If you’re like me and aren’t lucky enough to hibernate all winter long or move south until summer comes back, bringing baby out into the cold is inevitable. If you have an older child too, it’s a guarantee with all the sledding, snow angel making and ice skating they want to do! It doesn’t have to be unbearably cold for you or baby though. Babywearing is a great way to keep you both warm and happy.
Any style of carrier works in the winter, but some are more convenient than others. Wraps are warm, but the dangling ends are more likely to get wet or dirty from wrapping outside. You can avoid this by wrapping before you leave. I prefer a soft structured carrier (ssc) like Lillebaby, Onya or Tula because they are quick and easy to put on and take off. If you are able, try putting your child in the carrier while still in the car to avoid the shocking blast of cold air. If that is not an option, speed is of the essence! Have your carrier on and ready to put baby in when you open the car door.
For quick trips outside like running into the store, I suggest bringing a small blanket that you can tuck around baby until you get inside. You should not dress them in too many layers if you won’t be outside long, because young babies can quickly overheat once they get inside.
Here in Michigan, we have many outdoor festivals and activities revolving around ice and snow, so we always have hats, mittens, blankets and coats in the car! If you know you’ll be outside frequently and for a while, I suggest investing in some wool clothing for your baby. Sloomb playwoolies are great for keeping dangling legs warm. Cotton and fleece also work well, but don’t have the same temperature regulating properties wool has. Wool socks, mittens, shirt and hat are also helpful.
Dress both you and baby in thin layers, and make the last 2 layers easy to remove in case you start to overheat. I wear long johns, a t-shirt, a zip up fleece or sweatshirt, then my coat. Big coats are nice when babywearing so you can wrap baby in it as well. There are also babywearing sweatshirts all over the internet now, but I have heard mixed reviews on them and have not tried one myself. Use them at your own digression. For baby, I use a long sleeve wool or cotton onesie or long johns, a long sleeve shirt over the onesie then a zip up sweatshirt or 2 if it’s really cold. Winter coats are extremely bulky on young children/babies, so I prefer to double sweatshirts. Footie pajamas may seem like a great idea, but if they get pulled too tight on baby’s feet they can cut off circulation. If you want to go a size up, they will work alright as the second layer, but always make sure there is some slack in the toes. Snow suits work great for the outer later on smaller babies, but again, go a size up.
Carrier covers are also a great investment, or if you have mediocre sewing skills, you can make your own. It is a hooded blanket that straps on by your shoulders, and has elastic around the bottom to go under baby. In a pinch, you can also use a regular blanket and just tie around your back and tuck it in, or a car seat poncho tucked in.
The easiest way to tell if they are comfortable is to feel the back of their neck. If they feel extra warm or cold, adjust your layers accordingly. If they seem extra fussy, check to make sure the carrier isn’t too tight or putting pressure in a weird place due to extra bulk. You will have to wear baby slightly looser because of this, but still follow the instructions of your carrier to ensure safe babywearing.
I hope these tips help keep you both warm this winter. Don’t let the crisp winter air keep you cooped up inside!
Whispered by: Jessica McCormack is mom to 2 year old Evelyn, and step mom to 11 year old Keira. She enjoys being active inside and out all year round, and playing music semi-professionally all around Mid-Michigan.
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