A well-fitting baby carrier can be a caregiver’s best friend. It can get you through marathon trips to the grocery store, a much-needed hike, or even just a load of dishes. This often doesn’t happen right out of the box. The key to comfort in your carrier is K-I-S-S, who doesn’t love kissing the top of those sweet little heads? So, while you are going about everyday life with an infant or small child, here are some tips for making sure you and your baby carrier are on best friend terms.
Know your carrier
Before putting baby in, get to know your carrier. Practice with it with a stuffed animal or doll in front of a mirror so you can see where all the parts of your carrier are supposed to go. Get to know how to comfortably put it on, adjust it, and where to buckle, or knot. Read or watch the manufacturer instructions on the company’s website. Always check your carrier over before putting baby in. As we use our carriers things happen, snags on playground equipment, buckles get slammed in doors, kiddos drag them around the house (I’m not speaking from experience here or anything - ha!). Knowing your carrier before putting baby in helps avoid frustrations and gives you the confidence to know if something is not right with your carrier down the road.
In sight & Upright
When in a carrier, baby should be in sight and in an upright position. You should be able to see baby’s sweet face and easily kiss the top of their heads. Take care to not let anything cover their faces while in the carrier. Baby’s head should rest high on your chest, just below your collar bones, the perfect spot to kiss their little heads. The carrier will hold the baby close in this upright position, supporting the natural curve of their spine.
Upright is for you too! You should be able to stand comfortably while using your carrier. If you find yourself leaning forward, or backwards, or like you have to keep your hands on baby, it is likely your carrier needs tightened up a bit. On the other side, if you stand up straight and feel constricted, your carrier likely needs to be loosened. Using a baby carrier is like any other new activity for your body. Start with short periods of using it at first and build up the time. Listen to your body, if you are not comfortable, try adjusting it or taking it off for a bit. If you are experiencing continued discomfort or pain then…
There are fantastic resources for getting help adjusting your baby carrier. Many areas have baby carrier consultants or groups for in person help. Baby carrier consultants and educators usually have lots of experience fitting people in carriers and love helping you get comfortable. If you are in the Austin area, Uplift Babywearing hosts classes and in person or skype consults. There is also a fantastic non-profit, Babywearing International of Greater Austin that hosts two free meetings a month with educators. If you don’t have an educator or group in your area, there are resources available online through manufacturer websites, facebook groups, and youtube videos.
That’s it! Baby carriers can be your best friend for skin to skin, bonding, getting out and getting things done with your baby. Just remember K-I-S-S to keep comfy and on the go!
Lori Post, Certified Babywearing Consultant
Lori is an avid wearer and has worn her “babies” (Now 7 and 5!) since they were born. She holds an MS Ed in Higher Education, a BA in Sociology, with a minor in Womens and Gender Studies and is certified as a Postpartum Doula, Babywearing Educator, Car Seat Tech and is a breastfeeding educator. Lori owns Uplift Babywearing, a baby carrier consulting and postpartum doula business. She is also part owner of a small home bakery, BareMama. Lori found her passion helping caregivers embrace their journey of welcoming a new addition home. She believes in a family-centered approach to the postpartum period, supporting families as they find their strength and confidence. When she is not working, baking, or surviving real life with small children, she volunteers with BWI of Greater Austin as a Master Babywearing Educator.