I carried my kids everywhere in my baby carrier. Whether I wore it on the front or in the back, those tots were strapped in for the duration. It's just easier. I live in New York City, and taking the train is just a part of my life. Let me tell you, you've never been so disappointed in humanity until you try to lug up a 40-pound stroller from underground, by yourself, while everyone walks by. Carriers are just easier. But how can you keep baby cozy? Knowing how to keep your baby warm and safe while babywearing is pretty much a necessity.
While there aren't as many stringent guidelines surrounding baby carriers as there are surrounding car seats, there are still safety issues to consider. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission mandates that all baby carriers must support the baby while maintaining adequate oxygen supply and without the risk of suffocation. This means that the baby's head must remain uncovered and unobstructed, and that their airway and mouth are clear of anything that might inhibit breathing. Beyond that, slippery snowsuits can make it difficult to judge if a baby is breathing or safe in an infant carrier, so consider covering your baby from outside of the carrier with a carrier blanket or jacket specifically made for babywearing.
I know I struggled with how to keep my kids warm enough without being too warm. They're just not so great at communicating their temperatures for you. I know my son would constantly fall asleep when he was tucked onto my chest, and so would my daughter. How was I supposed to know if they were sleepy because they were too warm, or if they were just super cozy hanging out on my boobs? There are a few strategies you can employ while wearing your baby that will assure your baby's safety and comfort — as well as your own.
Getting down to basics, babywearing can be a pain. It can be hard on your back and hotter than blazes, but it's hella convenient and really, the time for this kind of cuddling goes by in a blink. I honestly wish I'd soaked more of it in. Thankfully, the technology has improved since I strapped on my babies and headed out into the world. I spoke to registered nurse practitioner Ally Johnson of Minneapolis and asked her opinion for how to keep your baby warm and safe while babywearing.
She tells Romper, "It's so much easier now than it's ever been. Carriers are designed to have blankets clipped on, and to keep your tiny ones comfortable. Make sure your baby is warm, but not sweating. As long as they can breathe, and their little heads, tummies, and chests are warm, however you accomplish that is up to you." When asked about the babywearing coats like this fleece model, she says, "I've never seen one in real life, but given that they can be zipped all the way closed or let down for more air, they seem to be a great compromise. I have seen the specially designed carrier blankets, and some of those are great, but just make sure your baby isn't overheating, as many are built like sleeping bags and can be quite warm."
But you don't need fancy equipment. Johnson tells Romper, "It's really as easy as throwing some leggings and a coat and hat on your baby and keeping their exposed skin covered. If it's really cold, you can tuck a blanket around your baby and into the carrier, but rigged gear like that can be a pain." You could also just do what I did, and that's steal one of your husband's extra coats that fits around you and your baby and strap them in. I could see their faces and they breathed fine, and also? It was free.
However, if you shop around, you can buy a bigger coat on sale for less than the cost of the designer baby coats. However, they're not as convenient, and they don't fit the rest of you all too well. To be fair, I didn't care about that at all. It's not like people couldn't see I was hiding a baby beneath it. I wasn't going to fashion week — just the grocery store.
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