Winter {babywearing} is coming...

I woke up to two very excited children earlier this week Why you ask?



And sure enough, it was October 10th, 2012 and big sticky snowflakes were blanketing our yard! {Too soon, Mother Nature, too soon!}

With chillier weather on the way, the most common babywearing question I get is, "How do I continue to wear my baby in the winter months and keep us both warm and toasty?"

The wonderful news is that with babywearing becoming more and more a part of every family's parenting arsenal, babywearing manufacturers are picking up on the fact that there is a need for products that work in all kinds of weather.

So, without further ado, here are some great outerwear options for your cold weather babywearing needs.

Carrier Covers.

These are simply covers that you can put over both the baby and the carrier to provide an extra layer of warmth to your little bundle.

There are quite a few different brands that make them and they are a good option when your main concern is protecting your baby (and your pretty carrier) from the elements. Most of these are meant for use with front carriers and snap on or use Velcro to attach to the straps of your carrier.

Of all the carrier covers out there, I think the one that makes the most sense and is perhaps the most versatile is the Kowalli. The one arm-hole "toga" design and simple drawstring closures at top and bottom make it a very easy cover to use with pretty much any carrier. And I like that it is just as easy to use it when you are carrying baby on your tummy or on your back.

The Kowalli is made in the USA of weather-treated Polartec fleece, repels rain and snow, is weather rated to -10 Degrees Celsius and retails for around $70-75.00.

Babywearing Ponchos 

Another great option to cover up both you and baby is a babywearing poncho. This was my favourite way to keep my babies and I all warm and cozy without too much extra bulk. Babywearing ponchos come in all shapes and sizes as well, from the 100% virgin wool Mamaponcho, to an easy no-sew DIY version. For practicality and ease of use I prefer one that wraps around both mama and baby versus one that has two head holes and that you have to wrangle both of you into. You can find some great options for babywearing ponchos from Babyette or from our own local Cosy Baby Happy Mommy.

{I can't be sure, but I think she may be trying to give me the finger!}

Babywearing Jackets and Vests

Still one of the most popular outerwear or layering pieces for babywearing is the Peekaru Vest. This soft Polartec fleece vest slips easily over any kind of baby carrier and keeps everyone cozy and warm. It comes in a variety of colours and sizes for both men and women and can be worn for front and back wearing as well.

{I look so much like my mother in this picture, it is totally freaking me out!}

If you want to go all out with wearing your baby in the winter, there are a few different options for full babywearing jackets. I personally have never owned one, but I know lots of people who have and they love them. In my opinion, the key points to think about when looking for a babywearing jacket are; A) Is it a jacket that you can wear when you are NOT babywearing, B) Is it something that is easy to get into and out of by yourself, C) Can you use it for front and back babywearing, and of course, D) Cost.

At the top of the price range you will find the fabulous {before, during and after} M Coat and the equally wonderful MAMAPARKA from Moa Po. Both of these are Canadian-made, so you know that they will be able to handle even the coldest of days. They do come with a higher price tag, but the versatility of these jackets makes it worth it for some. The M Coat comes in at $385.00 and the Mama Parka is around $425.00. You can also check out this link to one of my favourite retailers for other babywearing jacket options as well.

{The MAMAPARKA from Moa Po. Made in Montreal, Canada}

For those who are looking for a more traditional babywearing jacket, an Amauti is a beautiful option. The Amauti is the cultural and intellectual property of the Inuit people and therefore no pattern is commercially available and you will not (usually) find one in any stores. If you are lucky enough to know or find an Inuit seamstress you may be able to have one custom made for you. The Amauti is different than the other babywearing jackets in that it is both your jacket AND your baby carrier all in one. The back of the jacket is actually a pouch and your child (up to about age 3) fits right into it and is secured into place by colourful straps on the outside of the jacket. If I could go back and do it all again, and given that I had two winter-born babies, I would totally invest in one of these (and truth-be-told, probably a Mama Parka too).

{My friend, and local Doula/IBCLC, Pam Davey, being worn by her mama in an Amauti, circa 1975.}

One last thing...

Babywearing outerwear aside, I would also like to take a minute and mention briefly what both you and baby should wear beneath your baby carrier. Your carrier itself is providing both you and baby with at least one layer of coverage and you will both be sharing your body warmth, so the main concern is making sure that neither one of you is overheating, overdressed or in something that is too bulky. Layers are best for both of you, and investing in a good fleece baby bunting suite (like these ones from MEC) is the perfect outerwear not only for babywearing, but also for keeping baby warm, yet not too bulky in the car seat. Use baby leg warmers to keep little arms and legs warm and feel free to throw a pair on your arms too for an extra layer of warmth. 

Now, off with you all!

Winter is coming...

Suit up Mamas!

Happy {Winter} Babywearing!