. You may need a little extra length in a wrap and ring sling, or to loosen the straps in a soft structured carrier and mei dai to accommodate your and your baby’s additional space. Check baby’s position to ensure the carrier is still snug and secure- baby should be supported and close.]
Layers for kids:
- Leg Warmers to close the gap between socks and pants
- Footed PJs or Tights as an extra layer to prevent any gaps
- Hat that attaches under the chin for added warmth to keep those cheeks toasty, if your little one loses hats, try an Olie Minkey hat with attached sleeves and mittens so nothing gets lost.
- Blanket – Keep an extra blanket in your car or diaper bag for unexpected times you need an extra layer. Warm but not too bulky is best. Just take the top corners and weave them or tie them into the top of the carrier, like an apron. This is a great DIY to close the gap of your jacket with a front carry. You can also add a blanket over a back carry though you may need help from someone else to reach.
- Rain Jacket- the arms of a rainjacket can be threaded through the straps of a Meh Dai or SSC to add an extra waterproof layer- and hood that can be pulled up. This works for a front or back carry and is another great DIY option to a babywearing coat.
Layers for you
- Large or oversized coat- Use a maternity coat, or a coat that is a size or two too big. Often with an infant in a front carry, this given plenty of room to zip up around both of you.
- DIY Babywearing outerwear- there are many tutorials to make your own babywearing coat or poncho or hack an existing coat with an add on or hole for baby.
- Babywearing Coats – There are many options available on Amazon, Etsy, and brand specific sites. Most work for back or front carries, but check to make sure if you may want to back carry. Also make sure the coat goes over a carrier and is not intended to BE the carrier. Babywearing coats that are sold as the carrier as well are not tested and are not recommended as safe options for babywearing.
- Jacket Inserts/Extenders – Ready made and DIY jacket extenders can turn your regular coat into a babywearing coat.
- Check out our Pinterest board for a few DIY options with varying levels of difficulty with some only requiring the ability to cut relatively straight!
[Image description: smiling mother outside in the snow. She is wearing a thick winter coat and sunglasses with her toddler on her back in an SSC with a thick wintercoat and hood.] Photo credit: Seattle Babywearers member Megan
Tips for different carriers
- Wraps- Wool is warm! Long wraps for multipass carries add extra warmth. Jackets can sometimes be restricting and you may have a hard time reaching or moving your arms.
- Meh Dais and SSCs- add a blanket on the outside and tuck around the holes on the sides to keep in warmth
- Ring Slings- Wool and extra long tails can add extra warmth. Watch out for slippery jackets, ring slings are tough to get them stay in place.
[Image description: smiling mother and infant bundled in a Lenny Lamb red babywearing fleece standing in from of a tree with lights indoors.] Photo credit: Seattle Babywearers member Anastasia
Members! Do you need a babywearing coat? Seattle Babywearers is excited to begin offering coat rentals! You will be able to borrow the coat for longer than a month and a separate rental fee will apply (details coming soon).
Do you have a coat you no longer use? We are accepting donations for this program. Email us or come see us at a meeting if you have one to donate.