Babywearing is great. I’ve been doing it for years. If you don’t own a baby carrier I’d strongly suggest you look into getting one. Here’s a few reasons why….
With your babe in a carrier you get hands-free time to get things done! Time to make a call or get the groceries. Whilst you doing that you also get to bond closely with your little one, they see what you see, hear what you hear and most importantly hear and feel how you react to it. That close proximity to each other over time promotes better social and cognitive development for your baby.
Carriers give you the ability to go places you can’t go with a stroller, like hiking, up stairs, pretty much anywhere you can walk you go with your baby. They’re also much more convenient for travel as they pack up much smaller. Especially wraps and ring slings.
Whether you choose one of the best ring slings, a woven or stretchy wrap or a soft structured carrier it’s sure to provide many happy moments for you and baby for many months if not years to come. First though it’s sensible to acquaint yourself with good babywearing practices. Good practices work across ALL carrier types, from slings to wraps to soft structured carriers.
Here are 5 important safety tips to remember when you’re babywearing….
Close enough to kiss
Keep them elevated. Front carries should always have your baby positioned high enough up your body so that their head is close enough for you to kiss. A baby high up your body allows you to hear them easily and ensure that their weight is positioned properly on you so you don’t damage your back or shoulders.
Support for the back and bum
In an upright carry your baby should be well supported at their back and close in against you. The carrier should not allow them to slump or slouch down as this can restrict their airway.
All upright carriers should give good support to your babies bum and legs to encourage the correct leg position. The best position for baby legs in a carrier is spread with knees up above their hips.
A Clear Airway
Ensure your baby can breathe easily and their airway is not hindered. If a baby is carried in a curled position where their chin touches their chest there is the potential for the carry to hinder their breathing.
Close fit (but not too close)
A carrier should fit well and all straps should be properly (and not overly) tightened. Slack or improperly fitted carriers will allow for unwanted baby movement. A loose carrier also means an ineffective carrying position for you which can be more tiring and lead to back injury. So keep them snug, but not too snug.
If you can, see their faces
Keep their face visible. The easier it is for you to see your babies face, the easier it is for you to understand their needs. This might not be possible with certain carries, like forward facing or on your back. However you should always be able to see the face of a baby in a sling carry. Don’t let them turn-in towards you and risk smothering them.
A few other things to consider….
Having you baby in a carrier allows you to share a lot of body heat. But make sure there’s enough ventilation on a hot day and warmth on a cold one!
When you’re picking something up squat, don’t bend over. If you have to bend over, make sure you support baby in the carrier with a free arm. Carriers aren’t designed to keep babies from falling out if they’re upside down.
If there’s safety apparatus required for what you’re doing (like a seat belt), you shouldn’t do it with a carrier, so no driving!
Look after your carrier too. Periodic checks of seams and buckles are always a wise idea.
Happy (and safe) babywearing!