I’m a massive advocate for baby wearing, in fact I’d encourage all parents to consider it before buying a pushchair, if you have only one child or a reasonable gap between them, baby wearing can make your life so much easier, especially if you live in a city like London and use public transport! (Not going to rant about the appalling accessibility of tube stations for mums with buggies for a change!)
My first born never took to being in her buggy, no matter how hard we kitted it out with all the “necessary” accessories she just wasn’t happy in it. I know that’s unusual and most children love the rocking of the pushchair and also the car, but my daughter was clearly the exception to the rule. We started using a sling or baby carrier as my sister recommended giving it a go and instantly it was a life changer. I’d sling her up and go anywhere I wanted as she would just snuggle up close to me and fall asleep. It wasn’t just me who got the pleasure of wearing her either, my husband, my siblings, my dad, she just loved being up close and comforted by the closeness of another human and she’d settle right away. As she got older (we started using it from about 8 weeks) she’d stay awake and look around and then fall asleep and I would have carried on using it for as long as I could have carried her had I not got pregnant! I had to stop baby wearing when my bump got too big, which was around 5 months for me, when my daughter was a year old. Thankfully at that stage she was happy to get into her buggy and made the transition with ease.
My son has been in the baby carrier from birth. We did consider buying a double buggy but Lord knows a single one is a hassle I didn’t want to have to deal with a people carrier! I know the new designs are supposed to be lighter and smaller and more compact, but seriously try before you buy, and by try I mean put two children in them as well as all the things you need to get by on a simple trip and use public transport. It ain’t no fun!
Thankfully Idris isn’t resistant to the buggy in the same way as Aasiya was, after about 6 months, when we went out for a meal, we’d transfer him to the buggy so we could all sit and eat while he slept. Even though I did baby-wear while eating it’s not easy and you have to be careful as to not spill anything on baby! Obviously it depends where you dine, sometimes I’d take him out and lay him on the booth, as he got older I’d take him out of the sling and let him sit on my lap and now that he’s sitting up and eating he uses a high chair, when he decides to join us rather than sleep through!
The best thing about baby-wearing is how much your baby will enjoy being close to you, unfortunately that includes in the extreme heat. Living in the UK we’ve not had to deal with temperatures higher than 35 degrees, which is still super hot. Below are my suggestions to help you keep cool in the hot weather and still enjoy wearing your baby:
• Wear loose, cool clothes and materials that allow your skin to breathe. This doesn’t mean less clothes, in fact I’d encourage the opposite just lighter natural materials.
• Keep baby in a good quality organic cotton vest or onesie, I use ones with the hands and feet exposed. You can always cut off the feet of a onesie should you need to.
• Drink plenty of water. Keep hydrated and hopefully you’ll be fine. It’s even more important to drink lots of water if your breastfeeding, so carry a bottle with you at all times.
• Keep baby hydrated. If your breastfeeding just keep offering more feeds as and when your baby needs them. Pop into your local library, or any public space as they are usually breastfeeding friendly, and take a break to feed. If your not breastfeeding make sure to do the same but also give your baby water, they’ll need the extra hydration.
• Some people suggest wearing a wide brimmed hat to offer shade to yourself and baby. If your particularly sensitive to the sun this is a great idea. Being of Pakistani origin myself I believe a little bit of vitamin D via the sun is actually really good for you, and I personally don’t like over using sunscreen as I don’t like how many chemicals they contain. Hence my motto is to keep covered in breathable materials. Obviously be sensible and do what suits you, if you have super sensitive skin or are white and burn easily, than take all necessary precautions to keep safe in the sun.
• If you can, avoid going out at times when the sun is at its peak, usually around the midday mark. Mornings and early evenings are always a little cooler.
So there you have it. Baby wearing isn’t for everyone, but until you’ve tried it I wouldn’t knock it as it is genuinely a really lovely way for baby and carer to feel connected while out and about. I’ve been wearing my son and pushing my buggy almost every day in the heat and it’s really not been an issue. My son doesn’t like to wear hats so I sometimes drape a muslin cloth over him if I’m concerned about the heat. Usually he just falls asleep during the journey, and when we arrive to whatever our destination is I offer him a quick feed. We’ve probably still got another month of really warm weather here in the UK before it starts to cool down in September. I’m going to continue baby wearing as long as I can as it’s genuinely a pleasure for me to have my baby up close and personal. I’d love to hear how other parents are getting on or if you’ve tried it out this summer and have any tips. For those of you who don’t like it, i’d love to hear your stories too. No judgment, there’s plenty of space here for everyone to have their preference and live their best lives xoxo