Saturday, July 18, 2015

Baby Wearing Part 2b: Summer Tips and Healthy Practices

With the warmer weather coming out in full force now, families will want to go out and enjoy the sun! Everyone needs to keep aware of keeping safe in hot weather though, which is so easy to forget when traipsing around outside.

Below is a review of ideal practices and highlighted tips for baby wearing in the summer, but the latter can really be applied in any summer situation with a baby. Hope these help and that you all have a great time under the sun!

Ideal Practices

Almost everything revolves around TICKS, so here's a refresher.

In view at all times*
Close enough to kiss
Keep chin off the chest
Supported back

*In the summer, this may be the most important so you can continually gauge your baby's condition. Remember that covering baby with a blanket may keep the sun off BUT may incubate heat as well, and keep baby from your view.

This is how supportive a back carry can be!
4.5 years old and 35 pounds. =)
Another part of ideal practices is to keep the baby facing towards you. It is not necessarily unsafe to have the baby outward-facing, but you cannot monitor how your baby is doing if he or she is not facing you. It will also be tougher on your back as the weight is pulling outward on the person carrying, putting unnecessary stress on your lower back and shoulders. Back carries, however, allow for the child to look out at the world while being much more ergonomic for the person carrying. Baby can also "tune out" the activity around them if they become overwhelmed, which is more difficult to do if they are in front and outward-facing. To ensure you can monitor your baby while back-carrying, the baby should be up high enough so that his or her head should be able to rest on your neck.

For a more detailed review of outward-facing versus inward-facing, please see this great article.  Please don't be put off by the title! Read it for info and guidelines.

Here is also a great FAQ on forward-facing carriers.

Some of us who are already baby wearing may be itching to correct those wearing forward-facing carriers. I love how The Canadian Babywearing School gives perspective on this topic. The most important statement from this post, I would say, is this:

The only unsafe positioning is (especially in a baby 4mos and younger) chin to chest  – which I’ve seen in strollers and carseats and swings and even in poorly tightened woven wraps facing in – as well as most often in full cradle carry positions.

If you're a research geek like me, check out this amazingly detailed Google doc about different carriers and such.

Summer Weather tips

Please take note of these, because sometimes we become so occupied with how hot we are we don't remember that children will feel the effects but don't know how to address heat issues.

Also remember that babies under 6 months old cannot regulate their own temperature and cannot sweat to keep themselves cool. For more info on how to know if you're overheating a newborn, please click here.

If you're hot, baby is hotter 
 - mind that carrier is another layer, so naked with a diaper for really hot days is a consideration (for the baby, not you!)
 - wear thin clothing yourself
 - drink lots of water/milk, both you and baby!
 - a hot car to us is even hotter to baby
 - light misting of water from a spray bottle can help

Make sure baby is visible to ensure you can watch out for overheating.
 - heat stroke will escalate more quickly in a little body!
   - being floppy or more irritable; fewer wet diapers; refusing to drink; sunken fontanelle/soft spot.
   - more details can be found at this link.

Stay out of the sun
 - cover what you can but make sure baby is visible
 - use sun hats, mesh SPF baby leggings on arms or legs, loose clothing

For more reading, take a look at this Hot Weather Guide.

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