Babywearing really is one of the loveliest things to do, and in doing it your bond with baby will grow and grow. But like anything involving your little one, at first you need to take your time and just get used to it. Like learning to tie up your shoelaces as a child, it will take some practise to learn how and care and attention to master because if you don’t do them up properly accidents can happen. So for all you newbie’s to the world of Babywearing here are a few simple do’s and don’t’s and some tips to make sure that wearing your baby will soon feel the most natural thing in the world …. and the safest.
Make sure that your little one always has an open airway. Newborns don’t have the muscle control that we have to open their airways themselves, so never allow your baby to get into a position where their chin is curled against their chest, this position can really restrict their breath. This is massively important when Babywearing so it is therefore really important that when newborn your carrier has great back support for baby, but this tip is also just as important when you are carrying your babe in arms or in any kind of seat/car seat. A baby carrier does mean that you are hands-free to get on with other jobs but never forget to be an active carer for that little one in your wrap, mei tai, sling or carrier.
Always make sure you can see your little ones face, don’t let it get covered up by fabric, this is really important if you are using a ‘bag sling’, as there have been many safety issues raised with this type of sling. You don’t want baby to be re-breathing the same air, which can happen when their face is covered. Make sure you check regularly on your passenger.
Babywearing is great for around the house, on the streets, on some public transport, and even for some outdoorsy activities, but please use common sense when carrying your baby. It is not safe to drive whilst wearing your baby, and also don’t carry your little one when riding as a passenger in a car, they must always be safely fastened in a car seat at all times when in a car. Babywearing should never mean that baby gets shook or bounced about as this can really damage necks, spines, and brains, it should go without saying but don’t jog, run, exercise with baby in their carrier, and please, please, please don’t bounce on a trampoline!
Always check the manufacturers guidelines on the appropriateness of the carrier for your child’s age and weight. These guidelines are not just put on carriers for fun! Putting the wrong sized child in the wrong carrier could cause all manner of problems, the carrier might not be designed for a baby who can’t sit unsupported, your baby could slip out of the carrier, or the carrier might not be designed for a little one as large as yours and then it could also be your back which ends up suffering too.
Whilst you are learning about your new sling, wrap, mei tai, or carrier, it is always best to practise, practise, practise. You might have read the guidelines and watched the videos on how to get your baby into a certain hold or carry but I would always recommend having a few rehearsals with a stunt baby (a doll or teddy!!). After a few dry runs your body will have practised the moves which your mind understands and then and only then both mind memory and muscle memory will be working together.
Make sure both you and baby are rested and happy before attempting your first carry, the last thing you need is a grouchy little one fidgeting about and making your first experience a lousy one, and just as importantly you will need to be in a patient mood as it could take a few attempts before it all feels the way it should. A good idea would be to have your other half, or a safe pair of hands present as a failsafe. Someone you trust and who can be there to catch anyone if they should slip and fall. I also would advise to do these first few runs over a bed. If you are practising and mastering some back carries it would probably be a good idea to use a mirror, as well as your backup catcher, to make sure everything and everyone is where they should be.
When Babywearing make sure that Baby is always close enough to kiss
Following these guidelines will help you to make sure that Babywearing is as wonderful and beautiful for you as it is all the millions of Mums and Dads who enjoy it around the world. And here is one final tip for you when Babywearing, and if you follow this then everything and everyone should be great.