I always cringe when I see someone wearing their baby in a less than safe manner. I’m usually hesitant to say anything because I don’t want to sound like a know-it-all. If you’ve been in this position, you know how difficult it is to decide whether or not your should confront the parent. Since I don’t always know what to say when the moment arises, I thought that I would create an article and write the link on some of my business cards. That way, when I see a parent who may be using their carrier the wrong way, I can hand them my card and they can discover the article on their own. I know most people don’t like to have ANYONE tell them they are doing something wrong, especially when it comes to parenting, so I figured this would be a more gentle way of saying something. Of course, if I see a baby in immediate danger, I would say something to protect them! Here are some tips on how to properly wear your baby…
- Always check over your carrier before use. Look for holes, rips, tears or anything that may make your carrier unstable. If you find damage, immediately discontinue use of that carrier. Also, make sure your carrier has not been recalled. Many “bag”style carriers have been recalled.
- Use the T.I.C.K.S. rule of safe babywearing… Tight – Your carrier should be tight and snug up against you with no loose fabric. In view at all times – You should always be able to see your baby’s face while babywearing. Don’t let the fabric cover their face. Close enough to kiss – You should be able to lean down and kiss your baby’s head. Keep chin off the chest – If your baby’s chin digs downward into their chest, it can restrict their breathing. Supported back – Make sure your baby isn’t slumped over in the carrier.
- Never let your baby stand up in a baby carrier. They should always remain seated. If your baby will not stay seated properly, do not wear them!
- Make sure YOU are comfortable. If you aren’t comfortable, you are probably using your carrier incorrectly. Play with the wrap, adjust the straps and don’t give up! Babywearing has a bit of a learning curve.
- Always practice carries, especially back carries over a bed, couch or on the floor. If you have a spotter, use them! My older kids (8 and 9) are great at helping me get Charlie on my back.
- Never use a baby carrier in a moving vehicle. It is NOT a seatbelt and your baby is not safe attached to your while riding in the car. You should also not babywear on a boat!
- Avoid wearing your baby facing outward. This is not ergonomically correct and difficult to get proper positioning. It also makes the wearer more uncomfortable. Wearing your baby facing outward can overstimulate them. Unfortunately, little ones don’t know how to express when they have had enough of the world and just want to snuggle with their mama!
- Read the manual or instructions that come with your carrier and make sure to use it properly. Not all carriers are made for all carries or all sizes of children. There are specially made toddler sized carriers that are taller and should not be used with smaller babies. You shouldn’t back carry unless your baby has head control or you are a VERY skilled babywearer. When your child is riding with their legs out, their bottom should be slightly lower than their knees.
- Find a local babywearing group. Try different carriers and different carries. Watch videos of how to do certain carries. This is Danielle who is an awesome, helpful mama in my local babywearing group! I always use her videos when I am trying to a new carry.
- Please ask questions if you need help!! Babywearing mamas are ALWAYS happy to help you perfect a carry! Is there anything about babywearing you’d like to know??
photo credit: africa at freedigitalphotos.net and Liz Lawson