Babywearing in the winter can be one of the easiest ways to be outside enjoying the snow, and soaking up vitamin D. It’s quick, easy, and sure beats pushing a stroller around in 6 inches of snow! Winter babywearing brings with it lots of great opportunities to enjoy the season, but also some challenges. Here are some tips on how we can do babywearing safely through the snowy winter months.
Warmth is a concern any time you head outdoors in the winter for all of us but especially for our little ones. Just as mitts keep your fingers warmer than gloves, so does babywearing keep your baby warmer than a stroller or a car seat. We can help regulate our baby’s temperature and also stay aware of how they are fairing in the cold. A wrap or a soft structured carrier with a coat covering both of you would be ideal in sharing the warmth and keeping baby comfortable. You don’t need a big expensive babywearing coat though there are some beautiful ones available so if it’s in your budget go for it! Otherwise take a trip to the nearest thrift shop and find a men’s XL coat (or any coat a size or two up from yours) and you have yourselves a babywearing jacket all for under $5.
Front Carries are ideal in winter as you can see all that your little one is up too and how the cold is effecting them. You can adjust their hat and ensure they haven’t pulled their mitts off. Back carries can work as well if they are more comfortable and your child is older. Just make sure you are aware of their comfort level and that they haven’t ditched a hat somewhere in a snow bank along the way. You can wrap over coats and snow pants, but it is pretty tricky to get tight secure passes, and snow pants can be slippery material. Practice indoors and take time to tighten each rail, if you are using a wrap. That $5 upcycled jacket with a slit cut in the back makes for a quick DIY babywearing jacket for when your child is worn on your back though a lighter coat might still be required as there may be gaps where the coat doesn’t cover them fully (or if they enjoy having arms out) but you can still cover both of you giving the added benefit of shared body heat.
Infants tend to gasp when cool air hits their faces. Front carries can allow you to monitor their breathing and cover them accordingly. Any material directly in front of their face can be a suffocation hazard so be sure all airways are clear. Draping a blanket around your baby can add a layer of warmth but always ensure he or she has plenty of fresh air to breath and no fabric is directly in front of their face. Be aware of your child’s comfort level and if it’s not biting cold let their little cheeks see the sun.
Lastly, remember it can get slippery out there! Use common sense! If it’s icy out and you don’t feel steady on your feet don’t go jogging down an icy sidewalk. Running stores and outdoor gear stores sell spikies to be worn on the bottom of your boots. These will give you traction in the snow and ice. This might be a good thing to have if you plan to go for regular walks. If you are just learning about babywearing and are not experienced, practice indoors before you head out for a nice winter walk (obviously dont go tobogganing or downhill skiing while babywearing). Remember too, that the safest place for your baby to be is on you.
Winter can be enjoyed so much more when we are outside being apart of it and it’s just too long to stay cooped up inside! Babywearing can provide a much needed break while we walk, snowshoes, or even cross country ski (if you are confident enough in your skiing skills). It certainly has enabled me to not just tolerate winter, but to celebrate it and to create great memories with my children.
Brie is an outdoor enthusiast who met and married her husband while working at a outdoor education camp 10 years ago. Her kids are aged 9,5, and 2, with another due in May. Winter has never stopped her from being outside and neither has children. She is an experienced babywearer and teaches baby wearing to moms groups, prenatal classes, and privately as a trained Uppymama Independent Babywearing Consultant (UIBC).