The Ultimate Guide to Babywearing

Babywearing is one of the best things you can do as a parent. Carrying your little one in a soft baby carrier provides closeness, bonding, comfort, and convenience for both baby and parent. Whether you’re a new parent looking into babywearing for the first time or an experienced babywearer seeking tips and tricks, this comprehensive guide has got you covered. Let’s dive into the ins and outs of babywearing 101!

What is Babywearing?

Babywearing simply means carrying your baby in a soft structured carrier or wrap. It allows you to keep your little one close while keeping your hands free. Babies who are worn cry less and spend more time in the quiet alert state, which is ideal for development. For parents, babywearing makes daily tasks easier and provides a convenient way to bond with baby through touch, sound, and motion. It’s a win-win!

Benefits of Babywearing

Babywearing provides a long list of benefits for both baby and parent. Here are some of the top reasons why babywearing is so great:

  • Bonding and attachment. Keeping baby close in a carrier facilitates bonding, attachment, and feelings of security for baby. Carried babies cry less overall.
  • Stimulation for development. Upright carrying provides baby with a view of the world, helping visual development. Hearing parent’s heartbeat and voice also promotes healthy development.
  • Supports physical development. Being tucked in a carrier with knees above hips promotes ideal hip and spine development. Head and neck are also supported.
  • Convenience. Hands-free carrying allows parents to multitask and get things done!
  • Facilitates breastfeeding. Carriers allow for discreet, on-the-go nursing sessions.
  • Promotes sleep. Motion from carrying often lulls baby to sleep. Carriers keep napping babies cozy.
  • Provides comfort. Babies experience less separation anxiety when worn frequently. Crying is reduced.
  • Eases transition periods. Babywearing helps baby adjust during growth spurts, teething, and developmental leaps.
  • Strengthens immune system. Babies who are held more get sick less often due to exposure to parent’s bacteria stimulating their immune systems.

When to Start Babywearing

Most babies are ready to start babywearing as soon as you feel ready as parents! Here are some guidelines for when to begin:

  • Newborns: Immediately! Choose a wrap or carrier that allows proper positioning for baby’s head and neck.
  • 1-3 months: At this age, most carriers are safe. Pick one that allows you to comfortably carry baby facing in toward your chest.
  • 4 months+: At this point baby has good head and neck control. You can start facing baby outwards for periods of time if they enjoy it.

Always follow the manufacturer’s weight and age guidelines for any soft structured carrier. For wraps, pay close attention to proper positioning. If in doubt, consult with your pediatrician. Remember to start slow and listen to baby’s cues when trying a new carrying method.

Babywearing Safety Tips

While incredibly useful, babywearing does require attention to safety. Follow these tips for safe and successful babywearing:

  • Choose an ergonomic carrier that keeps baby in a natural position facing parent until 4-6 months.
  • Ensure baby’s chin is not pressed to chest, which can restrict breathing.
  • Make sure baby’s legs are in an “M” position around parent’s torso for ideal hip and spine development.
  • Only forward face baby outwards for short periods until baby is older and has good head and neck control.
  • When forward facing, ensure baby’s legs are fully supported in a spread squat position rather than dangling.
  • Be mindful of overheating. Check baby’s temperature and adjust clothing as needed.
  • Stay hydrated! Drink enough fluids for both you and baby.
  • Maintain proper carrier fit and positioning. Consult with babywearing educators if needed.
  • Follow all manufacturer guidelines for weight limits, positioning, and use.

Practicing attentive, mindful babywearing from the start helps make it a safe, rewarding experience for all! Don’t hesitate to reach out to babywearing groups for help.

Types of Baby Carriers

There are many types of baby carriers available to choose from. Here are the most common options:


Wraps consist of long pieces of fabric that you wrap and tie around yourself and baby. They can be worn on the front, back or hip. Pros are that they are very versatile and customizable to your body and baby’s size. Cons are their learning curve and time it takes to wrap baby. Recommended wraps: Boba, Moby, Solly Baby, Wrapsody.

Baby Slings

Slings are simple throws of fabric with rings or buckles that go over one shoulder. Pros are ease of use, lightweight fabric, and affordability. Cons are less back support and tough to breastfeed discreetly. Recommended slings: Sakura Bloom, Maya Wrap, Sleeping Baby Productions.

Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs)

SSCs offer more structure and support with buckles, straps, padding and adjustable sizing. Many allow front and back carrying. Pros include versatility and support. Cons can be less customization, more difficult adjustments. Recommended SSCs: Ergobaby, Tula, Lillebaby, Happy Baby, Baby Bjorn.

Mei Tais

Mei Tais have a soft structured body, straps and buckles with no waistbelt. Pros are simplicity of use, lightweight fabric, affordability. Cons are less back support compared to SSCs. Recommended mei tais: BabyHawk, Kozy Carrier, KeaBabies.

Try a few different carrier types to see what you and baby like best. Many parents end up with a couple go-to carriers for different ages and situations. Don’t be afraid to go to a specialty store to try some on and get hands-on help.

Front Carry Positions

The front carry position allows you to easily interact with baby face-to-face. There are a few methods:

Newborn Hug Hold

The hug hold is ideal for newborns. Baby is positioned upright on your chest, tucked inside the wrap or carrier with their bottom supported under the cross of fabric. Legs are in froggy position. Chin should not press on chest. Provides closeness and upright support.

Front Facing In

Facing in toward your chest promotes bonding and breastfeeding access. Baby’s legs straddle your torso in “M” position with spine curved. Use this position until baby has good head and neck control, typically 4-6 months.

Front Facing Out

The facing out position should wait until baby is older, usually 6 months+. Do not force this position if baby seems unsure. Use for short periods and ensure legs are fully supported in a squat. Provides stimulation but less ability to breastfeed discreetly.

Experiment with front carry positions to find what suits you and your baby best! Always maintain the “close enough to kiss” rule of thumb.

Back Carry Positions

Back carrying is great for older babies who want to look around. Here are two main positions:

Hip Carry

The hip carry involves baby sitting on your hip with legs straddling your torso. Use a carrier with waist support. Ensure baby is high enough to kiss easily. Provides bonding with ability to interact more.

Back Carry

The back carry puts baby on your upper back facing out. Use once baby has good head and neck control. Ensure carrier supports baby’s thighs fully. Allows baby to see their surroundings while keeping hands free.

Back carries take practice! Seek help from a babywearing educator on proper positioning and getting baby situated. Take it slow and be patient with yourself as you learn.

Babywearing from Newborn to Toddler

Babywearing needs change as your child grows. Here’s an overview of best carriers and positions from newborn through toddlerhood:

Newborn (0-3 months): Choose a wrap for the newborn hug hold or a structured carrier with proper head and leg support. Focus on an inward facing upright position.

Young Baby (3-6 months): Continue with soft wrap, mei tai or structured carrier in the facing in position. Provides closeness and breastfeeding access.

Older Baby (6-12 months): Try front facing out for short periods. Hip carry also an option. Ensure proper leg support.

Toddler (1-3 years): Focus on back carries and hip carries allowing baby to face outward when desired. Maintain proper support as baby gets heavier.

Don’t be afraid to use multiple carrier types and experiment with positions as your baby grows! Having options allows you to meet both your needs.

Babywearing for Dads and Partners

Babywearing is for all parents! More and more dads are embracing the convenience and bonding benefits of wearing their babies. Here are tips for dads new to babywearing:

  • Seek help getting comfy with your carrier. Learning tips from other babywearing dads can be extremely helpful.
  • Start slow and be patient as you get the hang of it. Try different carries and carriers to see what works for you.
  • Focus on front facing in positions for that snuggle time with baby facing your chest. Make faces, sing songs and talk to baby.
  • Don’t forget hip and back carries as baby grows. These allow baby to face outward and see their surroundings.
  • Join babywearing groups on social media to connect with other fathers. Share tips and photos of your favorite carries!

Babywearing facilitates bonding for dads and partners just as much as moms. You got this, daddio!

Babywearing for Preemies and Multiples

Babywearing can be especially helpful for families with preemies, twins or triplets! Here are some tips:

Preemies: Choose a soft wrap or carrier that allows for proper positioning of head and hips. Focus on upright, facing in positions. Seek guidance from medical providers if needed.

Twins: Wear one baby and use a stroller for the other, then switch. Or double up with two soft wraps. Use hip and back carries when possible. Always attend to both babies’ needs.

Triplets: Rotating babywear and stroller is key. When double babywearing, choose lightweight wraps or carriers. Take breaks often. Coordinate help from a partner or friend when able.

Having a preemie or multiples is hard work! Babywearing makes handling daily tasks like cooking, cleaning and errands much more manageable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from medical providers or babywearing groups.

Troubleshooting Common Babywearing Problems

Learning to babywear takes time and practice. Here are some common issues and solutions:

Sore shoulders/back: Adjust carrier straps for even positioning across shoulders and back. Try a back carry to distribute weight differently. Strengthen muscles with exercise.

Baby fusses facing in: Give more time to adjust to position or try a different carry. Could signal baby is ready for short periods facing out.

Baby slouches/slips: Tighten carrier straps for a secure fit. Try a different carry or carrier with more structure. Always mind head positioning.

Hurts to bend down: Use hip and back carries to keep baby higher on torso. Squat down keeping back straight to pick things up. Strengthen core muscles.

Fabric digs into neck: Make sure top edge of carrier is at least a finger’s width below baby’s neck. Adjust straps accordingly.

Difficulty breastfeeding: Loosen carrier or try a different position to ensure a clear path to baby’s mouth. Some women can feed baby facing out.

Don’t get frustrated with a learning curve! Seek help from resources like babywearing groups, educators and product websites if needed.

Choosing the Best Baby Carrier

With so many options available, choosing the ideal baby carrier for your needs takes some consideration:

  • Baby’s age and size: Pick a carrier suitable for baby’s developmental stage that offers proper support. Check weight limits.
  • Front, back or hip carry: Decide which positions you will use most to narrow carrier choices.
  • Features needed: Consider things like ease of breastfeeding access, storage, washable fabric, adjustable straps, waist support.
  • Parent comfort and mobility: Look for a carrier allowing free movement and even weight distribution for your comfort.
  • Budget: Carrier prices range widely. Prioritize quality materials and construction even on a budget.
  • Style preferences: Select a carrier you find attractive and are excited to use. This helps ensure you’ll babywear more!

It’s often worth investing in a high quality carrier that will last through many months and future children rather than a cheap version that won’t. Seek help at a specialty boutique to try on different options before committing.

Developing a Babywearing Routine

Consistently wearing your baby facilitates bonding, development and convenience. Here are tips for making babywearing part of your daily routine:

  • Start as early as possible to get baby accustomed to being worn. Aim to wear baby as much as feels right for you both.
  • Allow baby time to adjust to new positions. Try babywearing at home before venturing out at first.
  • Integrate babywearing into your schedule for tasks like cooking, cleaning, walking the dog or shopping.
  • Use babywearing to provide closeness when baby is fussy from teething, growth spurts or developmental leaps. The motion and contact soothe them.
  • Focus on wearing baby during transition periods like naps and bedtime to support their sleeping rhythms.
  • Include dad or any caregivers in babywearing routines so baby feels secure with different wearers.

Consistency is key in making babywearing part of everyday life. Don’t get discouraged if it feels awkward at first – it will soon become second nature!

Joining the Babywearing Community

One of the best parts of babywearing is the amazing community of parents who share expertise and support! Here are great ways to get involved:

  • Find local babywearing groups through apps like Peanut or social media. Search for “[Your City] Babywearers”.
  • Attend babywearing meetups to learn from other parents. Many groups host carries clinics and lending libraries.
  • Follow hashtags like #babywearing on Instagram and Facebook. Share your own photos and get tips!
  • Check out online retailers’ educational content and videos. Many offer webinars and classes on babywearing topics.
  • Read blogs and listen to podcasts from babywearing experts. So many great tips and perspectives are shared.
  • Take a babywearing class for hands-on help with carriers and positioning from experts.

Connecting with fellow babywearers provides community, problem solving help and fun! You’ll also be inspired seeing other parents incorporate babywearing into everyday routines.

The Key to Successful Babywearing

Babywearing provides countless benefits when done safely and mindfully. As you venture into the babywearing world with your little one, remember these key tips:

  • Prioritize proper positioning based on baby’s age. Research developmentally appropriate holds.
  • Ensure the carrier fits baby’s size snugly and your body ergonomically. Seek professional fitting help if needed.
  • Focus on infant-facing positions until baby is older and ready for short periods of forward-facing.
  • Join local babywearing communities for support, troubleshooting and inspiration! Experienced parents are invaluable resources.
  • Be patient with yourself and baby as you both acclimate to new carriers and positions. Trust the process.
  • Have fun with it! Sing songs, make silly faces, and enjoy the snuggles. Your baby will love being so close.

Most of all, babywear with confidence in your parental instincts. You’ve got this! Let the babywearing adventures begin.