International Babywearing Week (IBW) is a week-long opportunity to celebrate, promote and advocate for the many benefits of babywearing.
To join in the celebrations, we have put together a handy guide to carrying your child in a baby carrier.
When can you start using a baby carrier?
You can use a baby carrier as soon as your baby is born! Just double check the Owner’s Manual for your baby carrier to make sure your baby meets the minimum weight requirement, as this can vary between models. Also, there are different types of baby carriers, so choose a model suitable for a newborn baby i.e. a small baby carrier that encircles a very young baby’s body and gives wide enough support to the baby’s bottom.
Closeness to mom and dad is particularly important for a newborn baby, so carry your baby as much as possible in the early days.
Is babywearing safe?
Nothing is more precious to you than your child, that is why we make sure every baby carrier sold on Tinitrader meets Australian Safety Standards (which are the strictest in the world!)
Standards met include using non-toxic materials (so you don't need to worry if your baby sucks on the fabric), undergoing comprehensive safety tests and designs being secure whilst allowing for healthy hip development.
Some people may tell you that too much babywearing can spoil your child. This is absolutely untrue! Every time you carry your child close to you, you reinforce your child’s sense of security that will stand them in such good stead when it’s time to explore the world on their own. It’s impossible to spoil a child with too much closeness and love.
Also, there is no need to worry if using baby carriers can damage the baby's hips. All baby carriers on Tinitrader have been tested by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute making it impossible for them to cause problems such as hip dysplasia.
Important considerations when you start using a baby carrier:
Carry your child close to your body and in an upright position that ensures free air passages.
Always supervise your baby in the baby carrier - make sure no fabric or clothing is covering their face!
Don't dress your baby too warmly. Your child will also feel the heat from your body
Double check that all of the buckles are securely fastened and locked
Bend with your knees rather than the waist so that you keep your baby in an upright position
Never carry your child in a baby carrier during sporting activities, such as running, cycling or skiing
Never lie down while carrying your baby in the baby carrier
Benefits of Babywearing
Babywearing is an increasingly popular trend. The closeness you enjoy is something both you and your baby will love ,and babywearing intensifies the bond between you.
It makes life easier for new parents...
Keeps your hands free to do other things such as shopping, take the dog for a walk or perform household tasks. It also makes it much easier for you to tend to older siblings who also require your attention.
You can leave the stroller at home. Baby carriers are brilliant alternatives, especially when you can't access places with your stroller.
You automatically have more nurturing physical contact as you gently pat and stroke your baby or kiss their forehead - strengthening the important attachment between you.
Babywearing is so much more than simply a practical solution for you – it also has many benefits for your baby!
It helps to calms colic reflex. Babywearing a colicky baby in an upright position may help to ease their symptoms. Also, being carried and feeling the safety and closeness of mom or dad may also have a soothing effect on your baby.
It helps your baby's development is your baby is always with you, whatever you’re doing. The two of you naturally communicate with each other, you look at each other and you chat to your baby - encouraging language development.
You can use it when your toddler’s legs get tired.
Remember! It’s fine for other adults your baby knows well to carry your baby in a baby carrier, e.g. grandparents or close friends. It strengths the bond between them and the baby. And it’s usually very enjoyable for the babywearer to experience this closeness with the baby.
Different positions you can carry your baby
Some baby carriers give you different options for you to carry your child. If possible, it’s a good idea to switch between carrying in front-facing and inwards-facing positions to relieve pressure on your shoulders and back.
You should always carry a newborn baby facing inwards.
Many babies think a front-facing baby carrier is fun. They can see what’s happening around them and their arms and legs have more freedom to move in this position. Your baby needs strong neck muscles to sit in a front-facing baby carrier therefore we recommend that you wait until your baby is five months old before using a front-facing baby carrier.
Back carrying makes it easier for you to manage the weight of your growing child. It’s also more practical to perform everyday tasks with your child on your back rather than your front. We recommend waiting until your child is 12 months old before you carry them on your back. This is because back carrying doesn’t give you the same constant supervision over your child.
Which baby carrier is best for you?
Choosing the best baby carrier for you can be a challenge – give some thought to what you need and then compare the different types of baby carriers to discover which one is best for your family's needs.
Questions to consider include
How long of a period do I want to carry my baby? Do you want a smaller baby carrier that’s perfect for the first few months of your baby’s life or do you want an adaptable baby carrier that you can use for several years?
How do you want to be able to use the baby carrier? Do you mainly want to use the baby carrier at home to keep your hands free or do you want to be able to use the baby carrier instead of a stroller when you go out? The longer you want to be able to carry your baby each time, the more pressure relief you require from the baby carrier.
In what position do you want to be able to carry your baby? If you want different options, you may prefer more advanced baby carrier that you can use for several years.
What are 'ergonomic' baby carriers?
An ergonomic baby carrier has many functions and settings, allowing you to distribute the child’s weight evenly and comfortably for the wearer while giving good support to the child. As these carriers are more advanced, they tend to be more expensive than simpler models however they also allow you to carry for longer sessions and well into the toddler years.
Extra features of ergonomic baby carriers include:
Padded shoulder straps
Wide-leg position (distributes the child’s weight across a larger part of the waist belt)
Different carrying positions
Adjustable shoulder straps
Ergonomic baby carriers therefore allow the baby to sit more upright as their spine matures and further allows them to sit in a frog position, allowing for healthy hip development.