Sarah Brough, ‘Master Baby Wearer’ from Slingtastic in Wilton, Wiltshire explains to Country Child, how you can still use your baby carrier even in the summer heat…
As I write this, torrential rain is bouncing off the tarmac outside my shop, but being good old blighty, I know that in a day or two we may have some of that really warm weather that we all long for. The weather that makes us want to leave the house, head to the nearest village fete or sandy beach and forget some of the responsibilities and chores that come with everyday life.
So how can we carry on carrying our babies in the heat?
Young babies particularly, are not able to regulate their temperature and the risks of overheating are now well known as they have been linked to an increase in SIDS. Some babies are just warmer than others and this is an area where you are the best person to judge how warm your child is, through frequent checking and watching for signs of distress. But to help you make that judgement and regulate the temperature in a sling, here is a summary of the current guidance and advice for summer Babywearing.
What your baby wears:
• A baby in a sling needs to wear less – look at the layers and thickness of your sling and consider that to be layers of your baby’s clothing.
• A single layer of a natural fibre like cotton is generally recommended and if you find yourself going somewhere very cool suddenly, you can always wrap an extra layer of your own clothing around your sling.
• When it is really hot your baby does not need to wear any clothes at all in the sling, just his/her nappy will be enough.
• If you are going to be in and out of the sun, you may need to make sure that legs, arms and the head and neck are covered to give delicate skin some protection from the sun, but please be aware that most thin summer fabrics will not fully protect skin from UV rays. Remember that you will be aiming not to go out for long periods in the direct sunlight at the hottest time of the day with a baby anyway – this will make a difference but sometimes we forget about this when we are actually choosing our sling.
What you wear:
• We often spend so much time making sure everything is great for our babies that we forget about ourselves. But carrying your child should be enjoyable, so your comfort matters! Also, if you are too hot, it will affect the temperature of your baby in your sling.
• Thin layers are your friend. Skin to skin is great for young babies but when it gets really hot it can get a bit sticky. So if you are wearing a strappy top for example, but find it a bit sticky where your baby’s head rests on your chest, try putting a muslin between you and your baby.
• Sometimes a thin layer under your baby and your sling then allows you to put on a loose fitting shirt or similar over the top of your sling once your baby is in. This can be more comfortable than an extra layer under the straps.
Hats and Slings
• Try and find a lightweight hat for your baby with a flap to cover their neck, or a wide brim to keep sun off sleeping necks (they are often called Legionnaires hats).
• If you can wear a wide brimmed hat too, it can also go quite a long way towards keeping direct sunlight off your baby.
Hot weather slings
• Slings made from specialist fabric are becoming increasingly popular. They are designed to let heat out (e.g. Beco Cool, Moby Aria, Lillebaby Airflow, Sukkiri) and sometimes to keep UV rays off (e.g. Connecta Solarweave). They are designed and tested to be used all year round, but obviously come into their own in the summer. However most people find they do not need a special summer sling in the UK.
• Some slings are just cooler by design. Ring Slings have just one layer of (usually) cotton over you and the baby and do not tighten under the armpits like some buckle carriers. A woven wrap can also be worn with only a thin layer over you both and some brands and weaves are considered much cooler than others. Many people choose cotton woven with bamboo or linen for a cooler feel to the fabric.
• Babies will need more frequent feeds in hot weather – whether that is through breastfeeding, bottle feeding or from a cup or bottle.
• You will need to drink more as well.
• Carry a water spritz of some sort to spray cool water on you both when it gets really hot
• Keep your sling somewhere cool – remember that a sling kept in a hot car on a sunny windowsill will be uncomfortable and difficult to get down to a good temperature. Some people use freezer cool blocks to cool down slings or keep them cool on car journeys – but your baby may also object to it being too cold when they get in!
• Older babies may find it cooler to be carried on your back than on your front.
To find our more about what type of slings or carrier you may be interested in visit Sarah at Wilton Shopping Village near Salisbury or call 07825 442110. www.slingtastic.com