We’re deep in to summer right now but I wanted to share some tips for babywearing in the heat and sun. Oregon heat is different than most of the U.S. but I am from Utah (and moved during the summer when my second was over 8 months) so I have some experience with good old all summer heat. The past two summers have been exceptionally hot in Oregon and most people do not have air conditioning in their homes so when the temperature has reached 106* and several 100* days a lot of parents find it hard to cope. I hope you all find these tips and tricks helpful. Please share your tips and tricks in the comments as well!
- It’s important to keep in mind that regardless of the carrier you are using a baby is hot! You are wearing a little heater and no matter what it will feel hot. Some carriers are better than others and some work better for some parents than others so experiment.
- Be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Breastfed babies do not need extra water when they are under 6 months especially, make sure you offer the breast often and choose a carrier that is easy to do that in. Carry a water bottle with you. I’ve tried several and personally LOVE the Hydroflask because I can fill it all the way up with ice in the morning and keep adding water from a drinking fountain throughout the day and have really cold water.
- Wear a hat and have baby wear a hat. The hat will help keep sun off of each of your faces and keep you a little cooler. If your baby is over 6 months be sure to put sunscreen on because sun burns will make you feel even hotter.
- Plan to spend a lot of time in the shade. Also plan your activities whenever possible to have a cool area to go to if you’re starting to feel tired. The sun drains you and it’s good to have a place to have a break from the sun and heat-even if it’s driving around in your car for a little bit to cool off.
- Wear lightweight clothing. Looser shirts help air circulate better-100% cotton will help breathe and absorb the sweat and allow it to evaporate better which will help cool you off.
- If you live in a dry climate using a spray bottle with cool water can help cool you off, especially if you can mix that with a personal fan.
- Wearing baby will help you to know when baby is getting too warm because you will feel it (especially in lightweight clothing). When you feel like your baby is getting too hot-escape to the cooler place you planned on or the shade and continue to drink lots of fluids.
What carriers are best in the heat?
This really depends on you! No matter what though, 1 layer of fabric is probably the most you will want over you. You can make nearly any type of carrier work in the heat. I will talk about how to make each type work for you but you know your body and baby best. If one is too hot for you try another. Most people (at least in the States) have a babywearing group within reasonable driving distance and many have a lending library or carriers to try out.
- Ring Sling: A ring sling is pretty nice in the heat and sun. You can use the tail to shade you if you need to or let it hang down. You could always wrap it around the rings to make it not hang down as long. Ring slings are really supportive for newborns but can be great for toddlers too, especially if they are made of thicker material or linen or converted from a woven wrap. Another option is to hop in the pool with a mesh water ring sling.
- Woven Wrap: Single layer carriers are best in the heat. Cotton and linen fabrics are cooler usually than others. Kangaroo is really breezy around your underarms and breasts. A simple Rucksack or a a Reinforced Rucksack (especially stick to the reinforced with a seat popper) is a great back carry with one layer. Front Wrap Cross Carry is doable but has more fabric which means a little less air circulation. I will discuss these carries in later posts. You can always hop in the pool with a water wrap though and some may work outside of the water as well. Gauze wraps and hybrids may be breezier but may be better suited for babies under 20-25 lbs because at that point many parents find that they become diggy in the shoulders no matter how careful and tight you wrap.
- Soft Structure Carrier: Many of these are great in the heat but especially ones with mesh panels. I love my Kinderpack with cool knit in the summer but I have also worn Ergo, Beco Butterfly (which has a panel between you and baby which can help absorb some sweat but it also makes it harder to feel how hot baby is-this carrier has been discontinued but still can be easily found new or used online), Boba, Onya Baby, etc. There aren’t huge differences between them in the heat but some do find mesh panels make a difference or using a lighter or sport version helps.
- Mei Tai or other Asian Inspired Carriers: Don’t discount these. Like a soft structure carrier these have one panel over baby. If you stick to one with ties that are just long enough for you (rather than long enough to do fancy tie offs) you may find these are great for summer. One tip though, stay away from Minky in the summer. It’s super soft but feels like you’re wearing a blanket (I found this out the hard way).
The information and opinions provided on this blog post (or any blog post on this blog) are not a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a qualified medical professional; nothing contained on this website shall be presumed or shared as medical advice at any time.
What are your tips for summer and hot weather babywearing?