You have a lot of choices with modern baby carriers. We have a few tips to get you started wearing your baby.
Choose the right carrier
Babywearing 101 on Parenting By Nature has a couple of articles that will help you:
- “How to Choose a Baby Carrier” asks who will wear the baby carrier, how old the baby is, how and where the baby will be worn, what your budget is, and what style appeals to you.
- Once you start to narrow down your choices, you may want more details. “Baby Carriers Compared” goes through the advantages and disadvantages of baby carriers – baby wraps, baby slings, mei tai baby carriers, and soft pack baby carriers.
You are learning a new skill. Practice to improve. It isn’t particularly difficult, but you will need to practice if you want putting your baby into a carrier to become second nature. Better yet, have a someone help you to ensure correct positioning and to spot you and baby. Best of all, have an experienced baby wearer teach you how to use your new carrier. The, keep practicing.
Work over a soft surface like a bed or couch.
The closer the baby is to you, the more comfortable she will be. At the beginning, while you are both learning, keep her center of gravity close to yours. Start facing one another rather than with baby on your chest or back facing outward with arms and legs wagging. Learn how to balance with your baby close, then practice a variety of carrying positions.
Keep Baby Happy
Unless you are starting with the tiniest newborn, your baby will wonder about this new experience of being worn. Keep your baby happy while you practice. Start practice after a nap and feeding when your baby is happiest.
Stay calm. A baby will feel the stress of a parent, so remain calm while you figure things out. If it isn’t working this time, come back later.
When you get the baby in the carrier, focus on the baby and celebrate. Use big bouncy movements to get their attention. Tell them, “This is different! This is good.” The big movements and bouncing can calm some babies when they are upset.
Most important of all is keep your baby safe while you learn to babywearing.
Make sure a newborn’s airway is open, with 1-2 fingers’ width between chin and neck. Don’t let the baby roll up in a ball. Also, keep a newborn’s neck supported.
Put the weight on your low to mid-back rather than up high. Generally, keep the baby about where your bra strap is (or would be!). This lower position is easier on your back than a higher position.
Make sure the carrier supports the baby knee to knee with weight on the thighs, as opposed to hanging with their full weight on their crotch.
Read Babywearing 101 for more babywearing tips.