I remember wrapping my baby one late spring morning before our walk, only to realize after a few minutes into the stroll what a huge mistake it was. It was a surprisingly summery day and I used our stretchy wrap, which turned out to be way too hot with the 3 layer carry. We cut the walk short and I opted for our mesh soft-structured carrier for the afternoon walk. It was so much better… Since then, I’ve been more careful when babywearing in summer.
When it comes to babywearing in the heat, the most crucial thing is to avoid overheating.
Here are my best tips for babywearing in hot weather.
1. Pick suitable clothes for babywearing in summer
The baby carrier or wrap counts as one layer of clothing (assuming a one-layer carry with the wrap). So pick fewer layers for both you and baby. That said, it’s best to keep a layer between you and your baby to avoid stickiness from sweating. Just a word of caution here. You might think you’ll be fine because you wear something anyway when around and about, which counts as one layer. But wearing your baby at the correct “kissable” height in a low-cut tank top can result in an unpleasant sweatiness if the weather is super hot. A higher cut top or a thin muslin between you will help. Natural fabrics like cotton, bamboo, and linen are usually more breathable, thus cooler. Choose tightly woven fabrics for better UV protection. Oh, and don’t forget a sunhat with neck coverage for the baby.
2. Protect the sensitive baby skin
Babies under 6 months don’t have sufficient melanin production to protect their skin from sunburn. But young babies’ skin is quite sensitive, so try to avoid or minimize the sunscreen usage under 6 months. It’s best to keep young babies out of direct sunlight. You can protect your little one’s skin by choosing lightweight, loose, but tightly woven clothes covering their arms and legs as well. Sometimes the weather is way too hot even for thin long sleeves and long pants though. In this case, you can protect the exposed skin of older babies or toddlers with kids-friendly sunscreen. For younger babies, covering their skin with a thin UV blanket can be helpful. You can find UV covers specifically for baby carriers, but with a little creativity, you can fix a normal UV blanket to the carrier as well. Just make sure you don’t use the blanket for the baby’s head so that the air doesn’t get trapped near the airways (see tip 6).
3. Find or create shade
Try to stay in the shade with your baby while babywearing in hot weather. Sure, sometimes it’s impossible. On those occasions, a parasol or umbrella can provide some portable shade.
4. Avoid the hottest hours
The midday hours are usually very hot because the sun is at its peak. But depending on where you live, the heat might be accumulating up until 3 pm or even 6 pm in some places, making the afternoon incredibly hot. Do your best to avoid the hottest hours, and if you absolutely must go out, keep the sun exposure to a minimum.
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Your baby needs extra hydration in hot weather. Take frequent breaks and offer extra fluids to your little one while babywearing in summer. If you’re breastfeeding, make sure you also compensate for the higher milk intake. And even if you’re not nursing, you still need to replace all the fluids lost through sweating.
6. Check your baby often while babywearing in summer
It’s always recommended to pay attention to your baby while carrying and it’s even more important in hot weather. On a hot day, it’s also really helpful to take regular breaks in the shade. Make sure there’s plenty of airflow near the baby’s airways. Closed carrier hoods or any other fabric covering the face might provide UV protection, but they can trap warm air, thus reducing the airflow. Check regularly if your baby is too warm by touching the nape of the neck. If your little one’s neck is too hot, her cheeks are flushed or she is breathing rapidly, take her out of the carrier to prevent overheating.
7. Keep the air moving
How pleasant it is to feel a summer breeze on a hot day. If the heat is getting overwhelming, a traditional hand fan or a handheld electric fan can provide relief.
8. Be careful with AC
No doubt, AC is super useful in hot weather. But be careful because the temperature difference can be too much for babies when moving in and out of an airconditioned room. It’s a good idea to bring a thin layer with you to cover your little one when entering an airconditioned area after the heat.
Not all baby carriers and wraps are suitable for summer babywearing. Choose carriers designed especially for babywearing in summer. Besides, lightweight wraps with a single layer carry or ring slings are also great options. And it’s good to know that some carry positions and variations are better suited for hot weather.
10. Prepare for the beach/pool
A beach or pool is so much fun, aren’t they? If you’d like to wear your baby near or in the water, make sure that the fabric is a quick-drying one and be extra cautious at the slippery decks.