There are a variety of expletives that I might string together to describe just how cold it has been in Calgary this December. Alas, thanks to my stunning, custom babywearing coat from Layer Your Love, I get to tell you how delightfully warm Little Miss Cub and I have been despite ice crystals and wind chill, frozen snot and temperatures at or below -20°C.
Last year was unseasonably mild in our new hometown, but we are no strangers to “I can’t feel my face” cold thanks to many winters spent in Montreal. December has been so cold in Calgary that the pipes in our basement froze temporarily! Parenting in frigid weather has many inherent struggles, and the one I deal with daily is the “running errands in the car” conundrum. It’s important to avoid strapping children into their car seats while they’re wearing bulky snowsuits because that forces us to loosen the straps. But without a bulky snowsuit, how do I make sure Little Miss is warm enough both in the car and outside when I’m carrying her either into preschool to pick up her brother or across the Costco parking lot. (And we all know how far from the door you have to park at Costco in December.) With my preschooler, it’s not a big deal to throw his winter coat over his light fleece or compressible jacket once we’ve arrived at our destination. But for Little Miss, this is a hassle I’d prefer to avoid: I want to put her in the carrier and keep both of us warm in one fell swoop.
If I wear a sling or the Huggaloops under the Layer Your Love coat, I don’t even have to take the coat off to put Little Miss in the carrier. Once she’s in the carrier, I can have both of us wrapped up in the coat in a split second, collar popped up to shield us from the wind. If she’s napping, she doesn’t even wake up! It is extremely practical. When I wear Little Miss back out to the car, I pop her out of the carrier and coat, into her seat, then quickly wrap the coat back around myself before I get to the driver’s seat. (I airbrushed a snotsicle out of this photo. You’re welcome.)
The bitter cold that everyone has been complaining about this month has really not bothered me because of how warm this coat really is. Pumping gas? No problem. Sitting in the car waiting for preschool to end? (And I do not sit with the engine idling and heat blasting, either.) Snug as a bug! This coat could not have entered my life at a better time.
One of the trickiest things about babywearing-sweaters and jackets is using them when baby is on your back. It takes flexibility and practice; in some cases I can’t even do it unless there’s another adult to help me. My Layer Your Love coat is hands down the easiest coat I’ve ever used for back carries. It’s like pulling a glorious blanket with sleeves around us: no holes to wrestle baby’s head through, no inserts to zip in. The collar can even serve as a hood for baby.
In order to accommodate either a baby or a baby bump, the Layer Your Love coat is big. You can wrap it more tightly around yourself when wearing it sans bébé, but it is not a slim silhouette. That’s really my only complaint about this spectacular coat: it makes me look a bit bulgy if I’m using it without Little Miss. The main reason for this is the lining sewn between the inner and outer layers of the coat, and this lining is what makes it warm enough for the bone-chilling temperatures we’ve been experiencing. When it is so cold that my snot freezes as I exit the warmth of my foyer, I do not care if my coat is thick and makes my hips look a bit wide. I care that my daughter and I are warm and protected, and we absolutely are.
My favourite things about the Layer Your Love coat:
- Thoughtfully handcrafted in Canada, with details customized to my preferences.
- Warm enough to handle extreme cold (-20°C and colder).
- Easy to use for back carries.
- No adjustments are needed to wear the coat without baby: just wrap it around yourself tighter!
- Wide and tall collar can be worn in a variety of styles and for different levels of coverage.
Things I like less about my Layer Your Love coat:
- The silhouette isn’t as tailored and trim as I’d like when I use it without baby, but I’d rather it be a bit bulky and keep me super warm than be slimmer but not as warm. (I should also note that I probably notice the bulk more because I am such a skinny minnie, so any extra layers are very obvious.)
About the Layer Your Love Coat:
Melanie Gallant, the stay-at-home Ontario mom behind Layer Your Love, came to design this fabulous jacket when she couldn’t find what she was looking for on the market. “The coats I found were plain and unflattering, cumbersome, with extra flaps, panels, zippers and snaps. Some models looked like they were wearing garbage bags. Alternatively, I could lug around an extra panel to zip to my existing jacket, but it wouldn’t match, would let cold in at the zippers, and couldn’t be used for back carries. I still wanted to feel attractive, feminine, and stylish, even while wearing my 26-pound hitchhiker. I was looking for a coat that I would want to wear out even when I left my babe at home. So I made one. I will soon be rolling out matching hooded scarves, mittens and gloves.”
Coat Description: (provided by Layer Your Love)
This over-sized, belted, wrap coat is so cozy that both your little one AND you will want to fall asleep inside it. The two full layers of winter knit are like a giant hug. And the best part: no extra panels to drag around or zippers and snaps to struggle with! The collar folds down to provide 2 additional layers of warmth around you both, and turns up to act as a scarf as well as protect you and babe from the harsh winter winds or sun. The belt cinches under babe’s bum to prevent wind from blowing up. Roomy and deep invisible side pockets easily hold an extra diaper, phone, even a sippy cup! There are so many ways to wear this coat! The collar can be easily adjusted to suit your style and your babe’s comfort. A few styling ideas can be found here.
Custom Order Options:
- Custom, home-sewn to customer’s measurements, plus-size friendly.
- Many fabric and colour choices including Polartec, Sherpa, Fleece, Berber, Winter Knits, etc.
- Can be made fully reversible.
- 1–3 Layers
- Deep, invisible side pockets and/or patch pockets.
- Single material or reversible belt with tapered or square ends.
- Tapered or wide sleeves.
- Top-stitched for a polished look or without top-stitching for a more voluminous look.
- Lengthen or shorten the coat for more or less coverage.
- Wide collar for use as a hood for mom or babe, or trim down for less bulk.
- Each coat takes two weeks to complete. Rush orders are available.
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Depending on customizations, a Layer Your Love coat costs around $200.