Here at KeaBabies, we love babywearing! It has so many benefits for both caregivers and little ones. Babywearing promotes parent-child bonding and is a wonderful way to keep your baby close and secure, while still allowing her to experience the outside world. Babywearing can be easy and fun - but sometimes it takes a little practice before it feels natural. We’ve compiled a list of our best tips and tricks to make babywearing a breeze!
1. Picking a carrier
Picking the right style of the carrier can be a daunting task. There are so many brands and styles out there now! You may find that one style of carrier works well for your newborn, but a different type of carrier works better for your infant or toddler. You may also prefer one style during the warm summer days and another style during cold winter months. The type of carrier you prefer may also depend on the activity you’re engaging in while babywearing. Do plenty of research and try on different carriers before making a purchase. You may even consider borrowing a few carriers from friends and doing a trial run with your baby before buying one of your own.
The most popular types of baby carriers are the ring sling, wrap carrier, and structured carrier. Ring slings are the most popular mode of babywearing worldwide. Simple and lightweight, ring slings are a long piece of fabric tied around your body, over the shoulder, and around your torso. Ring slings vary widely in price and quality, so be careful when making your selection. You can also buy fabric and make your own sling!
Structured carriers and wrap carriers are popular as well. Structured carriers tend to be more expensive because they are sturdier, heavier, and more secure than other styles of carriers. Structured carriers can also easily be used for multiple babywearing positions. Wrap carriers, such as the KeaBabies Wrap Carrier, are wonderful for families on the go! It is lightweight, soft, and stretchy, and can be used from newborn all the way through toddlerhood!
2. Know the benefits
There are countless benefits to babywearing, but here are a few important ones. Babywearing promotes healthy breastfeeding relationships. Mothers who breastfeed and babywear tend to have an easier time responding to their baby’s hunger cues. Babywearing helps reduce crying by allowing the baby to feel safe and secure, remaining close to a caregiver’s body. Holding your baby close to your body helps your little one regulate their physiological functions such as temperature, breathing, and heart rate.
3. Learn babywearing safety
Be aware of babywearing safety measures! Baby’s airway should always be open - their chin should not be squished against their chest, and they should have easy access to fresh air. Your carrier and position should support your baby’s head, back, and neck. The carrier should be comfortable for both you and your baby. Your baby should be positioned high on your chest - a good rule of thumb is “close enough to kiss.”
You will also want to protect your baby against dysplasia by making sure her legs are never dangling. A baby in a carrier should have her legs positioned in a way that resembles the letter “M.”
4. Practice makes perfect
Practice at home before babywearing in public. Pick a time when your baby is content, not fussy or hungry. Find a friend or spouse to be your “spotter” and help hold onto your baby if you’re feeling wobbly or insecure. It takes time to feel comfortable babywearing! Look up tutorials on YouTube for even more help. KeaBabies has a YouTube page filled with multiple tutorials on how to use our carrier!
5. Babywearing in all seasons
You can safely wear a baby in every season, as long as you take special safety precautions. On hot days, consider your carrier’s breathability. Some carriers are made of mesh, while others are made of thick fabric. Be very careful not to choose a carrier your baby will easily overheat in. In warm weather, choose a carrier made of strong but lightweight material. Keep a layer of fabric between you and your baby to keep yourself cool! In colder months, wear layers. You and your baby will be warmer together because of shared body heat. Make sure your baby is wearing pants, leggings, and socks, as these parts of the body will not be covered by the carrier itself.
6. Different carry positions
Depending on your baby’s age and level of physical development, different carry positions may be comfortable and appropriate. Newborns need to be held in a newborn hug hold, while older babies can be held on your hip, outward-facing against your chest, or even on your back! Check your carrier’s instruction manual for safety precautions and information on what position to use depending on your baby’s age and stage.
7. Join a babywearing community
Join a local babywearing group and learn from experienced parents. You can also join online communities! Many baby carrier manufacturers have pages on social media dedicated to helping people use the product correctly and safely. These groups can be great for troubleshooting and trading tips and tricks. KeaBabies has support pages on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!
8. When to babywear
You can babywear in most situations! Just be sure to take safety precautions when your baby is close to dangers. You can babywear while going on walks, shopping, running errands, hiking, going to church, cooking a meal, vacuuming the house, and much more! Always be aware of your surroundings and what baby can reach from the carrier. Stay away from sharp items, hot items, and household cleaners and chemicals!
For more tips and tricks, be sure to do your own research on different products and companies. Joining a community of babywearing caregivers can be a great place to start - you’ll find a judgment-free environment where you can practice and get any questions answered. Babywearing is a wonderful, easy way to promote healthy relationships between caregivers and children!