A baby carrier in the cold – what do you do?

Melissa wearing 3 month old Ruth at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Melissa wearing 3 month old Ruth at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Well the dark cold months are here, aren’t they? A popular question at the library is how do you use a carrier when it’s so cold and wet out. Great question!

For rain, cold or warm, my top tip is an umbrella. You have free hands after all, and baby should be high and tight so he’ll naturally be under the umbrella, too. In fact, this also works when you’re going on a sunny holiday to keep baby in the shade. (Oh we can dream!)

But when it’s cold out, like it has been in London in the last week or so, I recommend layers. The NHS recommends that babies wear one more layer than you and in the baby carrier serves as that extra layer.

Then to keep the cold off, you have a few options. First check out your and/or your partner’s closet. You can look for capes and shawls to cover you both with. An extra large zippered sweatshirt or a jacket is another great choice.

You can buy a purpose built add on, such as a cover that works for both prams and carriers. I have a bundle bean available in the library to rent as an example of an option. There are a few companies that will also make a custom insert to a jacket you already own, either matching a zipper or a set of buttons.

Further still, there are a number of specifically modified jacket, sweatshirts, and fleece vests on the market that come with an extra panel or fabric that makes room for the baby under the same layer. These often come with some sort of pregnancy adaptation, too, which is great and makes them long lasting.

Paul wearing 2 year old Isaac at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Paul wearing 2 year old Isaac at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

If you think you’ll be wearing your baby on your back, then I highly recommend a jacket with an adaptation for back wearing as well. A shawl can be great, too! Come down to the library and Isaac will gamely demonstrate how he gets into a jacket that I’m tossing over his head. Honestly, this has been great as he’s a jacket refusing toddler, but then at least I know he’s covered with mine on those dreary wet days.

Generally speaking, your baby’s torso will be very warm within the carrier against you. Do make sure the legs and head remain extra warm. This you can do with hats, some even have parts that come down and cover baby’s neck and chest, too. My must have item for the cold are baby leg warmers. These are great for keeping legs warm when out and are an easy layer to peal off when you go into somewhere warm but don’t want to take the baby out.

Of course you can always wear baby over your jacket, but you’ll lose some efficiencies doing that, such as sharing body heat. You’ll also need to adjust for the extra bulk of jackets, but the same rules apply about safety. Do make sure you’re monitoring baby’s airway and temperature if you decide on this method. Once baby is walking and running, sometimes this is the best option so you won’t have to carry their jacket around, too! (Unless you have a jacket refusing toddler like me!)

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