Babywearing

Babywearing has increased in popularity in recent years. Especially if you have other children babywearing can be a great way to juggle everything, giving you two hands while keeping baby close. There is lots of different types of wraps/carriers with pros and cons to all. No matter which carrier type you choose it’s important to familiarize yourself with what the baby-wearing community calls T.I.C.K.S. 

T: Tight. Baby should be upright and tight enough in a carrier that they’re held safely against whoever is wearing them. This helps prevent accidental falls. 

I: In view at all times. Baby’s face should be visible to you so you can monitor their breathing. You can also keep a better eye on your baby’s mood if you can see them. 

C: Close enough to kiss. Can you lower your head and kiss the top of your baby’s head? If not, you should reposition them in the carrier until they’re high enough to kiss with little effort. 

K: Keep chin off chest. Look at your baby to ensure there’s a gap of about two fingers wide under their chin. If they’re in a good upright position with their spine curved and legs squatting, it’s less likely that their chin will drop. 

S: Supported back. While you want your baby to be secure, resist over-tightening the carrier over their back. You should have your carrier tight enough that there’s no gap between your baby and your body, but loose enough that you can slide your hand into the carrier. 

A few different types of carriers: 

  • Ergonomic Soft Structured Carriers
  • Stretchy Wraps
  • Ring Sling
  • Meh Dai
  • Bag Carriers 

Ergonomic Soft structured carriers: A soft structured carrier (also known as a buckle carrier) has a soft fabric body panel and four straps that attach with buckles. All soft structured carriers can be worn on the front and back, some can also be worn on the hip or with baby facing outwards. Many carriers are adjustable for a range of ages, others are size specific or need an infant insert to use with a newborn. These carriers offer an ergonomic hip position, are simple to use and are comfortable for you and your child.

Some great Ergonomic Soft Carriers are

Stretchy Wraps: These are a very popular option for carrying newborns, as they are super comfortable and can be left on all day. It’s easy to pop baby in and out, and just leave the wrap tied on. Stretchy fabric wraps are suitable for front carrying for around 6-9 months and can be worn by any sized adult. They come in various fabrics, the ones with a little elastane (2-way stretch) are easier to tie securely and much easier to get baby in and out of without loosening the wrap. It is key to ensure you are tying it very snuggly, making sure all 3 layers of fabric are over baby and that baby’s airways are not covered. Wearing the wrap high on the firm part of your chest (close enough to kiss) is a good rule of thumb. Some wraps come with buckle options which can stop the juggle of tying it.

Some great stretchy wraps are

Ring Sling: Are a simple fabric carrier that is adjusted and secured by 2 metal rings. The fabric sits over one shoulder, a hammock style seat is made for baby and the fabric pulled up to the top of baby’s neck. The sling is tightened by pulling the fabric through the rings. A sling can be used on the front or hip, from newborn to toddler and beyond. Slings should only be worn in the upright position. Older style slings may have suggested using the lying down (creadel) position however this is generally now considered unsafe as it is harder to monitor baby’s airways and baby’s chin can end up on the chest, cutting off their airway. Ring Slings can take a little practice to get the threading and tightening feeling right, you may find some help from a babywearing group or consultant helpful.

Some great Ring Slings can be found here

Meh Dai: There are 2 main types of Meh Dai – Simple and Wrap Strap. The Simple style of Meh Dai are just that – very easy to use, lightly padded shoulder straps and not a lot of bulk or ways to adjust them apart from the ways mentioned above.  Woven Wrap strap Meh Dai are beautiful and super soft, but the width and length of the straps can be a bit overwhelming for new users. They often now have height and width adjustment to try and market them as one size fits all…but this can means a lot more fabric and carrier than you need for a newborn! Meh Dai are often just one layer of fabric, so these can be a very cool option for summer.

Some great Meh Dai Carriers can be found here at The Sleep Store.

Bag Carriers: Don’t use a bag sling. These bag-shaped slings with a narrow strap are banned in some countries and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has advised against using them. The baby can’t be placed in a safe position and can suffocate. The ministry also warns against using a sling that places the baby in a foetal position or lets the baby lie with a curved spine with their chin tucked against their chest: these positions block the baby’s airways.