How to sling in cold weather

Congratulations! You just made it through the first month of winter—only two more months to go.

There's a warm baby somewhere in that sling. And yes, that is an armchair made of ice. This is Canada.
There’s a warm baby somewhere in that sling. And yes, that is an armchair made of ice. This is Canada, after all.

Every year, we get a few e-mail enquiries about how to sling safely in cold weather. This year, it’s especially good info to keep in mind, with the abominable cold right throughout North America. Having had a December baby, in Canada, and having to take public transit all the time, we like to think that we were experts in babywearing and travelling in cold weather. So in case you missed it the first few times, here is a recap on how to wear your baby in cold weather:

1) Rule #1: If you don’t absolutely need to go out in cold weather, don’t.

2) Before slinging, dress your baby warmly, in layers. Remember, they don’t have to be bulky, but have to be warm. Wool, silk, cotton, bamboo, and down are good natural fibres. Fleece (made of polyester) and synthetic, wind-resistant fibres are also good choices.

3) Keep yourself warm. We all know that a happy mama (or papa) = a happy baby. But it’s especially important to keep yourself warm because your body temperature will keep baby warm while you snuggle her against you.

4) Over and under. Once baby is wrapped up warmly, use a layer to wrap over and around baby’s body, but under the sling. This adds another, but easily removeable layer. Good choices that we’ve used in the past are wool and fleece, or just use a favourite knitted baby blankie.

5) Tuck them in: most important to keep in mind are extremities like fingers, toes, and noses. If it juts out, it tends to get colder, faster.

6) Face them in. Don’t expose baby’s face and body to the biting wind and snow. When they’re facing you, they’re more sheltered. The Kangaroo Hold (baby on the chest, facing out) is not recommended for cold-weather wearing.

A final note: if you’re concerned about your little one’s condition in this cold, rest assured that slinging keeps him warmer than being in the stroller: see point #3 about body temperature. Not only will you be able to keep baby warmer, but because you’re close at hand, you’ll be able to more easily and more quickly detect if any little body parts are getting numb with cold.

We hope that these tips help you in moving about in the winter while wearing your baby. So keep warm, keep safe, and happy slinging!

(Posted on a day when it’s -30°C with the wind chill. Brrr.)

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