Hurrah for Spring, creeping out of the darkness of winter to enjoy the warm spring sunshine hitting your face, the gentle cool breeze reminding you you need an extra layer when the clouds play hide and seek with the sun. Being able to explore outside to stimulate your baby's senses in the gentleness of mother nature, exploring shadows, feeling the softness of grass on there tiny toes and all of the wonder of spring flowers offering a vibrancy of colours dancing in the wind.
Introducing outdoor playtime into your daily rhythm is a wonderful way to introduce your baby to the natural world, by returning to the same place often your baby as it grows will see the changing seasons and form a bond with you, nature and your local community. The familiarity of a your movement in a baby carrier will help form a calming attachment to being outside along with memories of being greeted by local dog walkers, meeting another family regularly and wondering in the joy baby ducklings, wild flowers and squelching mud.
Sounds idyllic doesn't? So what happens when you get caught in an April shower? Your baby gets uncomfortable by the natural elements and you have a less than joyful time, putting you of venturing out in 'bad weather'. In a previous blog post I discussed the Scandinavian approach 'there's not such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing' so how can you keep your baby comfortable in the unpredictable British weather?
Protecting your baby against the elements is the key to having a enjoyable time in nature. Wind, sun, moisture and temperature are the elements you need to bare in mind when packing your bag for a trip outside. The base layer will regulate temperature and in the warmer months lighter breathable layers will be required, when thinking of body temperature and baby wearing consider the impact of your own body temperature. Thinner layers are more suitable and you can wear a waterproof outer layer that covers your baby keeping the wind and rain at bay. There are some fantastic coats and jackets yo can purchase specifically to cover your baby when carrier them or like me just buy a size bigger and check it has room for your baby to grow. As a rule of thumb, a base layer, long sleeved top with socks and bottoms or sleepsuit, and cardigan with lightweight hat is suitable in the warmer months. You can remove or add an extra layers or utilise your coat if the weather changes.
In cool wet weather as baby grows and is outward facing layer a lightweight hat and rain suit, not forgetting to cover those little feet with baby leg warmers or a pair of your socks to keep their little legs from the elements. Sunny weather will require a sun hat, I would recommend a strap that velcros under the chin to avoid losing it in the wind or it being pulled off, thin long sleeved clothing items are suitable for younger babies as any prolonged sun exposure will be harmful to their sensitive skin, you can purchase UV clothing for an extra layer of protection.
If using your pram substitute your jacket with blankets, breathable ones with holes are a great way to ensure babies don't over heat. Leaving your baby to nap outdoors in the warmer months in a great way to promote longer, deeper and more restorative naps. Only do this if your baby is safe to do so in a private enclosed garden, ensure they are in the shade out of direct sunlight, against a wall that protects them from the wind or if it starts to rain. Check you baby often if you having a quick whizz round to tidy up, leaving baby monitor nearby if they are out of sight and ensure they are asleep on their backs and not over bundled with too many blankets and layers.
Remember being outside in nature will promote your wellbeing as much as your babies, even if it's only a 15-20 min walk try and find a local spot, away from traffic where you can breathe in fresh air and be curious about the changes in nature on your walk. Ensuring that you also are dresses appropriately with accessible clothing if you are nursing. I always found keeping a muslin handy protected my dignity and offer some shade to keep the sun of of my girls face.
If you are feeling worried about leaving the house with your baby and would like to join a supportive community you can attend one of your baby-led nature groups at Delph Woods. Alternatively you can pop me a message about a 1:1 session if you prefer by clicking the lets chat button.