Babywearing in Winter
Nov 17, 2015
Babywearing in the winter is one of the easiest ways to get outside and enjoy the snow, while also being able to soak up that much needed vitamin D. It's quick, easy, and beats pushing a stroller through 6 inches of snow. Winter babywearing brings plenty of great opportunities to enjoy the brisk and snowy season, as well as some challenges. So here are some tips on how you can safely babywear through the winter months.
Warmth is a concern any time you head outdoors, especially for our little ones. Just as wearing mittens keeps your fingers warmer than gloves, wearing is also a warmer alternative for your baby versus the stroller or car seat. You're also more aware of your baby's temperature, and able to help them better regulate it. A woven wrap or soft structured carrier (ie Ergo or Tula) with a coat covering both of you is ideal for sharing warmth, while also keeping your baby cozy and comfortable.
Front carries are ideal in winter as you can see what your little one is doing and seeing, while also monitoring closely how the cold is affecting them. You can adjust their hat and ensure they haven't pulled off their mittens. Infants tend to gasp when cold air hits their faces, and front carries can give you extra peace of mind by letting you monitor their breathing and cover them accordingly. Of course, any material directly in front of their face (such as a thick scarf around your own neck) can be a suffocation hazard, so be aware that their airways are clear at all times. Draping a blanket around your baby can add a layer of warmth, but again always ensure that they have plenty of fresh air to breathe and that no fabric is directly in front of their face. Be aware as well of your child's comfort level, and let their cheeks get rosy in the wintry sun... So long as it's not a blistering cold that will cause frost bite. Back carries are also a great option if your little one is more comfortable in a rear position or the child is older, but make sure you are aware of their comfort level and that they haven't decided to ditch their hat somewhere in a snow bank along the way. Get comfortable and confident wrapping on the back before the snow hits.
Be aware of the ground when walking and wear good, grippy boots. No one wants the sudden surprise of slipping on ice, or a fall. Front babywearing can leave a "blind spot" in your viewing path and back wearing can leave you a little unsteady when it is icy. Running and outdoor gear stores sell spikes that can be worn on the bottom of your boots, giving you extra traction in snow and ice. If you are just learning about babywearing or are not experienced, practice indoors before you head out. And obviously don't attempt downhill skiing, tobogganing, or other ice/winter sports while babywearing. Safety first!
You can wrap over a babe or tot in snow pants and coats, but it can be tricky to get tight, secure passes. Snow suits are made of slippery material, and are harder to work with when babywearing. Investing in fleece or non-slip fabric outerwear (as well as dressing in multiple, thin layers) can make a world of difference, though you may have to hunt a litter harder to find the right material that works for both you and your carrier.
Lastly, you don't need to invest in a big expensive babywearing coat, though there are some beautiful ones available. Take a trip to the nearest thrift shop and find a men's XL (or any coat a size or two up from your own) and you have yourselves a babywearing jacket for $5-$20. A thrift store find can also be turned into a DIY babywearing jacket for back wearing by cutting a slit in the back, though you may want to still both dress in a light coat underneath to ensure no one gets chills through the gaps where the coat doesn't cover them fully... Especially when babe likes to stick their arms out and wave hello to the world. If your budget allows you some wiggle room to get a jacket suited for babywearing - and you're going to get good use out of it - then go ahead and indulge.
Winter can be enjoyed so much more when we are outside and a part of it. I mean, really, in Canada you can't stay cooped up inside for winter ESPECIALLY when some provinces experience winter for four to eight months of the year. Babywearing can provide a much needed break by getting out when the weather is nice enough for walking, snowshoeing, or even cross country skiiging (if you are confident enough in your skiing skills). It allows you to celebrate winter, while creating last memories with your family.
By Chani Palindat