Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2013 Guide to Summer Baby Carriers

Check out our updated 2014 Guide to Sumemr Baby Carriers

With spring just around the corner and summer close behind that, many are already wondering what babywearing is going to be like when the heat hits.   Babywearing in winter is a great way to keep your little one warm while you enjoy outdoor activities in the cold.  But having a little body touching you when it's 90 degrees out is going to feel hot, no matter what.  Luckily, there are some carries that are cooler than others.  While you still might get hot wearing your little one, these carriers can help keep you and your baby a little more comfortable while babywearing this summer.

When deciding what carrier to get for summer, you have to decide what your needs are.  If you have a little baby or a toddler that you only wear for a short period of time, a ring sling might be the best option.  But if you plan to do a lot of babywearing this summer, you'll probably want the comfort of a two should carrier like a mei tai, soft structured carrier (aka buckle carrier), or even a lighter wrap.

Ring Slings
Ring slings are great for summer. They don't have as much fabric touching you and your baby as some carriers and they are great for quick carries when a busy toddler wants to be held for a few minutes and then wants down again. But ring slings are a one shoulder carrier and unless you are used to it, prolonged wearing with a ring sling can get uncomfortable since your child's weight will mostly be on one shoulder.

By nature, ring slings will be cooler just because of the lack of fabric, but there are lots of ring slings that are made using fabrics that are cooler and more breathable than others.  Linen is a fabric that many people like for summer and you can find them available by Sakura Bloom, SweetPea Ring Slings, Sleeping Baby Productions and Kalea Baby, as well as many other brands.  The super thin Hoppediz Pune wraps we had converted by Kalea Baby make an AMAZINGLY light wrap conversion sling that is thin, lightweight, super soft, but still really supportive.  We also carry these Wrapsody Bali Breeze gauze wraps converted by SweetPea Ring Slings.  These lightweight gauze wraps are still breathable even as a double layer ring sling.  If you can find one, Solarveil is really lightweight and airy, although please be aware that it does not offer any UV protection like once believed (read more here).  We do carry a Kalea Baby ring sling made out of Solarweave, which offers a UPF rating of 50+.  This fabric is really lightweight and thin and dries fast, which is why it is listed as a water carrier.

Realistically though, most ring slings are going to be fairly cool simply due to the open design, so unless you are planning to spend a large amount of time outside or live in a particularly hot area, you might was well just pick the ring sling you like most and will enjoy using year round!

For the wrappers out there, you don't have to stop wrapping just because it's summer.  There are a lot of great wraps out there that are lighter and better in the heat. Wraps can be a great option for summer since there are so many different ways to use them. You can find lots of different ways to wrap using The Babywearer's extensive wrap instructions links page or by purchasing wrap instruction media like the Wrapsody DVD or Hoppediz instruction booklet.

If you are looking for a woven, both the Pune and Light by Hoppediz are great wraps for summer.  They are thin, light weight, and breathable.  The Light feels more like a high quality thick cotton sheet while the Jacquard Pune feels more like a traditional woven, only super thin and floppy, but surprisingly supportive.  The Amazonas Classic wraps are lighter and more affordable than many wovens, though they are not well known in the US and are harder to find here. Vatanai and Didymos linens are other brands of lighter woven wraps that people recommend for warmer weather.

Gauze wraps, like the Wrapsody Bali Breeze, are very light and airy. You have to be more careful when wrapping a gauze wrap to avoid pressure points, but these wraps are very cool and lighter than a woven.  Wrapsody also makes a stretch wrap that is kind of a hybrid wrap. It's not as stretchy as a standard stretch wrap and can be used comfortably with older, heavier babies. The wraps are thinner than other stretch wraps, making them much lighter and cooler. You can also safely use this wrap to do other carries that are not safe to do in a traditional stretch wrap.

If you just absolutely love stretch wraps though, or have a tiny baby you want to snuggle this summer, check out one made with a bamboo blend since bamboo tends to be a cooler fabric and helps wick moisture away.   Anaju, Happy Wrap and Lovey Duds all make bamboo stretch wraps and you can even make your own by purchasing a bamboo jersey at the fabric store.  Moby wraps aren't bamboo and are fairly heavy, but they do have some that offer extra UV protection if that is a concern for you.

Mei Tais and Soft Structured Carriers
Mei Tais and soft structured carriers (buckle carriers) can be another good option for summer babywearing. If you wear your little one a lot and for long periods of time, you will want the support of a two shoulder carrier like these.

When looking for a Mei Tai or soft structured carrier, try to avoid anything made with heavy materials or lots of layers. Thinner, narrower bodied carriers are going to allow more air around you and baby and help keep you both cooler.

If you are looking for a buckle carrier, AngelPacks are one of the lighter SSCs on the market that are not specifically designed for summer and great for year round use.  But if you are looking for something more specifically for summer, the Outback by Onya Baby and the ERGO Performance Baby Carrier are both designed to be cooler with mesh linings that wick away moisture.  Two Mommas Designs also has a Solarweave carrier that is very thin, has a UPF 50+ rating, wicks moisture and dries fast which is why it is listed as a water carrier.  The Boba Air is also very light and thin, though made out of nylon, so not as breathable as some carriers.

If you prefer mei tais, Earthy Bliss has a wrap conversion mei tai called the Heavenly Breeze that has been designed to be light weight and cooler.  It is made using a single layer of woven wrap for the body panel, so it is lighter and more breathable than other conversions that are usually made with several layers of fabric.  Cotton mei tais like Two Mommas Designs and BabyHawk are generally also decent light weight options.

Nuzzle Me Creations and KinderPack both make mei tais and buckle carriers with a mesh center panel, though both these brands can be harder to buy new since they are usually made to order.

Water Carriers
A water carrier can be a really useful thing to own, especially in summer. These can be worn in the ocean or pool, as well as the shower. Many also provide some sun protection, but protection can vary. Water carriers can be found in a variety of styles, including stretch wraps, ring slings, and Mei Tais.

Wrapsody makes a stretch wrap water carrier with a UPF rating for 45. Our Kalea Baby water slings as well as the Two Mommas Designs full buckle water carriers are made with Solarweave, which is super light, dries fast, and has a UPF 50+ rating.  SweetPea Ring Slings, Comfy Joey and TaylorMade Slings make mesh ring slings for use in water.  Solarveil Mei Tais and ring slings are harder to find, but they are out there, especially if you look for people selling used carriers, but they do not offer the sun protection that Solarveil once claimed (see more about Solarveil here).

See our special blog post for more information about choosing a water carrier.

Sun Protection
As we mentioned, there are a few carriers that offer sun protection, but most do not.  Making sure your little babe doesn't burn is important while enjoying the summer together.  Make sure your baby has a hat, preferably one with a UPF rated fabric.  All fabrics will shade the skin, but just because a fabric offers enough shade to keep your baby from turning red doesn't mean that their sensitive skin is not still being damaged by the UV rays.  Some people also use umbrellas as portable shade.  You may look a little silly at the park, but your baby will thank you.  Another option is to buy a special cover designed to protect their skin, like the Peekaru Ozone cover, though this particular cover has been discontinued and there are a limited number available before they are gone.  Sun blocks are also an option, but make sure you get one that is safe for your baby and their age.  Tickle Time is a new powder sun block that is 100% all natural minerals. 

Final thought
Summer is hot and having your baby touch you is never going to be cool. That being said, a little sweat never hurt anyone and it's worth the added convenience and snuggles you get in exchange! So find a carrier that makes you more comfortable and enjoy your summer!

For more general information on fabric options and carrier styles when choosing a summer carrier, see our Warm Weather Babywearing post.

Have a tip you'd like to share? Contact us, we'd love to hear it!


  1. Good guide, i used Ergo baby carrier for my first child. It was comfortable.

  2. i love reading this article so beautiful!!great job!
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