Babywearing is awesome. It's so wonderful to have your little one so close and snug. It's like a constant hug without having to tire your arms. That is, provided your little one isn't struggling the whole time to get down and run around... Not that that ever happens to me.
This year babywearing my 18 month old daughter, Athena, is a very different experience than wearing her last year. Now, all she wants to do is run around and hates any sort of confinement. That's just how she rolls, I guess. Probably her way of letting us know that she is no longer a "baby" so, come on mom and dad, you can stop trying to "baby"wear me now...
But last year, it was AWESOME. I baby wore her all fall and winter long. We kept each other warm and I got to see her little face look in awe at the great, wide world around her. Then she would doze to sleep while still on me and we would continue to walk together, me listening to her calm breathing, and her listening to the pounding of my heart.
Babywearing in winter is definitely a different animal then baby wearing in the warm summer months. Brian and I learned very quickly that we needed to do things a little differently. Babywearing in winter doesn't have to be complicated, and for the most part any tips I can give you would come to you simply from listening to your "parental instinct". But, just in case someone might find it helpful to learn from my own experience, here are
Ten Tips for Babywearing in Winter
- Head. Always have a hat for baby. Make sure it is snug around their face so it cannot easily slide down and cover their eyes and thick enough to keep their head warm. Even though it is a myth that we loose heat faster through our head, it is still very important to keep your baby's head nice and warm. No one enjoys being outside if their ears and face are freezing.
- Hands. Little babies fingers get cold very easily. Try and find a pair of gloves that fit snugly, but not too tight, on your baby's little hands. Tuck the gloves into their shirt so their wrists do not get exposed to the cold air accidentally. If your baby refuses to wear gloves, like mine often did, just make sure they can tuck their arms inside the carrier if they get cold.
- Legs. It's easy to keep baby's core warm since it is right up against you, and you can always draw their arms into the carrier to stay warmer, but their legs have no choice but to stay outside the carrier. Therefore, it is super important that you put on lots of layers for their legs. Depending on how cold it is outside this might look like two pairs of pants and leg warmers and then socks. It simply depends on how cold it is outside.
- Toes. Very warm shoes and socks are a must. Baby's toes can get cold very quickly. If you don't have good shoes or socks that fit baby (they grow fast and surprise you sometimes...) you can always improvise. Several times when Athena's warm socks were in the wash, or simply AWOL, I put a pair of my own warm socks around her feet by doubling them up. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. And no one ever creates more necessity than a baby. :)
- Layers are a must. Babywearing is great because it helps keep everyone involved warm. Your baby will be like a little heater to you and vice versa. This is why it's extremely important that you both wear layers. Last winter when I took Athena on a hike up a butte it was freezing out, but by the time we got to the top we were both sweating. I was very thankful that we could both shed a few layers.
- Wear an appropriately sized coat. I know that companies sell specially designed coats for baby wearing, but personally, I never found that necessary. Now, for someone who lives in an area where it snows all the time, this might be something worth investing in. However, for my purposes I found that really all I needed was an oversized coat. When Athena was very little and I carried her in front in the Ergo, I wore the same coat I used when I was very pregnant with her to put around both of us. I couldn't quite zip it all the way up, but enough so that it kept both of us warm. Maybe not the most fashionable choice... but who cares about such things when you are out enjoying the sunshine and the fresh cold air on a wintery day? Not me.
- Allow for air. I am guessing that this goes without saying, but make sure your baby is breathing comfortably. Make sure no sweaters, coats, or scarves slip and obstruct air flow to baby. If they are positioned in front, this is easier to monitor. If your baby is on your back, have a partner or friend check them for you.
- Check baby regularly. Most parents do this without needing to be told, but check your baby regularly to make sure they are staying warm and comfortable. No one enjoys being freezing. A cozy, warm baby (for the most part..) will be a happy baby.
- Bring a blanket. This is not specifically related to babywearing, but something that is very important to remember since we have been talking about keeping baby very warm with lots of layers. Make sure, however, when your baby is in the carseat that you do not have lots of layers on them, as this can make the carseat safety measure ineffective in case of an accident. Always put coats on when you have arrived at your destination. During the ride simply put a cozy blanket over baby to keep them warm.
- Do it! The last and final tip I want to leave you with is simply this: "Do it!". Babywearing is wonderful and you will only be able to do it for a short period of time. Just last year I was holding Athena close and snug, and now she's off and running. When else will you have a more perfect excuse to snuggle your baby than when it's cold outside? Enjoy those little moments. Treasure them as best you can.
If you enjoyed reading my tips for babywearing in the winter, be sure and check out my blog for more awesome posts, including how to make your own Homemade Baby Care Products, How to Wash Cloth Diapers, and How to Turn a Receiving Blanket into a Diaper (no-sew method!).
Here's to staying warm this winter season! <3
Thanks so much for reading! My name is Jacquelyn (aka 'crunchy momma') and this is my baby girl, Athena (who we call 'little owl'). I am a wife, a mother a dancer, a lover of good books, a self-educated student of nutrition, a thinker, and a cook. I share bits of my life at www.littleowlcrunchymomma.blogspot.com along with healthy recipes, kitchen tips and much more.
I would love for you to join in our adventures. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
<3 The Crunchy Momma