Wearing your child in the colder months of the year is an amazing solution to stroller tires stuck in snow banks and a great way to keep your hands free while accompanying older snow bunnies. But it can pose practical problems: Do you put your own coat on under or over the carrier? How many layers does the baby need to wear? Won’t one of us be too hot or too cold?
There are many reasons why choosing baby carrier-specific cold-weather gear is preferable to bundling both wearer and baby up individually. For one thing, you benefit from each other’s body heat. For another, it’s much easier to remove layers that are on top of you and the carrier rather than having to remove the carrier to take off your sweater or remove baby’s snow suit when you get too warm. Furthermore, if you’re a big fan of the winter wonderland walk followed by carrier-to-crib transfer so mama can enjoy her hot chocolate, you’ll know that disturbing baby to remove her snowsuit is a risk you’re not willing to take. If she’s been kept warm under a cover, sweater or coat extension, then she’s not wearing extra layers when you roll her onto the bed or plunge her gently into her cot. Lastly, since we know that car seats and bulky snowsuits don’t mix, these babywearing cold-weather accessories are great ways to get baby to and from your vehicle without exposing him to inclement weather.
There are a lot of options at Lil’ Monkey Cheeks for fall and winter babywearing solutions. I’m here to break it all down for you so you can figure out which option is right for you and your little one!
Coat extenders are used with the jacket you already have! They work with most lengths and styles of zippered fall and winter coats. You can also use the coat extender to accommodate your baby bump. With the purchase of additional adapters, you can use the extender with a variety of coats, meaning both you and your partner can take advantage of this practical solution.
The Kokoala Zip-in Coat Extension features sturdy Velcro along its edges to which you attach the zippers that match your particular coat. Don’t worry, there’s a really easy-to-follow quiz that will tell you exactly which zipper to order!
To up the warmth of your Kokoala, you can also purchase an additional fleece liner that attaches inside. Kokoala also makes special warm socks for carried babies, a hood that attaches to the extender and a neck gaiter for the babywearer!
Read my full Kokoala review here.
Like the Kokoala, the BellyFit Zip-In Jacket Extender zips into your favourite winter or fall coat. The extension has zippers already attached, and depending on your jacket, you may or may not need to purchase additional adapters which zip on to the extender and then onto your jacket. For extra warmth, you can add a snap-on fleece layer.
Carrier covers go on top of the baby carrier and around the baby wearer. Depending on the weather, you might wear your own coat open, on top of the carrier, or zipped up and underneath. If you want to secure your coat around the carrier and cover so it doesn’t flap in the wind, you can use one of those mitten clips (You know, the ones you use to attach mittens to children’s cuffs?!) to attach the two edges of your coat.
The Cozy Frog by Little Frog is made of high-quality fleece. It secures around the wearer’s neck using Velcro and is tightened to fit around baby using drawstrings. There are cuddly pockets for your hands, too! Dress baby in regular clothes and add the cover on top when it’s just a bit chilly, and add layers to baby’s outfit as the season progresses!
The Chimparoo Babygloo Plus protects baby from wind, rain and snow, and is rated to minus 15° Celsius. The hood is removable and can be placed in different positions, allowing you to wear baby both facing in and facing out, on your front or back. The cover attaches to the straps of most babycarriers, and the elastic hem tucks up around baby’s legs. You can also use the Babygloo in the stroller or car seat!
Babywearing sweaters go over or around the wearer and the baby: imagine a sweater with an opening for baby’s head and enough extra width for their body. This is a sized option, so not always easy to share between wearers. A babywearing sweater is enough to keep the chill off in the fall, or a great base layer for really cold days.
The Belly Bedaine is suitable for pregnancy, front carries, back carries and even just as a loose-fitting nursing sweater. The side zippers make it easy to get the sweater over you and baby. It takes some practice to pull the sweater over baby in a back carry, but it’s very doable. The lighter version is made of a tight mesh jersey knit. I start using it around 10° C, with baby dressed in regular clothes. As it gets cooler, I add a fleece layer to baby and put a coat on top for me.
New this September is Belly Bedaine’s Kuuma Kangaroo Sweater! It is lined and is recommended up to -10° C. Belly Bedaine also makes matching hoods for baby, you can see my review of their baby bear hood here.
Belly Bedaine also makes a tandem babywearing sweater, which you can special order!
Read my full Belly Bedaine review here.
Enter to win a Baby Hood here!
The Boba Hoodie is recommended for about 7-18° Celsius. Made of soft French terry, it has thumb holes to keep those sleeves in place when layering. You can use it for a front or back carry.
The Huggaloops Multiway Sweater is so much more than a babywearing sweater. Yes, you can wear it on top of your Huggaloops Carrier, but you can also rock it while pregnant, nursing, or none of the above! You can definitely use it on top of other carriers if you don’t own a Huggaloops.
Read my full Multiway Sweater review here.
Enter to win a Multiway Sweater here.
General Tips for Cold-Weather Babywearing
- Tread carefully: It’s bad enough to slip on ice when you’re on your own, but with your baby strapped to you it could be disastrous! The best way to prevent falls is to wear appropriate footwear and take your time.
- Layer: Even when it’s well below zero, don’t forget that your baby will be pressed against your chest or back, and you will both be sharing body heat. I find I dress myself lighter if I know I’ll be carrying my daughter than I would if I were going out without her. Choose apparel that’s easy to remove as the day warms up or as you start to sweat from the effort of trudging through snow with an extra 20 lbs! I like to use baby legwarmers on my arms and on baby’s legs because they’re easy to pull off without taking off the carrier.
- Keep baby’s airway clear: Make sure baby’s airway is not obstructed by the extender, cover or sweater you’re wearing. Also make sure your own accessories (your hood, your scarf) aren’t impeding baby’s breathing.
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