How to wear your baby safely
She’s your most beautiful – and important – accessory. Here’s how to wear her safely
Not so long ago, baby wearing – that is, carrying your baby close to you in a product like the ErgoBaby or BabyBjorn – was considered the exclusive domain of hippies. But luckily, we’ve come a long way in a short time, and now baby wearing is almost as common as pushing your tot in a stroller.
The benefits of baby wearing are vast. Not only does baby wearing allow you to move about more freely, with your hands free to engage in other activities (like helping older children), but it also helps soothe your little one. Carrying your baby is said to reduce crying and restlessness by over 40 per cent during the night, and more than 50 per cent at night. For colicky babies, there’s evidence to suggest that colic and reflux symptoms can be minimised through baby wearing, as the upright position is better for babies with these conditions. And babies who are carried more tend to be less stressed, as they feel comforted by the familiar sounds and rhythms of their parents’ bodies. What’s more, baby wearing is a wonderful way for dads to experience close contact with their tots during the early days of fatherhood.
As with most things to do with your baby, safety is key when it comes to baby wearing. First, check that your chosen carrier adheres to all current US safety standards. If you have a carrier that’s been handed down to you, or if you’re using your first child’s carrier with your new baby, check the carrier for any signs of wear and tear.
When positioning your baby in the carrier, ensure your baby’s neck and torso are well-supported at all times. Check your baby’s chin – is it pressed down into his chest, or is it held above his chest, with room for you to put two fingers between his chest and chin. He needs room here, otherwise his airway may be compromised. Ideally, your baby’s knees will be positioned above his bottom, in a wide squat pose. This is a safe, well-supported position for him. Though it can be tempting to go about your business with your baby safely strapped in, make sure you’re checking on your little one often, even if it seems silly as they are right there on your chest.
In hot weather, dress your baby in lighter clothing if you’re planning on carrying them, and try to minimize the use of the hood if sun protection isn’t needed (as this will allow air to circulate around them better). To make yourself more comfortable, place a muslin cloth between you and your baby, to wick away moisture, again making sure that it’s not covering your baby’s face.
If all else fails, remember ErgoBaby’s motto: “visible and kissable.” That is, your baby’s face should be clearly visible, and you should be able to easily reach down and kiss them.
You could also remember the TICKS checklist:
- In view at all time
- Close enough to kiss
- Keep chin off chest
- Supported back
Two baby carriers we love
- The ErgoBaby 360 Carrier allows you to safely carry baby from birth to toddler, using different positions that will keep them (and you!) comfortable. The carrier can be adjusted for height to allow for better neck and head support as baby grows.
- If you live in a warm climate, the Cool Air 360 Carrier might be right for you. Exactly the same as the 360 Carrier, it features cool air mesh panels and moisture-wicking lining to keep you and baby cool when the mercury rises.
Watch a demo of the ErgoBaby Cool Air 360 Carrier