Summer Babywearing

How to Beat the Heat

 

Cooling Accessories:

  • Frogg Toggs Chilly Pads

“Made from a hyper-evaporative material that retains water while remaining dry to the touch, The Chilly Pad® is an innovative way to cool down while enduring outdoor heat and/or high levels of physical activity. When wet, the towel begins to evaporate and cool, providing cool, soft comfort to the user. When it stops cooling, simply re-wet the towel in hot or cold water and wring it out. Within minutes, it’s cool again”

These usually cost around $12 – $15. The towel itself is quite long, so it is best cut into thirds. It works wonderfully to keep baby and wearer cool without getting them wet. Ideal for use with wraps, ring slings, and mei tais (can be used with SSCs as well). We do not recommend using with delicate woven blends such as those containing wool and/or silk.

chilly_pad_group_1

  • Use an ice pack in carriers with a zippered compartment

You can use a structured ice pack (as pictured below) or a soft ice pack. Simply place ice pack in zippered compartment and you’re good to go.

 pin-image-e1374871360741

 

Cool Tips:

  •  Dress in cool clothing yourself (i.e. loose, light-weight, and breathable clothing)
  •  Dress your baby accordingly. Depending on the situation, a simple cotton onsie or even just a diaper might be the way to go.
  • Bring along portable shade, such as an umbrella or (if you will be in the same spot/area) a canopy.

 

Carrier Comparison:

 

–       Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs) – There is definitely a range with SSCs, but on the whole they are typically a somewhat warmer carrier type due to the padding at the waist and shoulders. Kinderpack (and several other brands) offer a cool knit option or a similar material so that the body of the carrier is more breathable for baby. In picking a summer-friendly SSC, you could also seek out those with pockets in which you could insert ice packs as earlier described.

 

–       Ring Slings – Material does matter to some degree, but ring slings tend to make excellent summer carriers, as there is only a single layer of fabric against baby. Single layer carries in general tend to be more breathable with summer wearing. Linen and some woven cotton ring slings are amazing in the summer heat.

 

–       Stretchy wraps – Stretchy wraps are not typically ideal for summer weather as the material often doesn’t breathe well. The majority will leave both wearer and wearee very hot and sweaty. There are a few exceptions to this, including thin bamboo stretchies and the Wrapsody Bali Hybrid Stretch wrap, both of which tend to be far less stifling than most stretchy wraps.

 

–       Woven Wraps – These can be great for summer wearing since the wearer can select a single layer carry that will provide the utmost airflow, though so much of the breathability depends on the wrap’s fiber blend, its thickness, and its weave. Using a Frogg Togg Chilly pad with a woven wrap is a great option as well.

 

  • All Cotton – All cotton can be great for the heat, depending on the wrap’s thickness. It does not have to be treated delicately and there is no concern over it getting damp or sweaty.
  • Linen – Linen blends tend to do very well in the heat. It is a hardy blend, so it performs well even if it gets wet and does not have to be treated delicately.
  • Hemp – Hemp is somewhat warmer than linen typically, though you will find hemp wraps that do quite well in the heat. Like linen and cotton, hemp is very hardy and does well even if it gets damp or sweaty.
  • Silk – Silk is a more delicate blend and also less breathable than other blends. If you are in climates of dry heat, silk might still be nice during the summer, but it doesn’t tend to be ideal in our Missouri humidity.
  • Wool – Often new wearers assume that wool is only suited for the fall and winter. In actually, wool is quite breathable during the hot months if in a dry climate. The only concern for wool in very humid summer climates is the wet factor. You do not want to wear wool when damp, as this may cause felting.
  • Bamboo – Bamboo is typically an airy blend and has a natural built in UV protection; however this is a more delicate blend and extra care should be taken in hot, humid climates.

 

–       Mei Tais – The comfort of using mei tais during the summer months depends largely on the mei tai itself. Factors such as how the mei tai is made/designed and what fabric is used will affect its breathability. Using a Frogg Togg with the mei tai is a great cooling option if this is your carrier of choice.

 

**This post courtesy of VBE Megan Oberg**

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3 Easy Tips for Improving Carrier Ergonomics

The topic of the month for March was how to quickly, easily, and affordably improve the ergonomics of a carrier you may have. Many of us started babywearing with a carrier that might be considered less than ideal in that department, and not everyone has hundreds of dollars to go out and buy new carriers right away, so it is great to have ways to instantly improve the one you have!

First, let’s dispel a rumor you have probably heard if you have spent any time on babywearing websites or chat groups. Narrow based carriers (sometimes referred to by the derogatory term “crotch danglers”-we like to discourage this terminology in our group as it is not helpful in our goal of encouraging all mamas who want to keep their babies close, and our goal is to help them to do that in a way that works well for them and baby) have never been found to cause the development of hip dysplasia or other developmental issues. If a baby already has hip dysplasia, narrow-based carriers can cause it to worsen, but they do not of themselves cause this problem. If both baby and mama are comfortable (your baby will let you know if he/she is not comfortable-sometimes mamas think their babies “hate being worn” and the reality is that they just aren’t comfortable in that particular carrier), these carriers are fine to use. With that being said, there are many things you can do to help improve the ergonomics and comfort levels for both you and your baby. Here are a few simple tips:

Narrow Based Carriers (Baby Bjorn)

  1. Use a scarf or a short woven wrap placed between the baby’s back and the back of the carrier (so inside the carrier), then passed under baby’s legs and around your back (you can tie in back or front depending on the length of the fabric you are using) to extend the support so the carrier is knee to knee. This can also be done to extend the life of any soft structured carrier (Ergo, Beco, etc.) as your baby grows into a toddler with longer legs!

1. Narrow Based Carrier Adjustments pic1

2. Narrow Based Carrier Adjustments Pic 2

  1. Use a scarf or short woven wrap to do a rebozo pass around the outside of the carrier which supports your baby’s legs (again, this can be tied in back or front of you).

Narrow Based Carrier Adjustments Pic 3

 

Pouch Slings (hotslings, sevenslings, etc.)

  1. If these are too large for you and your baby (feel loose, baby isn’t held tightly to your chest, baby is able to slouch too far forward), you can twist the shoulder over, and this will tighten the fabric to support baby (and your back!) better. Remember, the best carry to do in these is tummy to tummy –  the cradle carry is recommended only while baby is actively nursing!

1.

Pouch Sling Adjustments Pic 1

2.     Pouch Sling Adjustments pic 2

3.     Pouch Sling Adjustments pic 3

 

As always, feel free to contact us or ask questions on the chatter group if you have questions about these tips (or anything babywearing related!). You are an awesome mama for keeping your baby close!

**This post courtesy of VBE Jennifer Stone**