There are so many reasons to love wearing your babies. You may want to leave that bulky stroller at home or go somewhere a stroller won’t go, you may like rocking your baby to sleep and want to make it easier, you may like to get things done while keeping your baby happy and seeing what’s going on, or you may just love keeping your baby close. Or, like me, you may have babies that just refuse to be put down some days.
Enter babywearing! Whether you do it all day, every day or only a few times before your child outgrows it, it can be a little overwhelming when you are looking at all the different types of carriers while also memorizing all of the safety measures. So I thought I would share a few of the highlights for those of you that are new to baby wearing and aren’t sure where to start! A lot of these are really important and while I am not an “expert” on baby wearing, these are simple, yet serious to wearing your baby in a way that is healthy and safe for both of you!
1.Research before you buy.
Baby wearing can become sort of a fad, especially when people get swept up in certain brands etc.! I am constantly seeing pictures on Instagram and Pinterest of moms wearing their babies in a popular wrap or carrier, but not in a safe way. Again, I’m no expert on baby wearing, but did a lot of research before wearing my baby for the first time and I feel that that was so important. I was able to get many opinions, research stories, and read up on the most important safety measures to take with each type of carrier. In the same way that a first-time parent should read how to appropriately put together a crib or install a car seat, it’s important to read up on the safest way to carry for both the parent and the baby.
There are so many carriers on the market that it can be confusing. Think about for how long and how often you want to wear your baby, as well as whether you are likely to feel confident wrapping up a carrier or have a preference for buckles or rings. There is a good breakdown of the types of carriers here.
Always, always, always babywear safely! Follow the TICKS guidelines.
Tight. Baby should be close to your body not dangling with loose fabric.
In view at all times. This is for younger babies in front carriers. Make sure they are not under layers of fabric where you can’t see them.
Close enough to kiss. Keep your baby’s head close to your chin. If your baby sits too low it can be really easy for their breathing to get blocked and is also really terrible for your back! If you have your baby wrapped and a person standing in front of you can’t see the baby’s head, then that is also a pretty good clue that you have wrapped/carried too low.
Keep the chin off the chest. Make sure baby’s head is not being forced to curl down onto it’s chest which can restrict breathing. This is mainly important to watch for when carrying a newborn that doesn’t have any head control yet. If they do have their chin on their chest it means that their airway is smaller than it should be, so make sure that baby is lifted and resting their head comfortably.
Supported back. For both the carrier and the baby.
4.Be sure the baby’s legs are in an “M” Shape.
I have found that there are pretty mixed opinions when it comes to carrying a newborn (mainly in a wrap), this tip particularly applies as baby starts to grow. For us, I decided to skip the “newborn carry” after a week or so and move straight to the “classic carry.” The newborn carry is basically when you bend your newborn’s knees before placing them in the wrap and their legs stay in the wrap so that they look like a frog. Recently, I have read a lot that carrying like this is not the healthiest way for baby and can actually contribute to hip dysplasia. I also want to mention, that the classic carry seems much easier to get used to, especially because once you learn how to do it quickly and efficiently, you don’t have to learn again–baby will always be carried this way.
When it comes to wraps and even some SSC, there is a learning curve. Don’t expect to be able to master every carry on your first try. I have to stop and re adjust several times while wrapping. Luckily, my babies love it and have patience with me while I learn new carries. Front carries are the easiest to master, so start there.
Look on You Tube. There are hundreds of videos showing different types of carriers being used and the easiest way to get them on and off. Type in the brand you have or want to look at and I promise you will find a ton of how-to’s!
The first time you use a carrier make sure your baby is happy! Trying to figure out a back carry with a size 7 wrap for the first time with teething toddler who hasn’t had her nap spells disaster and won’t leave either of you with a good feeling about it.
8.Talk to someone who has done it before
Chances are you know someone who has more than one carrier and would be happy to show you some tips. People who love babywearing usually want to share the joy (hence why I’m blogging here).
Don’t let anyone tell you that you are coddling or spoiling your child. There is nothing wrong with doing something that keeps your baby happy and content. This usually keeps Mama happy and content! You can get all of your housework or shopping done, or play with older siblings while a baby naps in the carrier. You can leave the stoller at home when you travel and you can enjoy more time smooching the top of your baby’s head. You won’t be wearing them in a sling to school. Promise.
Variety is the spice of life, right? Not everyone in the world is going to love wearing their baby. And some people may need to try a few different kinds before deciding on one that will be their go-to. But if you or your baby just aren’t into it, that’s okay!
Hopefully these little tidbits are helpful and makes wearing your baby a fun and easy learning experience.