I am going to talk heat, summer, sunshine and babywearing. I do realise that as I have now committed those glorious words to print, I may have jinxed yet another Scottish summer!
As residents of Scotland weather is something we are obsessed with, it is ever changeable and often raises a lot of questions in the babywearing community, but as the sun has shown its face we are talking babywearing under the Scottish sun.
How should I dress my baby in the heat? Will my baby overheat? Will I get too hot? Will baby be safer in a pram? Should I be using a specific type of carrier in the heat? These are all examples of the questions that get asked regularly.
The first thing to remember is that babywearing happens on a daily basis in some of the hottest continents in the world: Asia, Africa and South America. Mums babywear in the humidity of Florida and Singapore. So bab wearing in Falkirk and Stonehaven shouldn’t be too much of a worry if you take the correct precautions and use some commonsense.
Will baby be safer in a pram? A pram and sling are just as safe as each other if used correctly and remember if you are out for a family day in the sun you may end up carrying babes in arms, this is easier if you have a sling. Also in a sling you can easily stroll barefoot in the sand or walk the dogs in the woods.
Will the caregiver get too hot? Yes, you will get hot – the sun is out and you are carrying a baby. But remember to dress accordingly. A light vest top and sun lotion is all you may need. If you are brave enough a bikini top maybe enough although sometimes a muslin between your tummy and baby can help with the sticky sweatiness – just make sure this is nowhere near baby’s mouth.
Perhaps the most important thing is how to dress baby in a sling. You need to think of your sling as layers of clothing and then dress baby accordingly. So for example if you are using a stretchy wrap, baby will have three layers of sling, so baby in just a vest or even just a nappy may be appropriate in hot weather. A soft structured carrier tends to have airflow at the sides and many brands now have lighter carrier options that include mesh panels. So again, depending on how hot it is, perhaps just a vest or light layer of clothing. Woven and ring slings can be worn with just one layer, so again just a light layer of clothing. If you are regularly in the heat, you may consider looking at a lighter weave and fabrics such as linen.
If your tot is old enough and has good head control a back carry can be a coolor option providing you both with some relief from the heat. You may find changing from front to back may also help give you a chance to get air dry if you are perspiring.
No matter what sling or carrier you use in the sunshine the most important thing is to ensure you and little one have ample sun cream, especially on the limbs that are not covered by the carrier or clothing. Also ensure baby’s head is covered with a light sun hat, and seek out the shade when you can. Hydration is a must if you are breastfeeding make sure you are taking on plenty of fluids, if baby is taking a sippy cup offer water at regular intervals.
Don’t forget this is Scotland and when the sun decides to disappear behind a cloud or the evening draws in it can be cold. So if you are planning to be out for the day make sure you have extra layers for when temperatures dip.
The sun is shining. Carry those babies and have fun – before I am writing a blog on babywearing and snowsuits!