Choosing the Best Sling for Winter Carrying
A question regularly asked by babywearing parents is “What is the best way to use a baby sling in the winter?”
Carrying your baby in wintertime can be a great way to get out and about together while easily regulating baby’s temperature. There are a few things to consider when choosing a sling and tips to follow to make sure baby is comfortable. Our cold weather wrapping guide will help you choose the perfect sling for your wintertime adventures!
Picking the Right Baby Sling
Picking the right baby sling is certainly important for winter wrapping, for winter carrying you are looking for breathability and temperature regulation. These two properties will ensure that you and your little one maintain regular body temperature in cooler weather.
Choosing a Sling Type
It is also worth considering the type of sling you might want to use in cooler weather. This should be based on the comfort of you and your child, and the method of wrapping up warm you are going to choose.
Read on to find out more about what to wear when carrying in cooler weather!
Choosing a Carry
Carries with multiple passes are advised for cold weather wrapping, these passes act as an extra layer of support and warmth for your little one!
Choosing a Blend for Winter
Pure bamboo blends can also be great in cooler weather, giving wraps a lovely cushy thickness while maintaining a high level of breathability. Bamboo’s moisture-wicking properties are also a bonus if you get a little hot with your little one wrapped close.
Ideal for cooler weather as wool has great temperature regulating properties, meaning it will be easier for your child to cool off and keep warm as the weather fluctuates. For those who find regular wool too prickly, cashwool or Superwash wool could be an excellent alternative – all the warmth and breathability of wool with less of the prickle.
What Should You Wear?
There are many different options for keeping you and your little one toasty in cold weather.
Wrapping Under a Normal Coat
This can be a great option for newborns or very little children. This method has the benefit of keeping your child close to your natural body heat – meaning they will find it easy to regulate their own body temperature and you will soon know if they are overheating.
Top tip: If you choose a double-breasted coat then you can wear it with and without your little one!
Using a Babywearing Coat
This is a very popular option and there are many different styles available. They are generally easy to use and often have a panel that you can insert to make the coat big enough to fit around you both, whilst still having the option to wear as normal when baby is not being carried. They often function to allow back and front carrying too!
Another approach is a zip-in panel for your existing coat. These can be bought separately, for use in any coat with a zip. This is great for people who would prefer to modify their existing clothing rather than buy a whole new coat! Of course, this wouldn’t work for back carrying.
Carrying Over Your Coat
Layering your child up in their warm clothes is essential if you are going to carry this way, as you will be sharing less body heat. This is a really nice option for those with bigger kids who want to be up and down regularly.
If you are going to wrap over your coat consider the extra bulk involved in this method. You may need a longer wrap than usual, and it may be harder to get a snug fit for your little one. Do ensure your coat is snug against you to avoid any slipping and take an extra few minutes to check your child’s position & comfort before setting off!
Simply Layer Up & Forget The Coat
This was Oscha CEO, Zoe’s, favourite method when she was carrying her kids. Making sure everyone is bundled up and cosy, with coats, booties, gloves and hats for the kids.
“I would just put on a cosy jumper along with hat and gloves. I found that using a long (preferably) wool-blend wrap and the heat of my little one was plenty to keep me cosy on long winter walks. It was like having a wee hot water bottle!”Zoe, Oscha's Founder
A Double Hammock is a nice carry for this method as you get wrapped up too. Again, make sure that you are achieving a snug carry when using this method.
An oversized hoodie or cardigan can be worn over the top of both of you to make this method even more toasty!
Before Heading Out ...
Check if paths are icy, make sure you have grippy shoes and would be comfortable walking alone before deciding to carry your little ones … we would recommend detachable shoe grips such as Yaktrax for keeping safe on icy paths!
When wrapping in colder weather it is important to consider the safety of you and your little one, there are a few extra checks which you should make when using a baby sling in winter weather.
Watch Out for Overheating
Very tiny babies will find it difficult to regulate their own body temperature, especially if they are separated from your body heat by layers of clothing. Make sure you are regularly checking they are a comfortable temperature – not too hot, or too cold.
The best way to do this is to feel your little one’s chest if it is very cold or a little sweaty then they are probably not comfy – this should be addressed quickly.
Bigger kids are better at regulating their body temperature and are more able to tell you if they are uncomfortable – check-in with them regularly to make sure all is well.
Keep Airways Clear
When wrapping in colder weather there are more layers of clothing to contend with. You should be checking frequently that your little one’s airways are clear and their face is not too bundled up in clothing or obscured by scarves. Thick or over-large snowsuits are best to be avoided, as the excess fabric can bunch up around the face and impact normal breathing.
Be Mindful of Positioning
While well-fitting snowsuits can be a great way to keep kids warm in extreme cold (if airways are clear), babywearers should be careful of ‘starfishing’. Starfishing is where a child’s legs are stretched straight by the bulk of their warm clothing, causing them to hang down. This isn’t good for blood flow or for ergonomic positioning. Make sure your child has good mobility in their legs and that their movement is not restricted by clothing. Thin, warm layers are a great way to make sure your child is able to breathe easily and is always comfy. Using thick socks and booties over leggings, trousers or tights is a preferred option.
Parents should also be mindful of extra bulk in the nappy area, especially if cloth nappies are being used, as this extra padding may make it difficult for healthy blood flow to your little one’s extremities.
Keeping Your Little One Snug
Keeping your little one’s head, fingers and toes toasty is important to consider in winter weather.
Layers are the key to winter wrapping: lots of thin layers for you and your little one will make sure you are both toasty without the bulk. Using layers also means you can quickly and easily remove items of clothing if your child starts to overheat. Similarly, more layers can be added easily if the weather takes a chilly turn.
Hats, gloves, socks and thermal booties are a must for winter carrying – any exposed skin on bitter days should be avoided! Woollen tights are a great way to avoid a gap appearing between socks and shoes … tights can be perfect for boys and girls, especially when they are very small and might not be able to alert you to their chilly ankles!
We hope this helps you when considering which sling to choose for winter weather. If you need any more support give us a message using our chat service and we'll be happy to help you further.