Are you ready for summer? I know I am! For most of us, the warm weather means beaches, lakes, and pools… So how do we continue to wear our children while getting wet and enjoying the season? For our family, waterwearing gave my husband and me the ability to take sunset walks on the beach with our 18 month old wrapped on my back. When our second was born, it meant I could wear the baby while I watched my toddler play in the splash pad or helped her collect sea shells.
In this blog post I will go over the various options in carriers, different ways to wear little ones (carries), and some key safety points. So put on your sunscreen and grab your smoothie; let’s get ready for summer!
What can I use to wear in the water?
You can really use any baby carrier; from a carrier specifically designed for babywearing in the water to a soft structured carrier!
•Ring Slings and Wraps designed exclusively for babywearing in the water, usually made of polyester, most are mesh, as they won’t absorb water.
•Light weight Gauze Wraps will both breathe great in the heat and will dry quickly once out of the water.
•Soft Structured Carriers and Mei Tais can also be used in the water, but try to avoid ones that have a lot of padding, batting, and layers of fabric as it will act like a sponge and take a great deal of time to dry.
What are some recommended carries (ways to wear baby) to use while wearing in the water?
You can really wear baby however you like, but here are some of my preferred methods.
•Tummy to tummy (T2T) or on your hip in a Ring Sling
•Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) in a Wrap with the passes spread is very supportive. But you can also scrunch up the passes under the baby’s bum, leaving just one layer of fabric across the baby’s back for much more breathability.
•Poppin’s Hip Carry (PHC) in a Wrap
•Ruck, either tied in front or under bum (RTIF or RUB) for a quick breathable back carry.
•Rebozo carry using a short Wrap
What should I be aware of, or consider, when wearing my baby in the water?
I often tell caregivers when it comes to babywearing, “trust your instincts”, same goes with the water. But here is a good starting point.
•Make sure baby is close enough to kiss (unless wearing on your back, then make sure you are able to hear baby). When baby is close, it is easier for them to communicate to you if the weather is too hot, the water is uncomfortable, etc.
•Babies under 3 months aren’t able to regulate body temperature well. Pay close attention to them, especially while getting in and out of the water, as they will get cold much quicker than older children.
•Don’t forget the sunscreen and a nice floppy hat for baby! Even though baby is covered, little limbs are getting exposed to the sun, especially the knees. For newborns or little ones that aren’t ready for sunscreen, you can tuck their arms and legs into the carrier.
•In a swimming pool, only go in waist deep. Often times, the pool water is very close in temperature to the air, making it difficult to tell how high the water level is on you and baby.
•At the lake or beach, only go in ankle deep and/or where you are able to see your feet. If you go in too deep you might not be able to see what lies under the water, a drop in the ocean/lake floor, a strong current, or even a jellyfish or broken glass.
•Never babywear while on a boat, pool float, or anything else that would put you over waist deep water.
The benefits of waterwearing are the same as babywearing on dry land, only now, you are able to do it in your swimsuit! Keep those babies close this summer and get in the water!
Woodland Mama Mary