As a new or expectant mom, when you consider babywearing, the water is probably not the first thing that pops into your head. However, once spring break arrives or summer is just around the corner, you may think about how you’re going to manage your new baby around water. It’s important to have an option or two prepared for those hot months, whether you choose a wrap or waterproof baby carrier with buckles. Here are some recommendations to keep in mind as you shop around.
Water Options for Baby
Baby floats are available for infants from three to six months, and six to twelve months. But what happens if your baby is under three months, or they don’t enjoy the floaty and want to be held? Having a waterproof baby carrier will be beneficial for getting through your beach vacation, trip to the pool, visit to a splash pad, or outing at the lake. I’ve even worn my baby in the shower at a campsite where there was nowhere to set my little one down and we both needed to get clean.
The options for babywearing in the water include mesh wraps, mesh ring slings, or a polyester soft-structured infant carrier, among others. Wraps and ring slings work well for younger infants but offer no added support once the baby starts to grow. Soft-structured infant carriers (buckle carriers) may offer support if they have a padded waistband, but most soft structured waterproof options do not grow with your infant or you may need to purchase more than one carrier when you need to go up in size.
A wrap is a long piece of fabric and requires some maneuvering to keep it from dragging on the ground. It also required some effort for me to get on, so you can’t quickly slip it on and off. When you’ve got an energetic two-year-old to chase after, speed is of the essence. A ring sling is quicker to take on and off, but adjusting it is trickier and all of baby’s weight is placed on one shoulder.
When I was on the hunt for a water carrier I also tried out a mei tai made from spandex (the same material as your swimsuit) this seemed like a great option but I quickly found out it wasn’t for me. Spandex stretches out and wet spandex sags. My baby dropped at least three inches in the carrier from the material stretching and sagging when wet. It was not a comfortable carry for either of us.
The Neptune Baby Carrier
Making the Neptune Baby Carrier was the best option all around. When I couldn't find exactly what I needed it, it was time to make it! As a buckle carrier, it is easy to adjust and quick to put on. The weight is distributed evenly, with a padded waistband and padded shoulder straps for maximum comfort. The neoprene material is waterproof - not just water-resistant - so drying time is minimal. Neoprene is also extremely soft on the baby’s skin and does not sag when wet, making it an ideal waterproof carrier.
The waterproof baby carrier can be worn with infants as small as seven pounds up to a toddler weighing 45 pounds, so there’s no need to spend more money to buy the next size up. It also has an attached hood that provides shade from the sun for infants’ sensitive skin. Not only does it have a waterproof pocket to store valuables in, but it has three pockets in total for added storage which is always helpful for moms.
Looking for The First ALL PURPOSE Baby Carrier?
Check out The Neptune Infant to Toddler Carrier
Water safety is concern number one. Being hands-free in or near the water will allow moms and dads to monitor other children while they’re swimming. Most young children move from activity to activity at lightning speed, so peacefully sitting at the edge of the pool or standing in the shallow end while they stay in the same spot to play is highly unlikely. And once you throw a toddler or two in the mix, things can get dicey fast!
When water wearing, keep in mind these safety instructions:
● When wearing baby in or near the water, the same safety rules apply: baby should be close enough to kiss, easily visible to monitor breathing, and well-supported in an upright position. (You can reference the ABCs of Babywearing Safety for more details.)
● Infants also have very sensitive skin. Apply sunscreen regularly and put them in hats and rash guards to protect them from sunburns and skin irritation.
● Hot tubs, spas, and pools heated to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit are off-limits to children younger than 3 years of age.
● Water temperature should not be lower than 85 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain baby’s comfort. If your child starts shivering, it is time to get out. Most public pools tend to be unheated, so wearing your infant in a carrier will add a layer of warmth that they would not get if they were placed in a floaty.
● Waterproof baby carriers are not for use while swimming. They may be used while standing or walking in waist-deep water only. Don’t wade into water too deep to maintain firm footing.
● When traveling on a boat, baby needs to be in a life vest, NOT in the carrier.
● It is also tempting to want to wear baby in a front carry facing out while in the water, but keep in mind that splashing happens, a lot. Infants under two months of age are more susceptible to picking up bacteria and viruses in the water and less capable of shielding their eyes, nose, and mouth from any water splashing into their face. Infants should also not be worn in a back carry while in the water because you’ll be unable to monitor their face and breathing.
Fun in the sun shouldn’t end or get any harder when baby arrives. Finding the right waterproof baby carrier will ensure that you and your family can stay active and comfortable while keeping your little ones safe. Of course, summer also isn’t the only time you have to enjoy the water - camping throughout the year and enjoying indoor pools during the off-season also gives you ample opportunity to make use of a waterproof baby carrier.
We’d love to hear about your water adventures. Drop a few lines below and add a picture of your experiences water-wearing your little ones. We want to hear from you!