Baby Wearing 101
If you’re heading over to another home with your baby, then bringing along a good baby sling is always a great idea. Baby wearing is the perfect way to hang out at another home without having to worry about your baby’s safety while also keeping your hands free. Any parent who is new to baby wearing may find it a little complicated or intimidating. Today, we will discuss the ins and outs of baby wearing, including how to safely wear your baby and the different types of baby carriers.
Benefits of Baby Wearing
Baby wearing is incredibly beneficial for both babies and parents. By having your baby closely strapped to your body, you can have your hands free making it easier to get things done around the house and tend to older children. Babies also love to be worn by their parents because it provides them with comfort and warmth. Baby wearing can help soothe a fussy baby, can prevent babies from developing a flat head, and can even encourage healthy growth and development.
How to Safely Wear Your Baby
There are a couple of important considerations to keep in mind when wearing your baby in a carrier. Below, we’ve broken down some of our top safety recommendations.
Position your baby properly
Always wear your baby in an upright position, not a cradled position. You’ll want to be sure that your baby is kept upright in order to have their body properly aligned and to ensure that their head and neck are supported well. Ensure that your baby remains visible at all times. You want to be able to see that they are in a safe and comfortable position. If you choose to wear your baby on your back, you’ll need to wait until they are able to sit up unassisted to do this, which typically is around the age of 6 months. You need to wear your baby up high enough so that they don’t slump down in the carrier and fall into a chin-to-chest position.
Adjust carrier for a snug fit
Most baby carriers will come with adjustable straps to help ensure a comfortable fit for a variety of body types. Always wear your baby close to your body — they should be snugly strapped against you, not hanging loosely. Loose fabric can present a suffocation hazard and can lead to unsafe positioning. A general rule of thumb to keep in mind is that your baby should always be close enough for you to kiss the top of their head.
Pay attention to leg positioning
Your baby’s hips should always be flexed when in their baby carrier. Their legs should be in an “M” shape with the knees above the hips. Leg positioning is incredibly important because your baby’s pelvis is still developing and improper hip positioning could lead to a condition called hip dysplasia.
Familiarize yourself with the carrier
When it comes to baby wearing, you may find it challenging at first. Give yourself time to get used to the baby sling or carrier that you’ve chosen and remember that practice makes perfect. You may want to practice taking the carrier on and off a few times before you even put your baby in it. Also pay attention to the weight and age recommendations of your carrier and only use one that is appropriate for your child.
Types of Baby Slings
There are a variety of different baby slings that work well for baby wearing. Here are a few of the most popular types:
- Baby wrap: Baby wraps are made from a long, scarf-like material that wraps around you and your baby’s bodies. Wraps are versatile and stylish but can be a bit complicated to use at first.
- Ring sling: A ring sling is a baby carrier that wraps around one shoulder and is fastened by threading the free end through two rings. These carriers are easy to wear and incredibly adjustable, making for a personalized fit.
- Soft structured carrier: This type of baby carrier comes with shoulder straps that buckle in the back and a waistband. These carriers are often convertible, allowing you to carry your baby in a variety of ways including facing inward, facing outward, legs in or out, and even on your back.
When it comes to deciding on a baby carrier, you may want to try a variety of different types before landing on a definite decision. Some parents find that a wrap style carrier works better for the newborn days, while a soft structured carrier works better for older kids.
Additional Baby Safety Tips
Baby wearing can make life easier when taking a baby over to another person’s home. Since you never know if the home you're going to will be baby proofed, having your baby strapped closely to your body can help you have peace of mind and ensure your baby’s safety.
If you don’t have a baby carrier or don’t feel comfortable wearing one the entire time, you can bring along a baby playpen or portable baby swing. There are a variety of playpens, bouncers and swings that are small, compact, and easy to set up. By having a safe, contained area like this on hand, you can easily set your baby down even if the home you’re at isn’t baby proof.
For babies who aren’t yet crawling, you can simply bring along a nice soft blanket to set them down on, that way you know you’ll have a clean surface for them to lay on. Consider talking to your host ahead of time to find out if their home is baby proof and if there are any other risk factors you need to be aware of such as pets or older kids.
Baby wearing is a convenient and beneficial practice for parents and babies and can make it much easier to be out and about with your baby. Although it can be a bit complicated at first, baby wearing is entirely worth it. You’ll want to take some time to select the best baby carrier for your child’s weight and age range and get plenty of practice wearing it in order to adjust it to fit properly.
The Pop N’ Go Playpen is a lightweight, versatile baby playpen that is easy to take on-the-go.