Heat, Holidays and Babywearing…
Babywearing in the hot weather brings about many worries and questions. Here we will try to help reassure you.
Can I use a sling in hot weather?
Absolutely! Did you know that mother and child can thermoregulate? The body adapts to the heat which makes sense when we consider mothers who babywear in much hotter countries. There are a few things to take into consideration though:
Sweating: We sweat, babies sweat. Sweating actually cools us down, and so skin to skin can help regulate our babies who are less well practiced than us. It is important to replace the fluids for both of you so make sure you are each drinking plenty. If you are breastfeeding under 6 months, DO NOT give extra water, just boob all the while baby wants to, but drink plenty yourself. If you bottle feed under 6 months, DO NOT add extra water to your bottle but again, feed on demand unless a professional has advised otherwise. Over 6 months, do offer extra water/boob appropriate to your child’s stage of development. Either way, slings are a great way of eating/feeding on the go! Back carrying is a really useful way of sneaking an extra ice cream in without sharing
Damp Muslin: Speaking of sweating, it can feel a little uncomfortable. You could place a damp muslin between you and baby. Be sure not to make it too cold as that will cause goose pimples which is our bodies way of trying to warm up – and we don’t want that! You can each remove layers of clothing to compensate and help with the sweating. It is common for babies to be in just their nappies when it’s really hot – but be aware of sunburn.
Sun care: It is really important that you both apply sun cream regularly. A good factor 30 that is both UVA and UVB protective will be great, and some brands are considered not to stain – such as Green People. If you have hired a sling, please speak with your librarian first as staining may count as damage and affect your deposits. Wearing a large sun hat is another option, as well as handhelds fans and staying in the shade.
Time of day: Consider when you go out. Whether it be a sling, in arms or a pushchair, it may be useful to consider leaving the main parts of your travelling when it is cooler. If using a pram, please DO NOT drape anything over to shade baby. (Read more here).
How long should I carry for in the heat?
This can vary greatly as there are so many variables. It is important to monitor both the child and the wearers wellbeing. Taking regular breaks in the heat regardless of babywearing, is best. One study awaiting publishing noted that there was very little temperature change within the 10 minutes of experiment time but more details are to come about temperature and time wearing – Read here about this experiment!
What sling should I use?
There are alternate ways of wrapping that offer less ‘passes’ of fabric across baby, or using a ring sling or buckle carrier with a hip carry however these can be trickier to learn and it is best to see a consultant. You can book with us here.
Some carriers have UV protection, others have mesh panels for airflow. Whichever you use, all the above still applies.