If you live somewhere that never sees snow, this post is not for you. If you’re in most parts of Canada and the northern US, then you need a way to keep yourself and your baby warm in the baby carrier.
Which winter babywearing solution is right for you?
The Carrier Cover
A carrier cover attaches to the straps of your baby carrier or around your neck, and sometimes also around the wearer’s waist. Usually, you can adjust the fit around baby’s feet thanks to a toggle or drawstring.
With Cub, I had this Jolly Jumper cover found for $5 at a swap meet! (I have since ditched the Hello Kitty hat, by the way.) Advantages: One size fits all. Mom, Dad, anyone who wears your baby can use the carrier cover. Most covers can also be used in the stroller or even on top of baby in the car seat. Can usually be used for a back carry if someone helps you put it on!
I won this Moa Pô cover at a Great Cloth Diaper Change, and it’s the best one I’ve tried. I love how it attaches to the carrier straps using wide velcro straps, love the tie-up around the wearer’s waist, and the hood provides great coverage. It has a thick fleece lining and waterproof exterior, and because I’m awesome, I left it in Montreal with my BFF. (I’m not sure if Moa Pô still makes this model, by the way.)
Disadvantages: You need to also keep yourself warm, so you have two options: wear baby on top of your coat and the cover on top of the baby, or wear your coat on top and hanging open. It’s not quite as snuggly to strap baby on top of your big winter coat, and it can get chilly for you if your jacket is hanging loose.
A babywearing vest or sweater goes on top of you and the baby in her carrier. There is a large pouch opening through which to pop baby’s head.
Advantages: Super cozy solution for you and baby. Good for layering: use just the vest or sweater or add your own coat on top, or a warm base layer underneath. Many models work for a front and a back carry. The Belly Bédaine works as a nursing sweater and pregnancy sweater, too! The Kowalli is a one-size fits most option, and gender neutral.
Disadvantages: Most options are sized, thus not easily swapped between parents. Not usually the warmest option, most suitable for the fall unless adding layers. To keep my coat closed around the carrier cover, I’ve been known to use those alligator clips with a piece of elastic in between… you know… the kind that you use to hold fitted sheets in place under a mattress, or even to clip your kid’s mittens to his coat?!
The Babywearing Coat
Advantages: You can keep baby warm on your front or your back, and you will also stay warm! Accommodates your pregnant belly and also functions as an ordinary winter coat.
Disadvantages: This is the most expensive option for winter babywearing, and constitutes a big investment. The coat is sized, so unlikely to be able to swap between parents or caregivers.
The Babywearing Insert
As I explained in my recent review, the Kokoala coat insert is simply genius. The insert zips into a coat of your choosing, thanks to the velcro zipper strips. You can choose a set of zippers to match your coat and your partner’s coat. You can use it in your heaviest winter parka or your mid-season jacket.
Advantages: Super versatile since you can pair it with any zippered coat you or your partner own! Turn it upside down and it becomes a pregnancy coat.
Disadvantages: Not suitable for a back carry. To use it with multiple coats, you will have to purchase separate zippers. *Universal adapter released for winter 2018*