Summer Babywearing Options!

So it’s getting hot out there, people!

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One of the most frequent questions we see around this time of year is how to comfortably babywear during the warmer months in Central Indiana.

I can assure you that all of our educators have spent quite a bit of time in their yards, their neighborhoods, our local trails/walkways, and all of the fantastic Indianapolis parks/festivals/attractions doing a little sweaty summer babywearing throughout our combined years of experience.  And – with that thought – I’ll start with probably the most known part about babywearing in the summer.

You’re going to be hot.

In most cases, you would be sweating already.  But anytime you add baby either in your arms,  on your body, or pushed in a stroller – you’re going to be hotter, and maybe just a little more sweaty than you’d have been otherwise.  In most circumstances, even if you and baby are a little sweaty together, it isn’t going to be dangerous – but obviously take caution during extreme heat or weather.

That said, there are ways to make it more comfortable to wear your child during the warm months – so here are a few of our favorite tips!

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– Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

You and your baby are likely to be much more comfortable if you’ve had plenty to drink.  So long as you and your baby are drinking to thirst, you both may feel a bit better out in the heat.

– Dress lightly underneath

If you know that you’ll be wearing your child, dress both you and your child very lightly.  In summer months – I often will put my daughter in a light, sleeveless romper or dress.  My son usually wore a light pair of shorts and sleeveless tank t-shirt or even just a onesie.  I myself typically wear a light tank and shorts or an airy skirt.  Athletic-inspired wear is also a fantastic option for babywearers, as it tends to wick sweat away from the skin and feels much more comfortable than more traditional fabrics when wearing in the summer.

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– If baby is old enough, consider a back carry

Most times, when I have my child on my back as opposed to my front – I’m less hot and a little more comfortable.  If your baby is old enough (for anyone with less than pretty experienced babywearing skills this would be around the time that your child begins to sit with minimal assistance and has good head control – usually around 6 months), a back carry may be just the way to keep a bit cooler.

– Consider a small fan

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Many caregivers with strollers accessorize with a small clip-on fan to keep baby cool in the hotter excursions, and babywearers can utilize the same benefits.  There have been a few times where I’ve clipped a carabiner misting fan onto our carrier or my keyring/wristlet for a warmer excursion to keep cool.

– Don’t forget sun protection!

Even though baby is worn on your body, they are still being exposed to sun.  For young babies under the recommended usage age for sunscreen, an umbrella or parasol may function well to keep their delicate skin from excessive sun exposure.  Older babies would do well to wear protective clothing, hats, and sunscreen.  Check your child often to see if they need sunscreen reapplied.  When you’re wearing your child, be sure to stand in shade whenever possible to limit the amount of sun exposure during that excursion.

Since we’re done talking basics – let’s now chat about specific carriers to use when wearing your baby.  Here are a few of my favorite options:

– Ring Slings

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A ring sling is a fantastic option for light summer wearing as there is only one layer of fabric encircling baby.  A great way to wear a ring sling in the summer is in a light fabric like linen.  Some babywearers love fabric such as Solarveil for it’s light and airy tendencies, but please be aware that studies have been done showing it does not offer the UV protection it claims to – so baby will still require sun protection.  A shorter sling keeps you cool – and you can even wrap the tail of the fabric around your rings if the added hanging tail is too hot.

– Mei Tai’s

A Mei Tai is an option similar to a soft structured carrier with a bit less fabric and a bit more space for air to breathe through, and works well for summer carries!

– Light Woven Wraps with less passes

For experienced babywearers, wearing your baby in a shorter wrap (such as a size 3, for example) in carries with less passes (such as rucksack tied under baby’s bum) may be a good option.  This limits the amount of fabric to only what you need and typically in this type of carry there is only one layer of fabric over your baby to keep both of you cooler.  Again, if you are not a very experienced babywearer, this should not be your first option.

– SSC’s with Mesh panels

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Kinderpack, a brand made in the U.S.A. that produces soft structured carriers, makes a carrier that boasts the addition of Koolnit, a type of mesh designed to increase airflow.  This keeps baby – and wearer! – a little cooler during those warm summer days.

Lillebaby, another company that designs soft structured carriers, has also recently come out with a carrier displaying a zip-down panel of fabric that, when removed, exposes a panel of mesh for the same purpose.

Water Mesh wraps are another fantastic option for wearing your baby at the pool/beach/etc.  A few notes on those, though.  For safety and visibility reasons, baby should always be worn on your front or hip while in your sling or wrap in the water.  Also, most mesh slings are made specifically for water use, and are not made for long land carries – especially with older, heavier children.  Water slings used on dry land may have more slippage or stretch when dry than a woven wrap or sling would.  Take care to be very mindful of use of these fantastic carriers in scenarios outside of their intended use!

Happy beginning of summer to you all – and keep cool!

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