It’s not officially summer yet, but it is already very warm in many parts of Australia, and the questions about what carrier or wrap to use in hot weather are coming thick and fast.
Babywearing in the summer is hot. If you venture outside in plus 30 degrees Celsius weather with another human being attached to you, it’s going to be sweaty. There’s not really much you can do to stop this completely, I don’t think there is any such thing as a cool option in that kind of weather, just less hot options. Keep in mind that in some parts of Australia it is over 30 degrees nearly every day of the year, with high humidity, and people that live there still babywear – so it can be done!
So what should you look for? Thin and airy is the ideal – the more airflow you can get, the greater your chance of staying cool. In terms of soft structured carriers, there are a few brands that have a mesh panel instead of traditional canvas – look out for the Kinderpack, Pognae, Ergo Ventus and Connecta, to name a few.
The list of wraps that are best suited to hot weather is too long to list here, but you want to look for something thin, probably less than around 220-240gsm, and with an airy weave. The good news is that many of the all cotton entry-level wraps fit this bill – think brands like Girasol, Little Frog or Vatanai. The bad news is that if you’re carrying a toddler, a thin, lightweight wrap may not give you the support you need, or the comfort. If you’re carrying a bub over 10kg, you might need to look a bit harder to find a suitable hot weather wrap – perhaps something with hemp but with an airy weave like a Didymos Indio might fit the bill, or a lightweight cotton/linen blend (try Oscha), or it might even be worth looking into the world of handwoven wraps, where the comfort level and cush tends to be higher than machine wovens of a similar weight.
Wrapping in a single layer carry like front wrap cross carry (with passes bunched) or kangaroo carry, or a ruck on the back, is the best idea in the hot weather. A ring sling is also a great option in summer as it probably covers the least amount of your body of the babywearing options. Sakura Bloom and Comfy Joey make ring slings from 100% linen, which is a lightweight, breathable material.
For newborns, while I would nearly always suggest a stretchy wrap, if you’re having your baby in November or December, I’d suggest you try a woven wrap or even a gauze wrap like the Calin Bleu or Wrapsody Bali Breeze rather than a stretchy – the jersey material is quite warm and it needs to be worn in a three-layer carry. If it’s going to be hot the whole three to four months you can use it, you’ll probably not use it as much as you’d like. Alternatively, ring slings are also great for newborns, but look for something soft in all cotton, rather than linen, which can be a bit stiff to start with.
What else can you do? Stay indoors when you’re babywearing. If your home is air-conditioned or you’re going to the indoor shopping mall, you probably wont have to worry too much about what wrap or carrier you use in the summer. Obviously this is not always possible though, so be prepared for the fact that it will be hot babywearing outside and consider whether you really have to – could you take the pram? Could you go out first thing in the morning or later in the day? Allow more time to get wherever you’re going, so you don’t need to rush.
Dress appropriately. Try to wear natural fibres, and consider whether baby needs to be dressed at all, perhaps a nappy will be enough. Skin to skin contact with young babies actually helps to regulate their temperature.
Consider a cooling towel. There are a few different ones on the market (try frogg toggs or search on eBay), but you could also put a damp face washer in the fridge to help you cool down.
Stay hydrated. If you’re sweating a lot, make sure to drink enough water, and give baby some extra breastfeeds (or some cool boiled water if bottle feeding and you think bub could do with some more fluids).
How do you beat the heat with your baby?