Saturday, January 28, 2012

Baby-wearing at 30 below

I love walking in the woods around our home. We have trails going in either direction from the property. They meander through the spruce and aspen, bordered by carpets of bear-berry and creeping twin flower in the summer months. The rest of the year, as the snow grows deep and deeper, I like to strap on my snowshoes and carve out my own trail, alongside those of snowshoe hares, squirrels and grouse. 

Having a tiny baby to take out with me has presented a bit of a problem. Throughout my pregnancy, I dreamed of sharing my love of the natural world with my child. And right now, baby-wearing is the way to go. I can watch his face as he takes in the sights, and tuck his head a little closer to my chest when he nods off. Plus, taking a stroller on a forest trail is pretty much impossible! 

But how do I safely wear my baby out at 20 or 30 below zero? 

Still warm out in late September
It's a real quandry I've been in since the onset of the cold season. In the late Autumn, I'd snuggle him into the Moby wrap and button one of P's quilted flannel jackets around us. Shared body heat is pretty amazing for keeping us both warm, and on days warmer than minus 20, this is the way to go.

What about a day like today, when our high is about -33? I know I can keep Aedan's core warm, but what about his little face, peeking out of my coat to gaze at all the snow? I've tried a couple things: wearing a big fluffy scarf myself, or cutting up a pair of old merino-silk long underwear to make a little neck warmer. For whatever reason, these didn't work too well. I've thought about rubbing thick fat or grease on his face, like I've been told Inuit ladies did with their babies. But I  don't think the clean-up job would be worth it!

A little colder in November!

Today, I think I finally hit on the solution. I dress Aedan in a fleece sleeper, and then a lightly lined, hooded snowsuit. I put on a hat, and pull the hood up. Lately I've been going with our Ergo carrier. It's so much easier to get him in there with all the winter layers! Then, I fold up a fleece receiving blanket and tuck it loosely across the lower half of his face and down into the back of the carrier. It works perfectly! He can still see out, and I'm not so worried about his delicate, brand-new skin getting frost-bitten.

What about me? I wear a couple light layers of merino wool, and then I zip us both into an old army surplus parka. Having a baby on your chest is like your own little portable heater!

 This way, we can both comfortably enjoy a walk in the woods with the dogs, without being too cold or overheating!

How do you (or did you) dress your baby to deal with cold temperatures?


  1. I packed both of my boys in my amauti that I bought when I lived in Nunavut. Such a pleasant way to pack them around in the cold.

    Here are some photos from a few years ago:

    They are such great heaters, eh?

    1. Wow, Kara, that parka is awesome! How does it work at the back? How does the amouti fit without a baby, could it be worn on its own?

      Thanks for posting this link!

  2. You two look so sweet all snuggled in that coat together :)
    I used to do that with Eli when he was littler.

    I love those amoutis - I wish I had one! I'd seen pictures of them a long time ago but wasn't sure where to find one. They look amazing.

  3. So there is a big pouch on the back (open to your back). The baby sits in the pouch and you have a tie that cinches the coat in. The hood is really big and you pull it up over you and it gives lots of air in there for the baby. There are a few ways to place the baby in it depending on age.

    It doesn't work well without a baby- cold with no baby on the back! heheh I am selling mine since it is too big now with my weight loss and no more babies for us.

  4. AAWwwww. I can't wait to wear my new baby!! Attie and I used to go walking in the ergo her first winter just like that! She'd always fall asleep tho, so I didnt have to worry about her head poking out to look.
    I covered her head with a blanket and tucked it into the top of my jacket and behind the ergo. She'd do this cute little sigh every second step i'd take!! It was so nice.
    how I'd love to come snowshoeing with you, or just walk your snowshoed paths!
    oh, Sylvia has one of those jackets to wear the babe in the hood... Kyla's mom made it for her!


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