Categories: Issue 36 - Summer 2017 and We Asked an Expert.
author: kellynorman.

Summer Baby Wearing Tips

Question: What can parents do to stay cool in the hot summer months while wearing their baby?

Answer: There are not a lot of carriers that will truly leave you feeling cool and breezy while carrying a child. This is due to biology: a mom’s body temperature automatically rises if she’s carrying her child on her chest, and a man’s body will overheat more easily than a woman’s. However, there are adjustments we can make to keep cooler and more comfortable.

Q: I like to wear a wrap. What do you recommend?

A: If you love wrapping, you’ll want to look for a wrap that is thin enough to be supportive, yet allows the sweat to come to the surface and dry off faster. This process is known as “wicking.”

If your child is small enough, a gauze wrap could do the trick. You might also consider trying different fabric blends like linen or hemp. But don’t always rely on the label: Do your research, as some of these wraps can be quite thick. A thin wool blend wrap can be a good option, too.

Q: Do you recommend different tying techniques in hot weather?

A: A carry with three passes (this is when the carrier is wrapped around the body three times) is too warm for a hot day. Consider trying out new wrapping techniques that rely on fewer passes. A supported ruck is always a favourite of mine on those sticky days. You might also consider back wrapping or a hip carry.

We feel heat differently on different parts of our bodies, so use summer as a reason to switch things up. Change positions if you’re out for the day and find you’re getting too hot, or bring your partner along so you can take turns baby wearing.

Q: What about using other types of carriers?

A: If you’re fond of using mei tais (meh dai), onbuhimos, or just love your structured carrier, congratulations! These are automatically cooler because the sides allow for more airflow than a tightly wrapped child.
However, some brands can be made from thick synthetics. Choose one made with natural fibres that allow for “breathability,” such as a wrap conversion or a carrier made with natural cotton.

Some brands are making carriers with a cool weave mesh panel that allows the sweat to wick off your baby’s back. Some of these are even convertible, allowing you to unzip a panel or remove it for summertime.

Q: What about ring slings?

A: Ring slings are usually airy, as they tend to be made with natural fibres and have only one layer around the child’s body. You can try slings with fibres that wick sweat more easily like a nice linen. You can also try a water sling, but many don’t provide enough support when carrying an older child.

Q: Okay, all of this is good to know. But what about sunburn?

A: It is not recommended to use sunscreen on babies under 6 months of age. Thankfully, the easiest way to avoid sunburn is prevention.

The sun is strongest between 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. One option is to limit your activities during peak hours, but this isn’t always a good option. Getting out of the house and enjoying what the community has to offer is part of what makes summer great. And as parents know, baby doesn’t always accommodate leaving the house on a predetermined schedule!
Thankfully, there are many things to protect us during peak sun hours. I would recommend wide brimmed hats for both you and your little one. However, if you’re wearing baby on your back, check that the brim of your hat isn’t hitting your child in the face.

If you have a baby who hates wearing hats, or just manages to get out of all of them, consider using a parasol. There’s nothing like a golf umbrella to provide you with a portable shade blanket as you enjoy a summer festival or garage sale.

Finally, take a good look at what both you and your child are wearing to head outside. If you’re worried about their legs, consider using baby legs. Choose fibres that allow for the sweat to be wicked away on both your bodies.
And most importantly of all, enjoy summer!

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Kelly Norman
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