When Immy was born I knew virtually nothing about baby wearing. We bought a Baby Bjorn (because that was the carrier that I had seen advertised the most) and I really enjoyed using it. When she was only a few weeks old she went through a fussy period and a friend lent us her sling but I didn’t feel very confident using it. And that was about it. Before AJ was born I was given lots of great advice about baby wearing from my two crunchiest friends, Kate and Shae. I bought a Close Caboo baby sling on Shae’s recommendation and it has been a godsend, especially on the school run and during the end of the day witching hour. With three daughters and extensive experience with all sort of baby carriers, I invited Shae to share her top tips for baby wearing with Childhood 101 readers.
There are so many reasons to love wearing your baby. You may want to leave the pram at home or go somewhere a pram won’t go, you may like rocking your baby to sleep and want to make it easier, you may like to get things done while keeping your baby happy and seeing what’s going on, or you may just love keeping your baby close. Or, like me, you may have a baby that simply refused to be put down.
Enter babywearing! Whether you do it all day, every day or only a few times before your child outgrows it, here are a few tips on making it work.
- Know thy carrier! There are so many carriers on the market that it can be confusing. Think about for how long and how often you want to wear your baby, as well as whether you are likely to feel confident tying on a carrier or have a preference for buckles or rings. There is a good breakdown of the types of carriers here.
- The first time you use a carrier make sure your baby is happy! Trying to figure out a sling for the first time with an upset child spells disaster and won’t leave either of you with a good feeling about it.
- Look on You Tube. There are hundreds of videos showing different types of carriers being used and the easiest way to get them on and off. Type in the brand you have or want to look at and away you go!
- Follow the T.I.C.K.S guidelines;
Tight. Baby should be close to your body not dangling with loose fabric.
In view at all times. This is for younger babies in front carriers. Make sure they are not under layers of fabric where you can’t see them.
Close enough to kiss. Keep you baby’s head close to your chin.
Keep the chin off the chest. Make sure baby’s head is not being forced to curl down onto it’s chest which can restrict breathing
Supported back. For both the carrier and the baby.
- Speak to someone who has done it before. Chances are you know someone who has more than one carrier and would be happy to show you some tips. People who love babywearing usually want to share the joy (hence why I’m blogging here).
- Enjoy it! Don’t let anyone tell you that you are making a rod for your back. There is nothing wrong with doing something that keeps your baby happy and content-this usually keeps Mama happy and content! You can get all of your housework or shopping done, or play with older siblings while a babe naps in the carrier. You can leave the pram at home when you travel and you can enjoy more time smooching the top of your baby’s head. You won’t be wearing them in a sling to school. Promise.
Shae is a crunchy, unschooling Mama to three amazing girls with a passion for real food and road trips. She once owned 5 different types of baby carrier! You can read about their adventures at Free Range In Suburbia.