Wearing baby in a baby carrier is convenient and great for baby’s development! If it works for you, definitely give it a try.
If you had a c-section or a difficult birth, you may need to give yourself time to heal first. Hold off until you are feeling good. If you have a partner, encourage them to try it out!
When Can You Start Babywearing
As soon as you feel comfortable and ready to try! Newborns tend to love it more than any other age because they are used to being connected to mom already. They are used to being fully contained in the womb, so snuggling them in this cozy way can make them feel really good!
Harvey Karp, author of “The Happiest Baby” coined the term the 4th trimester to describe baby’s first 3 months out of the womb. Babies want to be as close to their parents as possible during this time! He states that we should think of newborns as fetuses in the outside world.
Safety with Babywearing
The biggest risk with babywearing is suffocation. Because young babies do not yet have good head control, it is easy for them to get into positions that make it more difficult to breathe.
This can easily be avoided with good positioning. Make sure you can see baby’s face and that there is nothing covering their face. Keep your own body in an upright position with good posture.
WebMD uses the acronym “TICKS” to help parents remember how to keep baby safe.
- I-In view at all times
- C-Close enough to kiss
- K-Keep chin off chest
- S-Supported back
Follow these rules to keep baby in a good position!
What Type of Baby Carrier is Best
This depends on baby’s age and your own body and preferences. Some people love wraps because they can custom fit it on their body. Other people are intimidated by the long piece of fabric and don’t want to bother with this. You may have to try different types to find what works best for you!
Baby Carriers for Newborns
During the first 3 months, the best carriers keep baby snug to your body and are soft and supportive. Wraps tend to work the best at this young age. The Boba and the Moby are two of the most popular and can easily be found on Amazon.
While there is a learning curve with figuring out how to use a wrap, they are so versatile and can be used in so many different ways. Boba has a great video on Youtube that shows how to tie a wrap. There are also many other videos on Youtube that show all the ways to tie and use wrap carriers.
If you like the idea of a wrap but don’t want to spend the time figuring out how to tie it, there is an easier option! My hands down favorite carrier for newborns is the Baby K’tan. It functions like a wrap but you don’t have to tie it. Make sure you buy the right size for your body to get a good fit!
Baby Carriers for Older Infants and Toddlers
You can use structured carriers at any age but they really work great for older infants and toddlers. I tried several with my son and end up loving LÍLLÉbaby the most. It provided the most support, which I really needed after birth. If you have a history of back pain, I highly recommend this carrier!
My husband’s favorite was ErgoBaby and I also started to really like using it as our son got older and bigger.
When Can Baby Face Out in a Carrier
It is best to wait until about 6 months of age to face baby out. Make sure they have excellent head and neck control before turning them around.
Whenever you do face baby out, make sure they do not fall asleep in this position. Their head and neck can get into unsupportive positions when they fall asleep which increased the risk of asphyxiation. Turn them in if they start getting tired!
When Can Baby Be Worn on My Back
By the time baby reaches their 1st birthday, many parents will find it uncomfortable to wear baby in front of them. Once baby has excellent head and neck control and is able to sit on their own, you can try out a back carry. This probably won’t be until about 6 months of age or older.
Babywearing and Breastfeeding
One great trick to use with a baby carrier is to breastfeed! If you are using a structured carrier, you can lower the straps to bring baby down lower to breastfeed. Check out Ergobaby’s video on Youtube for tips.
The techniques used will vary depending on the type of carrier used. If you want to breastfeed while using a wrap carrier, you can change baby’s position to make it work. This video by Moby is a helpful guide.
Make sure you are wearing breastfeeding friendly clothing. A great nursing tank top makes breastfeeding on the go so much easier.
Babywearing and Plagiocephaly
Plagiocephaly (also referred to as flat head syndrome) is a flat spot on baby’s skull. It is caused by them spending too much time on that side.
Babywearing is a great way to prevent baby’s head from becoming flat. There is minimal pressure on baby’s skull when you are wearing them because they are in an upright position.
Babywearing also helps to correct or prevent torticollis (tightness in neck muscles on one side). Torticollis goes hand in hand with plagiocephaly. If baby already prefers turning their head to one side, you can turn their head to the other side while in the carrier. They will probably stay in this position more easily than if laying on the floor.
For more ideas to prevent plagiocephaly check out our article Preventing Flat Head Syndrome.
Babywearing and Motor Skills
Babywearing provides a great opportunity for developing head and neck control. Babies tend to try to turn toward stimuli so if they hear a sound or notice something to look at, they will lift their head and turn toward the stimulus.
This is especially helpful for babies who are struggling with tummy time. While babywearing is not a replacement for tummy time, it can really help improve tummy time skills. By improving neck strength with babywearing, they will more easily be able to lift their head up when on their tummy.
Babywearing can Reduce Crying
Babies want to be close to their parents! It is human nature. Wearing baby can keep them content for longer periods of time which can reduce stress for both of you. If baby has GI discomfort such as reflux, babywearing can help by keeping them in an upright position. Just make sure the carrier is snug but not too tight!
Babywearing Builds Connection
Having your baby close can be good for both them and you! In addition to this activity making your baby happy, it can also produce positive feelings for you as well! Closeness fosters connection and relationship. Keeping your baby close to you rather than in a swing across the room can help with bonding.
Babywearing Allows You to be Hands Free
While it is not safe to cook or use harsh cleaners while wearing your baby, there are plenty of other things to do! You can prepare simple snacks for your older children, transfer laundry from the washer to the dryer, empty the dishwasher, and hang clothes up in the closet.
It is also nice for going out and about if you don’t want to deal with a stroller. It can be convenient for running errands, taking older children to the park, or going for a walk.
Need More Help with Babywearing?
Babywearing can take some time to get used to and it is definitely not for everyone. Some people really struggle finding a carrier that they and their baby love and feel comfortable with.
Babywearing is definitely not something you have to do. But if you choose to do it, there can be great benefits!
For more help, head over to Instagram! There are some great accounts on Instagram with so many tips and tricks. I especially love Karla Castro @thebabywearingclub and Cassidy @letstalkbabywearing .
For other ideas about how to best support newborn development, check out our E-Book The First 12 Weeks: The Best Ways to Support Your New Baby’s Development.
Carriers come in a variety of prices but some are quite expensive! Add one or two to your registry to help cut costs! Amazon has a great baby registry with more options than any other. You can also buy carriers used at thrift stores or through parent groups on Facebook or resale apps like OfferUp. Most carriers can easily be washed and reused!
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