Monday, February 25, 2013

Mistakes to Avoid when Babywearing

Babywearing was something I discovered very late with our daughter.  While pregnant, I had purchased a Baby Bjorn carrier from a consignment sale with very little research or thought, and immediately found it to be uncomfortable and troublesome.  The carrier made my back sore, and it always made me feel off-balance when carrying our baby. Our baby seemed to like being carried for short periods, but she quickly became uncomfortable or hungry and the carrier didn't allow me to nurse and carry her.  Unfortunately, that bad experience turned us away from babywearing for almost two years.

It wasn't until I revisited the babywearing issue and I researched and bought a Boba soft carrier, that I discovered how many things I had done wrong or been uneducated about when it came to babywearing:

1. Wearing baby facing out instead of in

I don't know how I missed this critical aspect in the directions of our first baby carrier, but it clearly shows baby should be facing in towards the parent at all times.  Not only is this safer, but it holds the baby in a more comfortable curved-back position and is more comfortable for the parent.  Having baby facing out can also be overstimulating for young babies.  There are some types of carriers where baby can be facing out in an ergonomic position, however some parents still find this uncomfortable because what is ergonomic for baby doesn't necessarily mean it is ergonomic for the parent.

2. Dangling babies

Babywearing should put babies into a natural and comfortable position.  Carriers that don't place babies into a seated or embraced position, leave babies dangling by their groins.  Not only is this uncomfortable for baby, but it results in strain on the developing hip joints.  Hip joints should be supported when baby is carried by having baby placed into a seated position within the carrier.  Parents will find that wearing their baby is also more comfortable when baby is placed into a gentle seated position that allows his spine to relax into a natural curve.

3. Ability to nurse and babywear

Babywearing should enhance breastfeeding, not restrict it.  Moms should look for a carrier that allows them to carry and nurse simultaneously.  If a carrier is not able to facilitate breastfeeding, you will be forced to remove baby from the carrier frequently.  When babies are carried near the breast, they are going to get the idea to be hungry... very simple.

4. Buy baby carriers that work for wide weight ranges

Babywearing doesn't have to be expensive and you don't have to buy multiple carriers depending on your baby's age.  While some baby carriers are designed to fit older babies, there are a variety of wrap, sling, and soft carriers that will accommodate babies from birth through toddlerhood.  Think about what your babywearing priorities are.  If you're just interested in an easy hands-free carrier for toting your baby around the house, something simple and inexpensive might do the trick.  If you are planning to use your carrier for outings or long hikes, you may do better with a soft structured carrier that provides more support.

5. If possible, try it before you buy it

Purchasing a baby carrier is definitely reason to visit your local natural baby store (if possible).  Most importantly, the staff can educate you on the proper way to use the carrier.  Second, you'll immediately discover if that carrier is going to be comfortable for you.  Some people find that soft carriers are really uncomfortable for them vs. a wrap carrier that has more fabric stretching across their backs.  Others feel that a wrap carrier makes them too hot.  Every person is unique, and trying before you buy will be very valuable in your decision making process.

Once you've found a baby carrier that suits you, you'll find you use it a lot.  The convenience of leaving the stroller at home (or foregoing a stroller altogether) is priceless.  With our new soft carrier we have been able to take our two-year-old on long nature hikes, visit busy and crowded events, and make airplane trips easy.  Babywearing has literally changed how we view outings and travel with our daughter.

What misconceptions or misinformation did you have about babywearing?


On a 5-mile nature hike during a visit to northern Minnesota, and using our Boba Soft Carrier.  Our little one loves the foot straps that keep her feet secure during rides.  This carrier accommodates babies from 7-45lbs, thus eliminating the need for multiple carriers.

Boba links are affiliate links.

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