Summer Babywearing – A guide of how to wear your baby in the heat

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Babywearing in the heat can be quite a challenge, especially for new babywearers, it’s hard to believe that the baby won’t over heat, let alone that your body will adapt to cool or warm your baby. Our breast area is the perfect place for babies not only is it a comfortable cushioned area, that fosters baby’s C shape straight after birth, it also protects babies vulnerable vital organs.

Babies are born with a large amount of back fat this again is an evolutionary clue, that babies were once held close to mothers breasts, to be kept warm, safe and close to their food source. The term Kangaroo Care, was coined after the way marsupials – such as Kangaroo’s hold their young. Kangaroo Care has been used with great effect for pre-term baby’s to regulate temperature, breathing and heart rate. which in turn reduces their stress levels and helps growth.

Kangaroo in its basic principle, is used by placing an undressed baby on the mothers bare chest, with a blanket over baby’s back, or down the mothers top as an extra layer to keep in heat. Taken a step further a wrap is introduced.

Using this same principle and with both mother and child wearing clothes the same temperature, breathing and heart rate regulation still occurs.

Common sense need to be exercise however, as a general rule of thumb a baby needs to have one extra layer than the parent, so depending on how warm the day, and which carrier you are using, should dictate the amount of clothing you place on baby.

Stretchy Wraps

Most stretchy wraps have at least 2 layers, so depending on the heat, placing baby in a light sleepsuit or vest or even just a nappy, may be needed.

Woven Wraps

The nature of a woven wrap is that it has less give than a stretchy, so you can wrap in a single layer, meaning the layers of clothing may need to be increased.

Mei Tai, Onbu’s & SSC’s

As these carriers are mainly panelled with space for air to circulate around baby more, they can be a great way to keep both mother and baby cool, but also can mean layers need to be increased according to the weather.

Fabrics

Natural materials such as Cotton, Linen, Hemp, and Bamboo are more breathable allowing air to pass through. Linen by nature, weaves with more of a gap between fibres, so is said to be cooler than other fibre’s, the downside to linen, is that it creases easier and in woven wraps can take time to soften up.

Ring Slings & Pods

Single layers and type of fibres should be considered before dressing baby ( see Fabrics and Woven Wraps )

Mum’s Comfort

Mum’s can dress down to just a layer ( or even nakedness, if you are brave enough ) such as a camisol top for there own comfort. Baby will become sweaty ( from you ) so having a muslin or small cloth over your skin will help any uncomfortableness you could feel. Just be aware that the material needs to be free of baby’s face.

Skin Safety

When in the full sun, its always advisable to pop some suncream on any bits of baby’s skin that are likely to get burned. A sun hat can protect their head, remembering a baby loses most heat through the head, so keeping layers to a minimum to compensate is advised. And umbrella can also be used to keep sun of you both or a take refuge in a shadey nook.

Lastly, i have heard people suggest using an ice pack between mum and baby, however i would advise against this as the safety aspects of dropping a baby’s temperature too quickly and also risk of freezer burns.

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