If you are planning on babywearing during pregnancy, in the beginning you probably won’t notice much difference. As your belly grows, you may need to make a few adjustments for balance, type of carry, and choice of baby carrier.
Keep Your Balance
Keep in mind the importance of balance. Depending on your shape and size and on the size of your baby or toddler in the carrier, you may need to make more or less adjustment to your usual babywearing routine.
A friend of mine who is quite thin and carries her pregnancies like a basketball out front, was pregnant with her second child when the first was only three months old. Her first baby was tiny to start with, so wearing her 3-12 month old was easy for her. Weight was not so much an issue, but her shape was. She hiked the baby up higher and wore her nuzzled in her neck in a front carry.
If your baby is bigger and you are carrying more baby and pregnancy weight shifting your center of gravity forward, it may be better to avoid side or hip carry, since you won’t be able to balance your growing front weight as well with a child on the side. If you do use a sling or other baby carrier for hip carry, be sure to switch sides often. This is what I did while carrying my 2-2.5 year old while pregnant, but I eventually switched to back carry even though that wasn’t my daughter’s favorite position. She liked to be face to face with me and hugging my belly, which was great when we were sitting but a lot of weight to carry if we were walking.
Look at yourself in the mirror from the front and from the side. Can you keep a straight line top to toe? If you can’t keep relatively straight and wear your toddler, don’t wear your toddler.
Which Carry Works Best during Pregnacy?
You may need to do more than just adjust your usual carry with your usual baby carrier. Start over by considering your needs and your child’s needs.
Ask yourself where is your comfort and where is your strength. When you just hold your older child without a baby carrier, where do you tend to want to hold her? Is there a position that is most comfortable for you? Where do you have enough strength to carry safely? Where does your older child want to be?
Once you know where you want your older child to be, then ask what carrier will allow you to hold her there.
Which Baby Carrier to Choose during Pregnancy
Chances are you will want your older child on your back rather than on your front. Choose a carrier that allows a comfortable carry high on your back.
I found it easy to get a comfortable high back carry with a ring sling, and I really wanted that easy adjustability. This requires enough strength to put your toddler in the front then shift to back. By the end of pregnancy, I just didn’t have that strength. It was easier to choose a carrier that starts on the back.
Wrap Baby Carrier
The flexibility of a wrap baby carrier like Moby Wrap means you can make a lot of adjustment. Back carry with the ties below your belly can be very comfortable, giving that extra support most of us want below a heavy belly.
Some find that a torso carry—across the chest or even higher, as with the Tibetan carry knotted up near the collarbone—both balances a heavy front and keeps from putting extra pressure and weight where it is difficult to manage. If you have a baby pressing up and a toddler pressing down making it difficult to breathe, stop! Find another carry or don’t carry at all.
Mei Tai or Ergo
If a high torso carry puts too much pressure on your breathing, try a mei tai baby carrier with the toddler high on your back. You may be able to buckle an Ergo baby carrier above your belly as well, though the wider waist belt may make that difficult as you grow. Some pregnant mothers are able to use the Ergo with waist straps under the belly. That extra belly support might create the balance you need.
Keep it Safe and Comfortable
If wearing your toddler while pregnant is uncomfortable, don’t do it.
If you have trouble, talk to your midwife or doctor about either improving your carry or whether you should avoid carrying your child altogether.
Just remember, if you can carry your toddler, you can wear your toddler. If your toddler is already too heavy to carry, don’t wear him, especially while pregnant.