Babywearing in winter: you can do it!

24 02 2010

If you live in a cold, snowy climate you may be hesitating about babywearing when taking your child from the car and into stores, etc to run errands. In the spring/summer months – sure it’s no problem if it takes a couple of minutes to reach into the car and then get your baby comfortably positioned in a sling, wrap, carrier or whatever babywearing gear you’ve got on.

But in winter…it’s no fun scrambling to get your baby into babywearing position when it’s -20 C…oh and the windchill makes it feel like -30 C.

Me and Ali - January 2010

Me and Ali - January 2010

Well I can tell you first hand that babywearing in winter isn’t as difficult as you might think. It just takes a little preparation.

Before going any further, I need to state that I have a stroller and do indeed “stroll” with my baby from time to time. I’m not against strollers. Sometimes a stroller is the more convenient option and it’s up to you do decide the when and where of those situations. I am not making a politicized statement about babywearing here. My objective with this post on winter babywearing is to show that it is possible if you want to give it a try. So here we go!

While ponchos and winter coats especially designed for babywearing are great…they’re kind of expensive. If you’ve got a perfectly good winter coat and your baby is dressed warmly, you’re set. All you need to do is decide which approach to winter babywearing works for you.

Option 1:

Wear the sling/wrap/carrier under your coat, grab your baby and hustle indoors. Then unzip your coat and babywear your baby. This approach is fine if you don’t need to pop indoors and out. But if you are walking or taking the bus to your destination, or are running errands where you might for example be parking your car and then walking from store to store, you will want to go for option 2.

Option 2:

Babywear with your sling/wrap/carrier over your coat. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your baby is dressed for the weather with lots of layers, a hat and covered hands. Keep in mind that if you’re trying to do this from your parked car you might want to work fast, especially if the day is particularly nasty. If possible, sit in the back seat and get your baby into position then head out to brave the elements.

In my experience…

I’ve been using a Baby Björn carrier since my daughter was born. I love, love, love this carrier for winter babywearing but you can only carry babies in the front with a Baby Björn and well…Alison is getting too heavy for that.

What’s great about the Baby Björn though, is you can quickly pop your baby into the carrier and be on your merry way. Now that my daughter is too big for the Baby Björn, I’m experimenting with a ring sling and with a Beco carrier.

I need to be honest though. My experience with winter babywearing with the ring sling has been limited. As a wee infant, Alison had a big hate on for the ring sling. She only liked it for short periods of time. However, I thought I’d give the ring sling a try using the hip carry position. We had success with it today although it took us a little longer than ideal to get her out of the car and into the sling. But once she was positioned comfortably we headed indoors and did some grocery shopping.

What I like about the Beco carrier is you can carry your baby on your back (once your baby is over 15 lbs). It’s a bit of a pain to get your baby into the back carrying position if it’s snowing or raining AND incredibly windy so the best bet is to grab the carrier and your baby and head indoors to put your baby in it.

Winter babywearing isn’t rocket science but it does take a little bit of preparation. I find it can be a whole lot more convenient than lugging the stroller out of the back of the car just to pop into a store. Plus it’s more fun for Alison if she’s snuggled up close to me and can see where we’re going and what we’re doing.

If you are already babywearing in winter and have some further advice to offer, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about other parents’ experiences with winter babywearing!

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