Things are getting quite cool here in Vermont, and chances are you’re wondering how to best keep this babywearing thing going all winter long! It gets very cold here, and there are a few ways you can keep both you and your baby comfy for all of your outdoor activities this winter. Before we start discussing all of your options for staying warm while wearing, it's important to remember safety.
- Always remember to keep baby's airway clear! Don't be so overzealous about staying warm that you block fresh air that your baby needs to breath. Still be mindful of keeping baby visible and kissable.
- Remember the extremities - make sure hands and feet aren't sticking out, legs aren't getting bared by rising pant legs, and always wear hats! Heat escapes through the head.
- Limit time in extremely cold weather.
How to dress baby? This will depend largely on what options you decide to use for staying warm. Just bear in mind that if you're wearing baby outside of shared layers, to keep enough of baby's own layers for them to stay warm. And if you are sharing layers, don't overdo the layering. It is possible to overheat and sweat beneath too many layers, which is also not great. Consider that your carrier is providing a layer (or more depending on the carrier) to their core, plus your shared layers. This is a great option for longer trips outdoors if you know your baby will remain worn, or also for very quick trips so you don't need to layer baby up so much.
It is possible to simply layer each of you to your comfort level and wear baby outside your clothing - if you do, keep in mind that slippery puffy coats and snowsuits will be very difficult to get fitted correctly around. If you're wrapping, you may find it extremely difficult to get and keep a seat, tightening will involve compression of the layers. This is not ideal. If you plan to wrap around you might consider fleece and wool (or even wool fleece) layers to get the most warmth with the least amount of bulk.
One of the very simplest options, if you wear your baby on front, is to size up your outerwear and simply zip baby inside with you!
Another way to create room for a front carry is to use one of those zip in panels that are designed to transform your coat for maternity wear, such as the “make my belly fit” panel.
There are also carrier covers that you can use in the gap of your own coat or if baby is being worn outside of a closed coat. These can also be handy for quick trips in and out of a store for example. No need for complex shared layers, nor for an overly bundled baby once you get inside. You can also simply use a fleece blanket tucked around baby.
For shared layers (other than a sized up jacket) there are a couple of basic types - a poncho or a coat with a hole in it. There are several DIY and commercial options of each type - a large (though probably not all inclusive) listing below. But first some of the options we've seen used here locally!
Kowalli Fleece Poncho -
Boba Vest and Hoodie -
DIY Fleece -
VBE Vicky used hers as a top layer over a baby with layers on.
This is one of the most comprehensive (and maybe complicated) options on the market. Shown here in photos from VBE Dana in back carries using only the fleece layer, this coat has multiple panels that can be inserted in front or off center to accommodate front or hip carries as well. The back has zippered gussets to enlarge the back panel of the coat to fit the size of your baby. The Deluxe edition also includes an outer shell that can be worn together, hoods, etc.
This video shows how you can put on a babywearing coat/hoodie like this one -
Something more uncommon but a very neat option is amautiks. Amautiks are a traditional Inuit baby carrier that is built into the back of a coat. Since the Inuit people live in cold climates, they needed a carrier that could handle the weather. These can be used from newborn to preschool age, but are pretty pricey. They are built to last however.
Amauti Baby: http://amautibaby.com/
Lastly, a list of commercial and DIY resources:
Jolly Jumper: http://www.jollyjumper.com/show/84
7am Enfant: http://www.amazon.com/Enfant-Pookie-Poncho-Bunting-Black/dp/B004X8HH6A/?tag=lucslis-20
Diva Milano: http://www.purpleelmbaby.com/collections/diva-milano-collection/products/diva-milano-wool-cover
The M Coat: http://themcoat.com/
Suse’s Kinder: http://www.suseskinder.com/
Lillies of the Valley: http://www.etsy.com/shop/babywearing
Marko Miles: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MarkoMiles
Lenny Lamb: http://en.lennylamb.com/babywearing_coats
Make My Belly Fit: http://makemybellyfit.com/products/bellyfit-panel
Vests and Sweatshirts -
DIY Resources -
DIY BWing Coats: http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/showthread.php?80781-DIY-Babywearing-coat!!
Other DIY Babywearing Covers and Coats: http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/showthread.php?438347-Other-Babywearing-Projects-Useful-Links
DIY Cover: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5pV1L_lRurQX05NeEpWTXFPZjg/preview?pli=1
DIY Ponchos: http://crafts.sleepingbaby.net/poncho.html