As the weather warms up in the Tokyo area, you may be wondering if it’s time to put down the baby carrier for a few months. Baby wearing in summer is definitely something to monitor a bit more closely that other times of the year, but just because it’s getting warm doesn’t mean you have to put your sling away! Here are some tips to keep you and your baby cool in the hot, humid summer months so you can enjoy your time together while staying safe from the heat. Remember that you can always book a consultation with Anika if you’d like personalized recommendations for your unique circumstances.
Keeping well hydrated, both yourself, AND your baby, will help both of you reduce the likelihood of heatstroke and replace any water lost from sweating. Baby should have breast milk or formula until at least 6 months, and then you can slowly introduce other liquids depending on what your doctor recommends. Filtered water and caffeine free teas like mugicha are often good first choices, but if you have any questions, a pediatrician or lactation consultant might be able to help out better.
For moms who are breastfeeding, hydrating is even more important. You don’t need to drink more than makes you comfortable, but make sure to listen to your body and drink enough water to satisfy your thirst.
Stay in the Shade
Whenever possible, try to get out of direct sunlight that can quickly overheat you or your baby. Remember that babies can’t regulate their own body temperature until they are about 1.5 to 2 years old, so this is extra important for them! You can look for shade outdoors, or bring your own.
I like to bring a parasol or UV cutting umbrella with me even now. They are great at cutting down the sun’s rays and cooling you down by a few degrees. You can find an example of a good travel uv umbrella here that is light weight and can easily fit in your baby bag.
Keeping Cool While Baby Wearing in Summer
I LOVE cool pack inserts for baby wearing. These are super easy to use and will keep your baby cool, but not too cold, for up to 5 hours. I usually would have 2-3 that I left in the freezer. When I was ready to go out, I just grab a cool pack, pop it in the cloth cover, and insert between baby and the carrier. Make sure the cool pack doesn’t touch baby’s skin directly, but I always found the plush covers to be very secure. My son in particular loved these and would grab them from the freezer himself once he could walk there!
It might be tempting to think that the stroller would be a safer, less hot option for your child. It’s really easy for strollers to overheat according to research done in Sweden. They found even a thin muslin cloth left over a stroller could cause a huge jump in temperature. In their experiment it went from 22 to 34 degrees celsius in 30 minutes. Baby wearing allows you to more closely monitor your child so you can be sure they don’t feel too hot and air doesn’t get trapped next to them either.
Last but not least, don’t forget sunscreen for both you and your baby. Baby’s skin is delicate and it’s important to protect it from harmful UV rays, but we also want to use something gentle that won’t irritate your child. Luckily there are many companies working on baby friendly sunscreen recently. Allobaby is one brand that has been quite popular in Japan and they make additive-free sunscreen that can be used from a very young age.
(Usually, sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under age one.)
Final Thoughts on Baby Wearing in Summer
Baby wearing in summer is a great option for vacations and taking short weekend trips around the city. Hauling a heavy stroller around Tokyo isn’t ideal, especially on packed trains. As long as you plan ahead and keep hydrated, stay in the shade, and use some accessories to keep you and baby safe and as cool as possible, baby wearing isn’t something you’ll have to give up during the warmer months. Anika has a great selection of carriers and slings for all occasions, many in natural fibers that will breath better during the summer (hello muslin!). Book a consultation to find out which solution would be best for you today. Don’t forget about the Sling Library if you are unsure if one of the carriers would work for you and your baby. You can try it out before you buy.
- Body temperature and small babies (Snuza)
- Fluids for mother and child (Kellymom)
- Prams in summer – The Mirror