Ohhh the cold dark days…
When it feels too cold to go outside but you know it will be so good for everyone involved, including yourself. So how to still get ourselves and our little ones getting fresh air outside in the cold?
Babywearing walks or other adventures!
For me, babywearing usually felt like a better choice for winter walks because I could closely monitor my baby and we had body heat to share. But I do worry about the warmth of their legs and feet dangling out.
You can go all out and buy things to make this process warmer or use what you have! Let’s dive in.
General tips on cold weather babywearing
Always attend to your baby and how they’re doing. Check in on their extremities, especially hands and feet in the winter and remember that that’s not a true indication of overall how warm or cold they are (back of neck is a great place to check).
Pay attention to your surroundings walking - ice, snow, slipperiness can make things tricky!
Adjust your expectations. It does take a while to bundle up and the adventure could potentially be short lived. It’s ok, you still got out and that’s a win for everyone.
Front to front caring provides the most shared heat (compared to baby on your back or baby world facing)
Wool base layers are great (helps moderate heat and doesn’t make sweat on you cold)
Generally, the carrier is counted as a layer the baby is wearing
Oversized adult coats are beneficial
Be mindful of outfits and snow suits that have built in feet - do they have room once in the carrier? Often we need to size up to wear footies in the carrier or their little fit get so scrunched once they’re placed in the carrier and the fabric is pulling on them.
Remember, babies don’t regulate their temperature as well as adults do and it’s harder for our babies to tell us they’re too cold. And you might be walking or moving, they are not doing so at the same pace. Please use caution when taking your baby out in less than freezing temperatures.
The internet has mixed opinions on what is “too cold” for a baby to be outside.
In general, none of us should be outside with windchills -15 degrees F or greater because it can cause quick frostbite to exposed skin.
In general, if it’s below freezing, limit your time outside.
There are some factors that come into play too with the temperature conversation, such as
Babywearing (shared body heat) or placing them in a stroller
Type and amount of winter gear baby is wearing
How long you’ll be outside
Windy or not
And on the flip side, watch for overheating too, if they’re really well dressed or if you’re getting really hot or sweaty, etc. All that to say, always monitor and stay close to home if you’re not feeling confident with how they'll respond.
So if your baby is small, under a year, give or take, here is an idea
You can put your carrier on, your baby on, then your coat on.
Then zip the bottom of your coat up as high as you comfortably can so that at least their legs and feet are shielded from the weather. This will also keep you, adult, MUCH warmer. If you wore a zip up sweatshirt or jacket in later months of pregnancy, generally that same garment can work over a small baby.
If most of their back is showing, you can’t zip your coat, and/or if you're using a lightweight carrier (like a Solly wrap) you can put a blanket or scarf around their back and tuck it into your coat. I’ve also heard of people using a loop nursing cover (or scarf) around the adults neck and then spanned out over baby’s back, legs, and feet.
Actually this is how I ran errands with my December baby in WI too, once we started venturing out in Jan and beyond. In the store, I just took my coat in the cart and kept my baby close in the carrier - eased me and baby and gave my baby less car seat time!
Generally, I would dress my son in long sleeves, pants and socks, maybe a sweater, then the fleece suit that covered his feed and hands and a hat.
Here are some images for you
Bigger babies or lacking big coats
Get your gear on, get your carrier on, place your bundled up baby or toddler in the carrier.
Maybe they’re dressed warm enough just like that or you can also place a blanket or shall over your baby or a babywearing cover or carseat poncho!
Things you can buy
There are things you can buy to make your experience warmer (but are not required):
Babywearing coat that can extend around your baby and you (can also be used while pregnant)
Coat extender (can also be used while pregnant)
Would love to hear what works for you!
Want to figure out where to start for you and your baby or toddler? Or check in that you're babywearing safely?
This is for entertainment purposes and not medical advice.