Using a Soft Structured Carrier with a Newborn

Baby wearing is a great way to keep both mom and baby happy. Most soft structured carriers are great for babies from newborn to toddler. But when you are using a soft structured carrier with an infant there are a few things you should know. Most soft structured carriers (SSC) NEED an infant insert. It is not safe or ergonomically correct to use a soft structured carrier with and infant without the infant insert. If you do not have the infant insert, most of the time a small, rolled up blanket will work. I will show you how to do this. Baby’s legs need to be in an M for proper support. The infant insert or rolled up blanket helps baby’s legs to be in the proper position.

When wearing your infant in any baby wearing device, you should always adhere to the ABC’s of baby wearing. Airway- always make sure baby’s airway stays open by keeping baby’s chin off their chest. This allows fresh air to circulate around baby’s face. Always keep baby close enough to kiss the top of their head. You should be able to see baby at all times. Body positioning-be sure your carrier supports baby in a way that is appropriate for baby’s age and development. Make sure baby is not slumped. Baby should ideally have their knees higher than their bum letting baby’s weight rest on their thighs and bum, not their hip joints. Comfort- your carrier should be comfortable for both you and baby. If you are not comfortable and confident, baby probably is not comfortable. Seek help and/or try again.

Most SSC have an infant insert you can purchase separately to use with your infant.

In a SSC newborns and infants should be worn in an upright tummy to tummy position with their legs in or out, depending on the carrier. Your carrier should hold your baby just like you would, cradling baby’s bum and back and supporting their head. Your carrier should offer this support as well.

The optimal positioning for an infant (I consider an infant to be newborn up to 4 months) is

Close enough to kiss, arms inside carrier, two fingers fit under baby’s chin, always visible, legs inside SSC if base is too wide, fully supported back, legs form an M position. An infant insert helps baby get into and maintain this position. A rolled up blanket works instead of an infant insert.

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rolled up blanket next to an infant insert

Notice how the infant insert and the rolled up blanket allow Baby Sister’s legs to be in a frog like or M position. The extra insert helps her to be up high enough to get a good fit with the carrier for both me and baby. I also suggest not having baby wear a footed pajama when using a SSC. I feel like Baby Sister’s legs are being pulled up when she is in a footed pajama.

If you have any questions or need help positioning baby, feel free to leave a comment and I will try to help. Look up Baby Wearing International on Facebook and see if there is a chapter near you. Babywearing groups often have meet ups. This is a great way to make new friends and to learn how to properly use your carrier. Certified Babywearing Experts will help you navigate the baby wearing world!

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2 thoughts on “Using a Soft Structured Carrier with a Newborn”

  1. This site is really informative. Thanks for sharing. Just looking at the photos made me believe an infant insert is indeed necessary.I’m sharing this with my friends who have just given birth.

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