by Shel Silverstein
I can’t get cool,
I’ve drunk a quart of lemonade.
I think I’ll take my shoes off
And sit around in the shade.
My back is sticky.
The sweat rolls down my chin.
I think I’ll take my clothes off
And sit around in my skin.
I’ve tried with ’lectric fans,
And pools and ice cream cones.
I think I’ll take my skin off
And sit around in my bones.
It’s still hot!
This poem is often what comes to mind when people ask about wearing in the heat. To some degree, you can do a million different things to try to make wearing cooler, but at the end of the day, on a 95 degree high humidity day in DC, strapping a little heater to yourself isn't going to make you cooler. I consider this my personal reminder system to take regular water/nursing/bottle breaks for you and baby. It is also a good reminder that breaks in the shade or AC are a good plan. Baby in a stroller is just as hot, but you might be less aware because YOU aren't as hot. So, no matter how you transport baby, when taking baby out on a hot day, pay attention to hydration and sun exposure for both of you.
There are some things you can do to mitigate (but not eliminate) the heat. Some people find that it is helpful to use a mei tai or soft structure carrier. They seem to allow for a little more air movement between parent and baby. With twins you can wear both a mei tai AND a soft structure carrier!
Some prefer to use a mei tai or SSC that has a mesh panel or is made from a tech fabric like a performance nylon or with a mesh interior for increased air movement.
A few such carriers are even labeled for use in the water!
Some wearers have found that exercise cooling towels can bring a little relief on a hot day. These work through water evaporation, but apparently once wrung out they don't get you wet. Many put these between themselves and an older baby or toddler, or between the child and the carrier. I don't recommend putting it against a small baby, but you can still drape it around your neck for cooling. You can see K has one hanging out from between them. Even a low tech wet wash cloth can be used, but you'll feel much wetter... I'd reserve that for an all day festival where you're going to feel wet and gross no matter what.
One popular brand of the high tech towels is Frogg Togg, but many have found cheaper versions at discount stores.
Other wearers prefer to stick with the comfort of wraps on a hot day. They feel the support of a wrap overshadows any minor increase in warmth. However, certain carries can feel cooler on a hot day. Single layer carries can relieve a little heat, especially if you dress baby in little to no clothing. In general, as long as baby is big enough for back carries, most people find back carries to feel cooler than front carries.
When working in the house or garden, you can even remove your shirt. A double hammock carry can be done shirtless to give you the least extra layers.
Another carrier style that is popular in the hot summer months is a ring sling. It is one layer of fabric all the way around and it can come in a variety of fabrics including linen and a mesh that works in the water or out. This can be a great option for a newborn that isn't ready for back carries.
Whenever possible, it's a good idea to help keep baby out of the sun. Large sun hats (with a chin strap) are a great option. Some families use an umbrella as a parasol, but another option is a carrier sun cover.
Finally, when all else fails, get wet!
And when you're finished in the pool, that water sling will help get a slippery baby showered off!
Other accessories that can help with cooling include those little personal fans or a misting bottle (or those combo fan/misters). Hopefully some of this will help with making babywearing a great way to transport baby to every summer activity your family wants to enjoy!