Babywearing can be incredibly helpful in warm weather, when we’re more likely to be out and about during the day, or staying out later at night. Your wrap can offer a way to manage your normal routine ‘on the go’, especially when it comes to naptimes or feeds.
There are however, some changes that you might want to make when temperatures rise, to help keep both of you comfortable.
Firstly there’s the generic advice for anyone dealing with hot weather.
- Keep hydrated, especially if you are breastfeeding. It is normal for babies to want to nurse more frequently during hot spells, and you need to keep your fluid levels up too
- Stay in the shade where possible. Parasols make great portable sunshades, and you can make a striking fashion statement at the same time. Wraps can be used as make-shift sunshades when not in use. Ours came in handy to block the sun on long car journeys. Remember that any fabric used to shade a baby mustn’t create an enclosure or be too close (especially over prams), otherwise it will raise the ambient temperature for your child.
- Wear cool, light layers. Remember that nappies and slings will equate to layers of clothing over your baby, so they might not need to wear much else, other than to cover their skin from the sun
- Protect your skin. Use sunscreen when possible, and keep babies’ skin covered in full sunlight. A loose layer than blocks the sun will keep them cooler than leaving delicate skin exposed.
- A muslin cloth between your chest and your baby’s head can help you both to feel less sweaty! Remember that sweating is an effective way of regulating both your temperatures, and that being skin to skin may actually help your baby to regulate their own temperature better than being laid in a warm pram. You can also monitor their temperature more effectively in arms.
But we can also offer some wrap specific advice. You need to bear in mind that we’re a company in the North West of England, and what we consider to be ‘cracking the flags’ (very hot) weather might be be your idea of ‘ a bit nippy’ if you live somewhere considerably warmer than us! If that’s the case though, you’re probably already pretty adept at managing the heat. Some of our thicker wool wraps might be easily used all year round in the more temperate UK climate, whereas you might want to knock them off your list for the hottest days in somewhere more tropical and humid…
Before we look at how to adapt your babywearing in the heat, we need to think about where the heat comes from in summer.
There are two main heat sources that you need to manage:
- External heat. This is essentially the warmth of the sun which needs to be prevented from reaching you.
- Internal heat. This is the heat generated by you and your baby, which needs to be allowed to escape from the wrap.
There are 2 main ways that you can manage both of these heat sources
- Your choice of wrap, both in terms of length and the particulars of the cloth.
- How you tie the wrap- what kind of carry you choose to do.
What Wrap Should I Use in Hot Weather?
There is no need to go out and buy a special wrap just for dealing with heat. Changing the way you tie any wrap and altering your general habits will make far more difference to your comfort than just swapping out to your ‘warm weather’ wrap. That said, there are qualities that make some wraps more summer worthy, so you can look for these in your wraps if you have a selection to choose from.
- A lighter coloured wrap will reflect light/heat from the sun and keep you cooler, whereas a darker coloured one will absorb it. Choosing lighter colours where possible will keep you a little cooler.
- Thinner, more airy weave wraps will allow heat to escape more easily, however very thin wraps (like gauze) may actually let more sunlight/heat through. If you’re moving from along wrap with multi-pass carries to something shorter and more simple, then you may find a thicker wrap is more comfortable on bare shoulders, and that one layer of thicker cloth is cooler than two layers of thin wrap.
- Shorter wraps mean less cloth round you in total, and less to carry round with you when not in use
- All natural fibres are good at heat regulation, but some have a natural propensity to absorb body heat and allow it to dissipate away from you. These tend to be the long, hollow fibres such as linen, hemp and even wool.
More important than all of these factors is that you should find the wrap comfortable to use. If you find a think linen wrap doesn’t complement your wrapping style and ends up pinching your shoulders, then it probably isn’t worth the marginal gain in heat dissipation over your regular favourite cotton wrap that you’re so good at tying!
A far more efficient and practical way of keeping cool is to alter the kinds of carries that you are doing.
What Carries Should I Use in Hot Weather?
- Single pass carries will keep you cooler than ones with multiple passes, and can often be done with a shorter wrap. A rucksack or traditional hip carry use very little cloth and work really well.
- Multiple pass carries can often be adapted to be done with a shorter wrap, and tied off in a different way which reduces the amount of cloth tied round you in total. There are variations of both the double hammock and front wrap cross carry that make the whole carry cooler and less bulky without losing any of the support.
- Tying off carries under baby’s bum or with a something like a tibetan or chest pass style finish avoids having a rope of cloth tied round your waist that can make you feel warmer
- If you don’t have a shorter wrap, then you can still use a variation on a longer wrap carry, and use the extra tail as a loose sunshield to cover your baby’s legs, or just tuck the excess tail out of the way- be creative!
Here’s a link to our list of short wrap tutorials, which can be great in warmer weather.