Do’s And Don’ts of Babywearing

So you have finally discovered the joy of babywearing, isn’t it a wonderful feeling to be able to bond with your baby in such close proximity? They feel like an extension of you and are literally heart to heart (in a front carry) which helps you understand the baby’s cues better. There are certain cardinal rules to keep in mind while wearing your baby for their safety.

The T.I.C.K.S. Rule for safe babywearing. Keep your baby close and keep your baby safe. When you’re wearing any baby carrier, don’t forget the T.I.C.K.S.

1. Tight
2. In view at all times
3. Close enough to kiss
4. Keep chin of the chest
5. Supported back

1. Tight

Slings and carriers should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you as this will be most comfortable for you both. Any slack/loose fabric will allow your baby to slump down in the carrier which can hinder their breathing and pull on your back.

2. In view at all times

You should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down. The fabric of a sling or carrier should not close around them so you have to open it to check on them. In a cradle position your baby should face upwards not be turned in towards your body.

3. Close enough to kiss

Your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as is comfortable. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head or forehead.

4. Keep chin of the chest

A baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width under your baby’s chin.

5. Supported back

In an upright carry a baby should be held comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in its natural position and their tummy and chest are against you. If a sling is too loose they can slump which can partially close their airway. (This can be tested by placing a hand on your baby’s back and pressing gently – they should not uncurl or move closer to you.) A baby in a cradle carry in a pouch or ring sling should be positioned carefully with their bottom in the deepest part so the sling does not fold them in half pressing their chin to their chest.

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Few more things to keep in mind

Do’s:

1. Practice wearing your carrier.  Some knots and styles take a few attempts to perfect, but practice makes perfect right!  Also try different types of carriers to figure out which carrier you and your baby both are most comfortable in.

2. Use a well constructed ergonomical carrier. Not all fabrics are made to support the weight of a child.  Do your research before getting a carrier.

3. Wear your baby in positions that are natural.  Don’t contort your child into odd positions.  Carriers should be used to essentially mimic holds that you could do with your own arms.

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Don’t:

1. Let your baby’s legs dangle especially in a front carry in a non-ergonomical carrier. This can lead to hip dysplasia.

2. Use a carrier without knowing how to properly put it on and position your child. Get help if you need it!

3. Wear your baby while doing strenuous exercise or activity or while driving or riding a bike. Athough walking with them is perfectly fine.

4. Wear your baby in a back carry using stretchy wraps.

5. Put too many layers of clothes on your baby.  Abundance of clothing plus the layers of your carrier or wrap can overheat the baby.

Wear your baby as much as possible to build that connection, not necessarily only when you are out and about. That’s the beauty of babywearing, you can wear the baby in the house while getting your chores done, or if the baby is plain cranky due to illness or teething and wants to be held. Babywearing gives a break to those tired arms and sleep deprived bodies. Go ahead and cuddle those munchkins to your hearts content.

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