In my 6 years of teaching babywearing a lot has changed. New carrier brands and styles have arrived adding much beauty and diversity to the choices in babywearing. What hasn’t changed much is the questions I am asked. People who are knew or just returning to babywearing have very similar questions. So, let’s answer some of them!
What age can I start wearing baby on my back?
Most educators will recommend you wait until baby is sitting supported, which is about 4-6 months.
This is a developmental skill, not an age based one. You want baby to have enough torso control to be able to support themselves in an upright position. While you will see experienced babywearers wearing small infants on their back it is not recommended to learn at this age. The parents you see doing this mastered back-wearing with a previous child and feel comfortable in their skill and ability to monitor their little one. A newborn’s airway is very sensitive and it is difficult to monitor them when you can’t see them. Remember, visible and kissable! And who doesn’t want to see and kiss those sweet tiny faces?
What carrier is best for my newborn?
The ideal carrier styles for a newborn are a ring sling or a woven wrap. These two choices both allow themselves to be adjusted to the size of the baby and provide a good solid support for optimal positioning. This isn’t to say you can’t use other carriers and make them work just fine! But if I’m speaking to ideal, those are my recommendations.
I was given or already bought a narrow based carrier and I don’t want to or can’t afford a new one. Can I still wear my baby safely?
Absolutely!!! Wearing your baby is always better than not, as long as done safely. The only slings I will absolutely tell you not to use are the so called “bag slings”. In these carriers baby is all the way inside the pouch, not able to sit vertically, and may have their face obscured. As far as narrow base carriers like Snugli or Bjorn, these are completely safe to use. To make them more ergonomic you can use a scarf or other piece of fabric to support baby’s legs and your lower back:
What size wrap do I need?
The size of the wrap is based on your size not your baby’s. In fact as your baby gets older, and you get more experienced, you will likely need less wrap than when you are starting out! Most women can do most carries in a size 6 or 4.6m. If you are petite you may need a size 5 or 4.2m, if you are plus size you may need a size 7 or 5.2m. Remember, especially when buying used, that wraps can stretch or shrink so ask for measurements if precise length is important to you! Some carries require shorter wraps and some longer, but if you are a beginner this sizing is the simplest way to get something that will work for you.
What is the difference between X brand and Y? What do you think is the best wrap?
The differences for the most part are slight. In reality pick something you think is beautiful and don’t overthink it too much. Linen is wonderful for support, bounce, and being breathable. Wool is amazing for softness, bounce, and support. Silk is soft, supportive, and thinner (usually), hemp is known for it’s rock hard support. There are varying percentages of each blend and even wraps made from bamboo, cashmere, and natural (Tussah) silk. In truth, when you start reading reviews online you’ll see people picking apart various qualities of wraps. Unless you have tried dozens of wraps you will probably love whatever one you choose. So choose one that looks good to you and start learning how to use it!
As always if you have any questions please find your local babywearing group or educator. There are lots of experienced and knowledgeable people out there ready to help you free of charge! Good luck and happy wearing!